David Zalubowski, AP
FILE: Idaho State head coach Mike Kramer, right, talks with linebacker Trevor Spence after Northern Colorado scored a touchdown in the second quarter of an NCAA college football game in 2012. Kramer's Bengals will play the Utes on Thursday.
If Idaho State needs any bulletin board material for their season opener against the University of Utah, they might not have to search any further than their own head coach.
In the week leading up to the contest, Idaho State coach Mike Kramer has made the media rounds and has let everyone know just how his team stacks up against the Utes.
“You look at the numbers and it’s a no and heck no,” Kramer told 1320 KFAN on Monday morning when asked if his team has a chance of pulling the upset. “I think University of Utah is way undersold. They were 5-7 last year, (but) coach (Kyle) Whittingham and his staff have a very good program, they got great coaching staff and great players. Especially on offense, they got some guys coming back that can rock your boat.”
During a conference call with media on Tuesday, Kramer spoke about the Utes being on par with the other programs that Idaho State has faced in the past, mentioning Washington and Nebraska. Since Utah has joined the Pac-12, they have been able to bring in the caliber of athlete that those top programs have on board, he said.
"I can see the rise in their athleticism in their program," he said, as reported by KSL.com’s Josh Furlong. "That’s not to say they weren’t athletic in the last part of the last decade when they went to the Fiesta Bowl or played Alabama. They’ve got good players and they’ve always really had good players in their program for 30-40 years. It’s just a matter of being able to have enough of them to be able to play against the gauntlet of the Pac-12 schedule that seems to have evaded their grasp. They’re very close, though."
Kramer’s thoughts on the Utes haven’t changed from when he was asked about them during the Big Sky media day last month. Randy Hollis of the Deseret News reported that Kramer doesn’t think the Bengals are catching the Utes at a good time, because Whittingham won’t allow his team to overlook any opponent.
"No-o-o-o-o, we're not catching Utah at a good time — at all — because I know Kyle's not up against it, but he's up against it in his own mind," Kramer said at the time. "He's one of the most highly respected guys in the entire profession; but in his mind, Utah is not where he wants it to be.
It's clear Kramer doesn’t expect his team’s 44-game on-the-road losing streak to end Thursday night.