(AP Photo/Gus Ruelas)

Vandals getting ready to return to FCS

(STATS) - Two particular trophies sitting inside a display case at the Idaho Vandal Athletic Hall of Fame seem to be shining brighter this year.

The Walter Payton Awards won by quarterbacks John Friesz and Doug Nussmeier in 1989 and '93, respectively, are surely drawing extra interest in the display that overlooks the Kibbie Dome weight room and sits just outside football coach Paul Petrino's office.

Idaho is stepping back to its football past to move forward into what the Vandals hope is a brighter future. After 22 seasons on the FBS level, they are returning to the FCS and the Big Sky, where they played as a founding member from 1963-95, winning eight conference titles and making 11 appearances in the NCAA Division I-AA (now FCS) playoffs. During that heyday, Friesz and Nussmeier captured the Payton as the national player of the year.

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Walter Payton Award
(STATS) - Jeremiah Briscoe's humility shined on a weekly basis this season. At every opportunity, the Sam Houston State quarterback credited his team's wide receivers and offensive linemen for his success.
Buck Buchanan Award
(STATS) - People are quick to describe Jacksonville State's Darius Jackson as easygoing by nature.
Doris Robinson Award
(STATS) - Wide receiver Jake Wieneke has been met in the end zone by smiles throughout his career at South Dakota State - an incredible 59 times after scoring touchdowns.
Jerry Rice Award
(STATS) - Bryson Armstrong wasn't heavily recruited out of high school, so he jumped at a scholarship offer from Kennesaw State, just 10 minutes down the road from where he grew up.
FCS Bracketology
STATS FCS Poll
Rankings as of 1/8/2018
Rank School Votes Prev
1 North Dakota State (14-1) 3950 (158) 4
2 James Madison (14-1) 3788 1
3 South Dakota State (11-3) 3512 6
4 Sam Houston State (12-2) 3508 5
5 Weber State (11-3) 3045 11
6 Wofford (10-3) 2964 8
7 North Carolina A&T (12-0) 2830 7
8 Kennesaw State (12-2) 2748 18
9 Jacksonville State (10-2) 2700 2
10 Central Arkansas (10-2) 2560 3
11 Stony Brook (10-3) 2155 10
12 New Hampshire (9-5) 2141 21
13 Western Illinois (8-4) 1857 9
14 Southern Utah (9-3) 1831 12
15 South Dakota (8-5) 1765 16
16 Grambling State (11-2) 1451 13
17 UNI (8-5) 1365 20
18 Samford (8-4) 1302 14
19 Furman (8-5) 1297 22
20 Elon (8-4) 1117 15
21 Eastern Washington (7-4) 693 17
22 McNeese (9-2) 675 19
23 San Diego (10-3) 552 NR
24 Yale (9-1) 299 24
25 Nicholls (8-4) 293 NR
FCS Coaches Poll
Rankings as of 1/8/2018
Rank School Prev
1 North Dakota State (14-1) 4
2 James Madison (14-1) 1
3 Sam Houston State (12-2) 5
4 South Dakota State (11-3) 6
5 Weber State (11-3) 8
6 North Carolina A&T (12-0) 7
7 Wofford (10-3) 9
8 Central Arkansas (10-2) 3
9 Kennesaw State (12-2) 16
10 Jacksonville State (10-2) 2
11 Stony Brook (10-3) 11
12 Western Illinois (8-4) 10
13 Southern Utah (9-3) 13
14 Grambling State (11-2) 12
15 New Hampshire (9-5) 20
16 South Dakota (8-5) 18
17 Samford (8-4) 14
18 McNeese (9-2) 15
19 UNI (8-5) 21
20 Furman (8-5) 25
21 Elon (8-4) 17
22 Eastern Washington (7-4) 19
23 Nicholls (8-4) 22
24 Yale (9-1) 24
25 San Diego (10-3) NR
FCS Spring Outlooks
  • Southland: Wednesday, Feb. 28
  • Pioneer: Thursday, Mar. 1
  • Southern: Friday, Mar. 2
  • Big South: Monday, Mar. 5
  • Patriot: Tuesday, Mar. 6
  • Ohio Valley: Wednesday, Mar. 7
  • Mid-Eastern Athletic: Thursday, Mar. 8
  • CAA: Friday, Mar. 9
  • Northeast: Monday, Mar. 12
  • Big Sky: Tuesday, Mar. 13
  • Southwestern Athletic: Wednesday, Mar. 14
  • Ivy: Thursday, Mar. 15
  • Missouri Valley: Friday, Mar. 16

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