As Idaho prepares to enter (or re-enter) its fourth conference since joining the Football Bowl Subdivision in 1996, what matters most is the progress the Vandals can make on the field.
Idaho joins the Sun Belt on Tuesday, ending a one-year stint as an independent. The new league brings stability to the schedule, bowl affiliations and additional revenue.
"I don't think we're likely to be playing Florida and Florida State on an annual basis for the national championship," Idaho President Chuck Staben said. "In our level of competition, we want to be competitive."
The past few years have been painful: Idaho is 4-32, including 1-11 in coach Paul Petrino's first season.
Despite the lack of success and Idaho being banned from bowl eligibility in 2014 because of poor academic performance, Petrino's second season brings optimism, if you can believe it.
"It's funny. I say we're a lot closer than you think coming off a 1-11 season. He's changed the culture of the program. Kids are going to class. They're good citizens. He has spent a lot of time coaching effort and attitude," said Idaho Athletic Director Rob Spear, who has had five football coaches since 2004. They are a combined 30-91.
"This year, I think you're going to see him be able to coach technique and football more. A lot of people were taken back a little bit by his intensity and passion. But he's exactly what the program needed."
Brian Murphy: 377-6444, Twitter: @MurphsTurph