KUSTRA GAFFE ASIDE, THE RIVALRY ON THE FIELD ISN’T THAT GREAT
But that’s not a reason to discontinue the match-up
The U of I v. Boise State football rivalry has been going on for nearly forty years in the past week there was much public commotion over BSU President Bob Kustra’s remarks disparaging the UI football fans.
Sports Illustrated’s Andy Staples has a great take on how Boise State is forgetting they were once the underdog trying to get respect by playing tougher competition, only to be avoided by many highly-ranked college teams. Now Boise State is exhibiting the same attitude toward the U of I.
Most of this theatrics and emotion is the common stuff that comes with an in-state college rivalry that BSU currently leads 21-17-1. And after winning eleven games in a row against Idaho, and none of them very close, Boise State seems to tire of the rivalry. Boise State’s best case against continuing the game is that it will continue to be a blow-out and they need to seek better competition as the program continues to be a top-rated college, as earned by its undefeated regular seasons and Fiesta Bowl wins in 2007 and 2010. Kustra’s comments takes this argument off-message.
Over time the game has been more likely (67 percent of the time) to produce a winner with a more than 20 point margin. Only 14 of the 39 games have had close scores. A quick check of the Oregon-Oregon State games since 1970 shows an opposite history, i.e., lots of close games. Our neighbors to the west have had in recent years many contests of real meaning for conference championships and bowl games.
While blow-outs have been more likely than closer games, an era of close competition did occur 1986 through 1991 in the middle of Idaho’s long winning streak where there was a string of close scores. Many of the games earlier and later the Vandals dominated. Since then the Boise State games in their current streak have been blow outs.
The annual game should continue, but not for any reason that they have been competitive games. At least they have not been recently.