2017 Football Preview – Sun Belt – Vandals
Looking for 2017 Idaho Vandals predictions? The Vandals are coming off an impressive season that saw them go 9-4. Those nine wins were as many as the team had won over the last five years combined, and they landed Idaho in its first bowl game since 2009—a 61-50 win over Colorado State in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
NCAA Football Gambling Lines
- 2017-18 College Football Preview – Idaho Vandals
- Head Coach: Paul Petrino
- 2016 Record: 9-4
- FULL TEAM NAME Odds to win the 2017 FBS Championship: +50,000
- Updated Sportsbook Bonuses For Today
- ***More 2017 NCAA Football Team Season Previews***
Unfortunately for the Vandals, their season wasn’t enough to keep them in the Sun Belt conference, where they’ve struggled mightily the majority of the time.
The Sun Belt announced it will not be renewing its deal with the football team beyond 2017, and as a result, Idaho will be dropping down to FCS after this final season.
2017 Idaho Vandals Predictions: Team Strengths
Quarterback: Matt Linehan isn’t a household name among casual fans.
Even many avid fanatics across the country likely don’t know much about him (although that should start to change as NFL draft season comes around in 2018).
The one thing you need to know at this point in his career is that he is as seasoned as collegiate quarterbacks get. The senior has been starting for the Vandals since his freshman season, and he’s coming off a year that saw him toss for 19 touchdowns and 3,184 yards.
He was also named MVP of the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl with four scores through the air, one on the ground, no interceptions and 381 total passing yards.
The Backfield: Isaiah Saunders and Aaron Duckworth have been and will continue to be an excellent tandem in the backfield. Again, they’re not household names because of the program they play in, but they’re the right pieces for the system and guys who have proven they can do some damage together.
A year ago, Saunders rushed for 731 yards and Duckworth compiled 672 yards.
The even better news here is that the backfield is getting deeper. Redshirt freshman Dylan Thigpen has been good enough to force Denzal Brantley, last year’s No. 3 runner, to switch positions to defensive back.
Having a strong third rusher is good for depth, but it should also force the two backs ahead of him to up their games as well.
2017 Idaho Vandals Predictions: Team Weaknesses
Offensive Line: The biggest question mark for the Vandals in 2017 will be focused on the O-line. Only two starters are returning this season.
Tackle Jordan Rose and guard Noah Johnson will be back.
But can the Vandals put together a unit that can protect Linehan and open holes for the talented backfield? If the line isn’t a liability, Idaho’s offense should flourish.
But can this Idaho squad become a competent group that protects its valuable quarterback and creates opportunities for a skilled running back trio?
The answers to those questions will be what determines if the Vandals can come close to finding as many wins this season as they did in 2016.
Idaho Vandals Prediction: 5-7
Idaho is coming off a great season. The question is: How does that carry over to 2017?
Momentum is a real thing, and that’s what Idaho fans are hoping for entering the new year.
But even winning your last five games can have a tough time translating to the next season when you have to replace everyone from your offensive line to your placekicker to your skill positions.
To be quite frank, last season was more anomaly than new beginning. Don’t expect them to drop back down to a one-win team, but regression to the norm seems reasonable.
While it’s undoubtedly bad news that Idaho will be dropping down to FCS, they’ll have an opportunity to really establish themselves as a dominant program competing against weaker competition.
As for now, though, expect a season with plenty of highs this year…with enough lows to set their ceiling at five or six wins.
2017 Idaho Vandals Football Schedule
- 8/31/17 9:00 PM ET CSUS
- 8/31/17 9:00 PM ET CSUS
- 9/9/17 9:00 PM ET UNLV
- 9/16/17 7:00 PM ET @WMU
- 9/23/17 TBD @USA
- 10/7/17 5:00 PM ET ULL
- 10/14/17 TBD APP
- 10/21/17 TBD @MIZZ
- 10/28/17 TBD ULM
- 11/2/17 TBD @TROY
- 11/18/17 TBD CCAR
- 11/18/17 TBD CCAR
- 11/25/17 TBD @NMSU
- 12/2/17 TBD @GSU
What do you think about our 2017 Idaho Vandals predictions? Please leave us a comment below telling us how you think they’ll do in 2017!
The 2017 College futures betting season is here in full force! If you like to bet on NCAA football, you are in the best possible place for online betting. CappersPicks.com has NCAAF odds up on a ton of futures, and you will also find College football lines up for early games as well.
Check out our Updated College Football Betting Odds.