Should Boise State Have Respect For Any Mountain West Football Program
Irritation is More Apt Than Rival for Some of these Schools…
Folks, it feels good to be a Boise State Bronco. Not only did I get to attend the Mountain West Football Championship Game in 2019 and see my alma mater play in our home stadium; but I got to rush onto our legendary Blue Field afterward to celebrate another conference championship after our blowout victory over the West Division champion. Three championship games in a row, all on the Blue Turf, with head coach Bryan Harsin hosting the championship trophy 2 of those times.
In these last three years, Boise State has held the title of Mountain West football champion more often than not and at the very least been the school that had to be beaten to claim that title. That’s the way it should be, it is the natural way of things when Boise State football is involved.
Later in the offseason, while Boise State fans were once again celebrating the best football recruiting class in the conference; the Broncos had to face another challenge from the conference. This time in the courtroom over compensation received for the television rights of home football games.
Once again Boise State was triumphant. This time the Broncos provided documents that showed Fox Sports was mostly interested in Boise State games when agreeing to a media rights contract with the Mountain West Conference and the original contract that showed that Boise State only agreed to return to the conference with a revenue distribution that would fairly compensate the Broncos for the far greater national interest in the Boise State football program than what the rest of the conference had to offer.
Once Boise State School President Marlene Tromp and Athletic Director Curt Apsey threatened the Mountain West with a fight, the Mountain West was quick to back down. Craig Thompson and the Mountain West at least had the common sense to not get into the ring with the undisputed Alpha of the conference.
In honor of both of these victories, I decided to look over the schools we face on the football field as conference opponents and rank them with how much I respect them while also examining whether any kind of rivalry exists. The term rival is generous as Boise State has ridden rough shed over most of these conference foes. Indeed, not one current school in the Mountain West has a winning record against Boise State. Instead you may view this as a ranking of schools that provide the biggest irritation to the mighty Broncos.
Honorable mention: Texas Christian University
Before we get to the list of current conference opponents; I felt it was fair to point out that Boise State has faced a 12th school as a Mountain West Conference football opponent. No. 5 Boise State faced Texas Christian in 2011 as conference opponents and the Hornfrogs were able to score a last second victory over the Broncos.
That would be the only time these 2 teams would face off as MWC opponents as TCU would head to the Big 12 Conference in 2012 for all sports. It was unfortunate for Boise State as BSU and TCU currently have a 2-2 record versus each other and many of these games featured both teams ranked. The Hornfrogs and Broncos are yet to meet again on the field since 2011 and no future matchups are scheduled. It would have been nice to have a true peer in the conference and team to respect. Texas Christian could have potentially been a great conference rival for Boise State.
11. University of Nevada, Las Vegas
MW Conference record versus Boise State: 0-5 (000%)
21st Century record versus Boise State: 0-5 (000%)
All Time record versus Boise State: 3-8 (27.3%)
Rebel Mountain West Conference Championships: 0
Most Disappointing Loss: Rebels 37, Broncos 35 on October 19, 1974 in Las Vegas, NV
Greatest Bronco Victory: #22 Broncos 32, Rebels 7 on October 20, 2012 in Boise, ID
Biggest Rebel Villain: Ron Meyer
Greatest Bronco Hero: Bryan Harsin
Before Ron Meyer gained infamy as the head coach of the Pony Express at Southern Methodist, he was the head coach at UNLV and scored 2 Rebel victories over Boise State. The Broncos and Rebels split 6 games in the 1970s with the home team winning every competition. The loss in 1974 was the only defeat of the regular season for the Broncos that season.
Boise State has crushed UNLV in the 5 meetings since 2011 as MWC opponents.
Rivalry Level: Non Existent. Boise State does have 4 great victories in Las Vegas in recent years; they just happen to be over Utah, Arizona State, Washington, and Oregon in the Las Vegas Bowl. Perhaps the new Rebel head coach can make the UNLV football team relevant but right now the Rebels are not even an irritant, they simply are a blank empty ‘Victory’ on the Boise State schedule when these 2 squads face each other.
