The Idaho Vandals will wander and wonder no more.
With the demise of their conference home, the WAC, and the ensuing decision in August to play as an independent in 2013, the Idaho football team found a new home Wednesday.
Idaho will join the Sun Belt Conference in 2014 as a football-only member, the school and league announced.
"It's something that we've been working toward for quite a long time since we announced our independent status back in August," Idaho Athletic Director Rob Spear said. "It's going to provide great stability for our football program. I'm most excited for our student-athletes. They've endured some trying times with having conference instability."
It also will be a return to an old home -Idaho played in the Sun Belt from 2001-04.
The Sun Belt also announced the additions of New Mexico State, Georgia Southern and Appalachian State. Eight teams will play in the league in 2013, and will reach the magic number of 12 in 2014, which will enable the creation of a conference championship game.
"We have to be realistic - Idaho needed a conference home and the situation was the Sun Belt needed 12 teams," Sun Belt Commissioner Karl Benson said.
Finding a new home will give Idaho at least eight league games, and should cut down on the need for "money" games. They play at Florida State and Ole Miss this season.
Benson said the league will determine in May if it will have an eight- or nine-game conference slate in 2014.
Idaho's other sports will play in the WAC in 2013 and in the Big Sky in 2014.
With Moscow a geographic outlier in a conference whose northern-most member resides in Kentucky, schools playing in the East division will be given a subsidy to travel to Moscow or Las Cruces, N.M.
The Vandals, who will play in the West division with New Mexico State, Texas State, Arkansas State, Louisiana-Lafayette and Louisiana-Monroe, aren't concerned about travel, with the team traveling by charter.
"Traveling four times a year to the south is not an issue. We went to Ohio, North Carolina and Louisiana twice last year,'' Spear said.
Idaho will not have to pay any fees to join the Sun Belt, which has a TV agreement with ESPN that will be renegotiated with the increase in membership. Possible exposure on TV, along with related revenue and payouts from the BCS to conferences, will help negate the loss of approximately $1 million the school projects without as many "money" games.
"They've invested a lot into their program, and have made a commitment to being an FBS member," Benson said. "The renovations of the Kibbie Dome the last two years they're creating a much better football environment."
While there have been rumblings that Western Kentucky is considering a move to Conference USA, Idaho coach Paul Petrino is excited by the idea of joining the conference - and the fact his brother, Bobby, is Western Kentucky's coach.
"I think the Sun Belt has built itself into a real good football conference," Paul Petrino said Tuesday. "We'll probably be in different divisions, so I hope (a matchup with Bobby) is in a championship game."
Benson said the league has begun vetting prospective members in case Western Kentucky moves on. Benson also said the league hopes to add at least one, and possibly two more bowl tie-ins in addition to the New Orleans and GoDaddy.com bowls.