4. Utah State University
MW Conference record versus Boise State: 1-6 (14.3%)
21st Century record versus Boise State: 1-14 (6.7%)
All Time record versus Boise State: 5-19 (20.8%)
Aggie Mountain West Conference Championships: 0
Most Disappointing Loss to the Aggies: Aggies 52, #21 Broncos 26 on Ocotber 16, 2015 in Logan, UT
Greatest Bronco Victory: #23 Broncos 33, #21 Aggies 24 on November 24, 2018 in Boise, ID
Biggest Aggie Villain: Kent Myers
Greatest Bronco Hero: Alexander Mattison
Utah State fans like to celebrate their single recent glorious victory over Boise State. Like many other schools listed here, Utah State only boasts a single victory over Boise State this century. Kent Myers had 4 touchdowns in that game in a turnover filled disaster from Boise State.
The Aggies have kept a few games close outside of that contest but close contests have not equaled victories for the Aggies. Of note was when the Aggies came to Boise ranked with a conference championship game appearance on the line in 2018. Alexander Mattison had 200 yards and 3 touchdowns in that game and clinched the division for the Broncos nearly singlehandedly.
Rivalry Level: Wishful thinking. The Aggies cannot string together quality seasons in a row and generally get their teeth kicked in by their superiors up north. The Aggie faithful has been especially vocal in the last few seasons but that has only netted them a single Mountain Division championship. In 2019, the Broncos once again smashed the Aggies on their field with a final score of 56-21. We want this to be a rivalry. Please be better Utah State so it might be one.
Respect Level: You got me Aggies, I respect you guys a touch. Your team is generally bowl eligible and finished ranked a few times. This is not a real mutual respect, more an acknowledgment that Utah State is only a joke when compared to Boise State but the Aggies are better than most of the schools on this list.
3. Air Force Academy
MW Conference record versus Boise State: 3-5 (37.5%)
21st Century record versus Boise State: 3-5 (37.5%)
All Time record versus Boise State: 3-5 (37.5%)
Falcon Mountain West Conference Championships: 0
Most Disappointing Loss to the Falcons: Falcons 27, #19 Broncos 20 on November 25, 2016 in Colorado Springs, CO
Greatest Bronco Victory: #25 Broncos 44, Falcons 19 on November 18, 2017 in Boise, ID
Biggest Falcon Villain: Troy Calhoun
Greatest Bronco Hero: Andy Avalos
One of the only schools in the conference that legitimately has held its own against the Broncos, Air Force and head coach Troy Calhoun has stymied Boise State with their triple-option offense and a hard-working defense. Air Force won three games in a row at one point including a devastating 2016 loss in the last week of the regular season which kept the Broncos out of the Mountain West Conference Championship game.
Andy Avalos, the Bronco linebacker legend and former defensive coordinator, got the Boise State defense back on the right track and finally figured out the triple option and halted the 3 loss streak. Boise State is currently on a three-game winning streak of their own versus the Falcons.
Rivalry Level: Yes, this is a rivalry. Having a football rivalry versus a service academy is a bit unorthodox in terms of fan behavior on both sides but a rivalry nonetheless. While the Broncos did beat Air Force in 2019 and won the conference, Air Force also finished in the Top 25 and the 2020 matchup will be circled on both team’s calendars.
Respect Level: You have to respect Air Force because they are currently a good team and have been competitive. They also have beaten Boise State multiple times recently, this is not something that any other school outside the top 2 on this list can also claim. Boise State still has the edge in total victories but 2020’s matchup in week two should be another extremely tough and physical contest.
2. California State University, Fresno
MW Conference record versus Boise State: 3-5 (375%)
21st Century record versus Boise State: 4-15 (211%)
All Time record versus Boise State: 7-15 (318%)
Bulldog Mountain West Conference Championships: 3 (2012* 3 way split, 2013, and 2018)
Most Disappointing Loss to the Bulldogs: #25 Bulldogs 19, #22 Broncos 16 on December 1, 2018 in Boise, ID (Mountain West Championship Game)
Greatest Bronco Victory: Broncos 35, #8 Bulldogs 30 on Ocotber 19, 2001 in Fresno, CA
Biggest Bulldog Villain: Derek Carr
Greatest Bronco Hero: Ryan Dinwiddie
It would have been so sweet to sweep baby Carr after we humiliated his older brother in one of the greatest games in Boise State history. Derek Carr, however, was able to notch a victory his senior year after losing his first three tries versus the Broncos. Fresno State was also able to finally win on the Blue Turf when they claimed a conference championship in 2018. I can be nice when another team deserves it.