Respect Level: Laugh Out Loud…
10. California State University, San Jose
MW Conference record versus Boise State: 0-3 (000%)
21st Century record versus Boise State: 0-13 (000%)
All Time record versus Boise State: 0-14 (000%)
Spartan Mountain West Conference Championships: 0
Most Disappointing Loss: Not Applicable
Greatest Bronco Victory: #3 Broncos 48, Spartans 0 on October 16, 2010 in San Jose, CA
Biggest Spartan Villain: Not Applicable
Greatest Bronco Hero: Kellen Moore
The Broncos have faced the Spartans as both conference members in the Mountain West and Western Athletic Conference. A few of these contests were close, many were blowouts, all of them have been Bronco victories. ‘A’ for effort for San Jose State in 2004 and 2006; the only times that the Spartans have kept the final score to a single digit loss.
Kellen Moore and the fellas tuned up the Spartans to a combined score of 126 to 23 between 2008 to 2011.
Rivalry Level: Nah. We have played a lot in the last 20 years and San Jose State made a few of the games in the Bay Area interesting. Ultimately though we beat the Spartans every time we play and take recruits from the Bay Area away from the Spartans with ease.
Respect Level: None, of course. It’s baffling why a school with a solid football history in a recruiting hotbed is so terrible.
9. University of New Mexico
MW Conference record versus Boise State: 1-7 (12.5%)
21st Century record versus Boise State: 1-8 (11.1%)
All Time record versus Boise State: 1-9 (10%)
Lobo Mountain West Conference Championships: 0
Most Disappointing Loss: Lobos 31, Broncos 24 on November 14, 2015 in Boise, ID
Greatest Bronco Victory: #7 Broncos 45, Lobos 0 on December 3, 2011 in Boise, ID
Biggest Lobos Villain: Bob Davie
Greatest Bronco Hero: Doug Martin
Yep, New Mexico got the Broncos on the Blue Turf in 2015 and then former Lobo head coach Bob Davie took a few awkward pictures to celebrate. It would be more fun to mock Davie for his football ineptitude at New Mexico if he also did not also rack up some unsavory off the field allegations during his tenure. This has not been a competitive football series (though in 2012 in Albuquerque the Lobos did build up a big lead before the Broncos came back to win).
Doug Martin rung up 135 all-purpose yards and 2 touchdowns on Senior Day versus the Lobos in 2011.
Rivalry Level: None. These 2 squads face each other every year as division opponents and the Lobos apparently may sneak a victory in once a decade. With former head coach Rocky Long back as their defensive coordinator perhaps the Lobos may be more of a serious opponent for the Broncos in the future.
Respect Level: None, are you kidding me? Somehow the Lobos football program found a way to become as disgraceful off the field as they have been on. The Lobos should at least entertain the idea of dropping the football program since they are terrible and redirecting the funds to try to revive a once relevant basketball program.
8. Colorado State University
MW Conference record versus Boise State: 0-9 (000%)
21st Century record versus Boise State: 0-9 (000%)
All Time record versus Boise State: 0-9 (000%)
Ram Mountain West Conference Championships: 3 (1999* 3 way split, 2000, and 2002)
Most Disappointing Loss to the Rams: Not Applicable
Greatest Bronco Victory: Broncos 59, Rams 52 on November 11, 2017 in Fort Collins, CO
Biggest Ram Villain: Not Applicable
Greatest Bronco Heroes: Cedric Wilson and Alexander Mattison
The victory for Colorado State fans should be being this high on this list. The Rams have 0 victories against Boise State. They have never beaten the Broncos on the football field.
Colorado State did participate in one of the greatest games in Boise State history when the 2 schools faced off in 2017. The Rams took a 28-3 lead in that contest over Boise State before the Broncos stormed back late in the game to force overtime and win the game behind the heroics of Mattison and Wilson. This was the only time that the Rams were tied or ahead at the end of regulation versus the Broncos.
Rivalry Level: Annoyance. Ram fans enjoy talking about their shiny football stadium and their proximity to Denver. What they do not like talking about is their performance on the football field.
Respect Level: Similar to San Jose State, Colorado State plays in a nice metropolis and has some natural advantages in their favor. Unfortunately, none of these advantages have translated to success in the last 15 years. The Rams are better than the Spartans, that’s the best I can do here.