| March 20, 2018

Column: In-State Stalemate

April 25, 2016

The University of Idaho faced several Boise State University athletic programs over the weekend as part of a long-standing rivalry rich with history and passion.

The rivalry began in football, but quickly seeped into other sports. The two programs originally met in 1971, when Idaho scheduled Boise State as the first opponent of the season. The game was originally slated to be a home event for the Vandals, but the team’s field was under construction and the meeting was moved to Boise.

That competition sparked a rivalry between the teams and their respective fans. Since that day, the two colleges have met hundreds of times in a number of sports. Fans and alumni in both the Palouse and the Treasure Valley fueled the rivalry for several decades.

The football series has seen a seesaw momentum, with both teams going through long periods of winning streaks.

Boise State won nine of the first 11 matchups, but the Vandals responded by winning 12 in a row, beginning with the 1982 season. Boise State regained a series lead in the 1990s, winning the majority of football matchups.

The rivalry came to a screeching halt in 2010, following Boise State’s transition from the Western Athletic Conference to the Mountain West Conference. The two teams were no longer conference rivals, and a controversial comment proved to be the final factor in a decision to cease the rivalry between the programs.

The end of a 40-year tradition left a sour taste in the mouths of fans. To some, the Gem State rivalry was one of the biggest sporting events of the year.

After the football teams quit playing one another, the other sports at the universities followed suit. The men’s basketball programs ceased their rivalry last year, while the two volleyball teams chose not to schedule each other as opponents in 2014.

However, the rivalry still remains for a select few programs at each college. The Idaho men’s tennis team traveled to Boise Saturday to face the Broncos as part of a two-day road trip, falling 4-0.

In addition, the club lacrosse programs from each school met at Guy Wicks Field Saturday, with the Broncos earning a 17-7 victory.

These meetings are a rare occasion for a number of programs at each school, but football continues to remain the biggest question mark for Idaho and Boise State.

Fans of both teams have expressed a desire for a renewal of the rivalry. However, until a middle ground can be found, it is unlikely the two teams will meet again any time soon.

Brandon Hill can be reached at arg-sports@uidaho.edu or on Twitter @brandonmtnhill  

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