But let’s look at the numbers. Since Ryan Dinwiddie and company smacked David Carr and the 8th ranked Bulldogs in 2001, this has been mostly a one-way rivalry. Boise State beat Fresno State 51-0 in 2010. For an encore, they went down to Fresno the next year and won 57-7 in 2011. I can sit here a write about the time Boise State whooped Fresno State 61-10. 67-21 another year… the list goes on and on. 4 wins in 19 tries this century is a pretty dismal record no matter how you look at it.
Rivalry Level: Fierce Rivalry. Despite one team being the team that is generally doing the butt-kicking and the other team receiving those kicks, Fresno State has won a few games that have mattered. Boise State and Fresno State also play for a trophy, the Milk Can. Currently, that trophy is in Boise, Idaho.
Respect Level: Compared to the other dolts on this, sure I respect Fresno State. You won a championship in our stadium and that has bought you a level of respect.
We stole your dream of being a nationally relevant team in 2001 and the Bulldogs have bounced around between contender, mediocre, and embarrassment since then. There is no telling where Fresno State will be next year as they finished bowl ineligible in 2019 after winning the West Division the previous 2 years. Fresno State was supposed to be Boise State but only have 4 double-digit win seasons to their credit this century. The potential for the Bulldogs to be a team that I truly respect is there and the conference and this rivalry is better when Fresno State is good.
1. California State University, San Diego
MW Conference record versus Boise State: 3-3 (50.0%)
21st Century record versus Boise State: 3-3 (50.0%)
All Time record versus Boise State: 3-3 (50.0%)
Aztec Mountain West Conference Championships: 3 (2012* 3-way split, 2015, and 2016)
Most Disappointing Loss to the Aztecs: Aztecs 21, #19 Broncos 19 on November 3, 2012 in Boise, ID
Greatest Bronco Victory: Broncos 31, #19 Aztecs 14 on October 14, 2017 in San Diego, CA
Biggest Aztec Villain: Rocky Long
Greatest Bronco Hero: Avery Williams
When Boise State entered the Mountain West Conference, head coach Rocky Long immediately took aim at the Broncos. With Texas Christian, Utah, and Brigham Young no longer in the MWC; San Diego State was not planning to play second fiddle to the Broncos and immediately sent a message by upsetting the Broncos on the sacred Blue Turf in 2012. That proved to not be a ‘one off’ as San Diego State is the only school in the Mountain West to not have a losing record versus the Broncos since Boise State joined the conference.
Boise State did get some revenge in 2017. With the Aztecs rising as the two-time conference champions and the Broncos slipping and at 4-2 for the year, Avery Williams started the game off with a 53 yard punt return for a touchdown and Boise State scored an upset victory in San Diego and went on to win the Mountain West Conference in 2017. San Diego State has not been to the Mountain West Championship game since.
Rivalry Level: Rival, for sure. San Diego State is a top team in the Mountain West and have played Boise State tough. San Diego State and Boise State have won 5 of the last 6 conference championships and are cross division teams but are yet to meet in the conference championship game.
Respect Level: This is tricky. Yes, I do respect San Diego State’s football program. They are the class of the West Division and recruit well and put a consistent product on the field.
No, they are nowhere near the level that Boise State is as a football program. I suppose San Diego State wants to be Boise State and be at the top of the conference and they could get there… but I don’t see it happening. Bronco Alumni and Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin doubled down on his commitment to his Alma Matter with a stirring and defiant speech after securing another conference championship in 2019. Meanwhile Rocky Long has decided to leave the Aztecs and go back to his roots and serve as a defensive coordinator for New Mexico.
Ultimately, there is no other school in the conference that is remotely the peer of Boise State and this is not a debatable sentiment. The numbers simply are overwhelming in demonstration of Bronco dominance since Boise State joined the conference. As far as ‘respect’, I will concede a true level of respect for Air Force, Fresno State, and San Diego State. The other 9 schools in the conference have between 0 and 1 win versus Boise State in the last 20 years.
What this means for future television contract negotiations or conference realignment is still to be seen. As for the 2020 football season, Boise State will once again be the heavy favorite to win the conference championship.