2017 Prespring Rankings: No. 114 Idaho Vandals
The 2017 prespring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Idaho Vandals
No. 114: Idaho Vandals
Idaho Vandals Prespring Status
Is Idaho really good enough to build on the phenomenal 9-4 season and the wonderful 61-50 bowl win over Colorado State? Is the program ready for one more massive season before going off to the FCS world next year? Last year wasn’t a fluke, with a five-game losing streak to close out the season and winning seven of the last eight including three wins over bowl teams. Coming up with consistently positive seasons has been a problem for Idaho, but there are real, live expectations now for a program about to make a big move.
Idaho Vandals Biggest Issue
Three offensive linemen are gone, four of the top five receivers, and three starters on the defensive front need to be replaced, but the special teams take the biggest hit. You don’t just instantly replace a kicker like Austin Rehkow. It might not seem like that big a deal – he’s a kicker – but he’s been among the nation’s best all-around weapons for the last few seasons, averaging 41.6 yards per punt last season while hitting 26-of-29 field goals.
Idaho Vandals Biggest Positive
The rushing weapons are back. This wasn’t the most explosive of attacks early on, but it kicked into high gear over the second half of the season while scoring 163 points in the final four games. Almost all of the rushing yards return, and while the receiving corps needs to do a lot of work, veteran QB Matt Linehan returns after cranking up close to 3,200 passing yards. The coaching staff proved last year, it could help the O improve as the season went on. This time around, the running game should get going right away.
Really, Why Are The Idaho Vandals Ranked Here?
Can Idaho really maintain this high level of production? It’s Idaho – the defense could quickly go back into the tank and the turnover margin – 10th last year, 104th in 2015 – could become back to Idaho-like form. With so many receiving weapons gone, and with the lines undergoing an overhaul, take a wait-and-see attitude when it comes to whether or not this can keep on rolling.