Is San Diego State vs. Boise State Becoming The Hottest Rivalry In The Mountain West?
If you “bleed blue” or are obligated to call your mascot “spirit leader” you’ll want to tune in for Aztecs vs. Broncos in Boise this Fall.
2018 is the year the Aztecs could finally face the Broncos in the Mountain West Championship Game.
This article was jointly written by Ted McGovern (@tedmcgovern) and Raja Prabhala (@RajaBleedsBlue). These two writers are graduates of San Diego State and Boise State respectively.
College football has shifted and evolved dramatically over the years. Over time, the sport has changed and conferences have realigned, and the Mountain West has been no exception. In the Mountain West Conference, one rivalry has been bubbling and growing hotter and hotter with each passing year: the rivalry between the conference’s two dominant football programs: the Boise State Broncos and the San Diego State Aztecs.
The Aztecs are dominant in the Western Division and the Broncos lord over the Mountain Division. These two programs have together won all of the last four conference championships. They both have managed to make national headlines, and each is considered Group of Five elite. Both teams have been active in AP Top 25 and USA Today Coaches polls. In light of that fact, these two programs have not faced one another in any of the last five Mountain West Conference Championship games.
Here are the results of the last six Mountain West Conference Championship games:
Before we dig into the Aztecs and Broncos, Fresno State is worthy of mention in this discussion. Over the last 6 years, the Bulldogs were the only other Mountain West team to have claimed a football championship. In addition, they faced off against the Broncos in two other championships during that span.
* the first championship game took place in 2013. 2012 saw a 3-way tie for the championships
Fresno State has a long rivalry with San Diego State dating back to 1923 taking place over a total 57 meetings. The Aztecs hold a series lead 29-24-4. The rivalry was mostly put on hold from 1999 until 2011 (with only one meeting in those years) after San Diego State left the Western Athletic Conference to join the Mountain West. The Bulldogs joined the Mountain West in 2011. The Aztecs and Bulldogs have battled it out for the “Old Oil Can” trophy since Fresno State joined the Mountain West.
Meanwhile, Fresno State and Boise State have been rivals since 2001 when Boise State joined the Western Athletic Conference. The Bulldogs and Broncos dominated the WAC in the 2000s, with the winner of the game being ranked 9 times in a 10-year stretch. The Broncos leads the series 14-6 and Boise State and Fresno State play for the “Milk Can” Trophy.
Fresno State likes cans, apparently.
In comparison, Boise State and San Diego State have only played five times ever with their first meeting in 2011. All games between the Broncos and Aztecs have occurred in the Mountain West Conference.
Here are the results of the matchups between Boise State and San Diego State:
After splitting the first four games they ever played, Boise State and San Diego State did not meet in the 2015 and 2016 seasons due to being cross divisional rivals. The two schools met in 2017 on October 14 in San Diego, California. The Aztecs were the heavy favorites as they were ranked 19th at the time and had previously notched victories versus Pac-12 foes Arizona State and Stanford. The Aztecs were 6-0 at the time. Boise State limped into the contest at 3-2, after losing to Washington State and Virginia.
Despite being on the road, Boise State pulled off the improbable victory 31-14. San Diego would follow up this loss with another loss to Fresno State. While San Diego State did finish the regular season 10-2, these two conference losses removed the Aztecs from conference championship contention, and Boise State narrowly defeated the Fresno State Bulldogs as Mountain West Conference Champions.
There is a bit of history for SDSU and Boise State outside of the football field. While the Broncos were wrapping up their first football season in the Mountain West, in December 2011 San Diego State and Boise State announced that they would be joining the Big East Conference as “football only” members. The Big East at the time was a Power Six conference with a guaranteed BCS slot for their conference champion.
Reading the tea leaves of realignment, Boise State pulled out of this agreement in December 2012 and San Diego State followed suit soon after. The Big East saw more members defecting and wound up losing their football Power Conference status. They eventually rebranded themselves as the American Athletic Conference.
The Broncos and Aztecs meet again on Saturday, October 6, 2018 on the Blue Turf in Boise, Idaho.
Breaking down specific angles of this rivalry, Raja and Ted gave direct answers to some of the rivalry topics between Boise State and San Diego State.