Idaho State head coach Mike Kramer knows how good it can feel to walk into the home of Goliath and come away with an unlikely victory.
That doesn’t mean he’s a big fan of playing these games, though.
On Saturday, Kramer will lead the Bengals into Boulder to face Colorado. Idaho State plays in the Big Sky Conference of the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). Colorado, of course, plays in the Pac-12 Conference in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).
“If we were in the Pac-12, I wouldn’t want to play an NFL team, and that’s the same thing,” Kramer said this week during his weekly press conference in Pocatello, Idaho. “The jump is so far from the Big Sky to the Pac-12, it’s akin to going from the Pac-12 to the NFL.”
These FCS vs. FBS games have become normal in college football, however, because they are, in theory, a win-win for both schools.
The FBS team gets to schedule a relatively easy home game, giving them almost a sure win (although as Washington State knows, it’s never a sure thing). The FCS team gets a hefty paycheck that helps balance the athletic department budget each year.
CU will pay Idaho State $500,000 to come to Boulder this week.
“We’re under pressure from the top down to play these games, because this supports not just football,” Kramer said. “It’s a fabric of FCS football.”
Although the game is still 11 vs. 11, Kramer said he realizes the playing field is not level in a game like this. He also knows nothing is impossible. In 2006, he was the head coach at Montana State and led his Bobcats into Boulder and stole a 19-10 win against the Buffs. He’d love to beat the odds again.
“Young guys in America are optimistic, and they are competitive, they want to play a game,” Kramer said. “They realize it’s just a sport and anything can happen all the time, and it usually does. Anything is going to be possible for us, and everything is going to be possible for us on Saturday down at Folsom Field.
“If Colorado disrespects and takes us lightly, we’ll beat them.”
• Kramer said he’s a big fan of CU quarterback Sefo Liufau because of all the adversity Liufau has battled throughout his career at CU. Kramer also said he’s watched a lot of CU’s defense because he’s long admired Buffs’ defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt.
• Idaho State has lost 24 consecutive games against FBS opponents, dating back to a win against Utah State in 2000.
• CU is 4-2 all-time against FCS teams.
• The Buffs are seeking their second 2-0 start in the last eight years (also 2013).
• The starting quarterbacks in this game — Liufau and ISU’s Tanner Gueller — combined for five fumbles in Week 1. Gueller had three (lost all three) in a win over Simon Fraser and Liufau had two (lost one).
• Two former Bengals are currently head coaches in the NFL: Dirk Koetter of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Marvin Lewis of the Cincinnati Bengals.
Brian Howell: email@example.com, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.