WSU-Idaho Rivalry Renewal Potentially In The Works

WSU-Idaho Rivalry Renewal Potentially In The Works

Recent meetings between the Vandals and Cougars could potentially renew the historic rivalry.

When Washington State first met Idaho on the gridiron in 1894, the game of football had a much different look to it. In the time since that first meeting on a chilly November afternoon 121 years ago, the schools have met 451 times in four separate sports.

After a century of interstate play, the rivalry came to a screeching halt in the early 2000s, when the athletic departments from both colleges chose to end the interstate series. However, school officials at both universities recently added one another as opponents in back-to-back basketball seasons, prompting fans to take notice. When it was announced that the programs would meet on the football field in 2013 and again in 2016, the news led to a number of students excited about the possibility of renewing the “Battle of the Palouse.”

When Boise State paraded the Governor’s Trophy in the Kibbie Dome in 2010 following a 52-14 victory over the Vandals, many Idaho students didn’t realize that this meeting was the last in-state rivalry football game for the program. Before the matchup, BSU president Bob Kustra expressed displeasure at Vandal fans, referring to them as “nasty” and “inebriated,” his comments sparking statewide controversy. Kustra refused to back down from his stance later in the month, and decided to cancel the annual meeting between the two programs, leaving the series in limbo with no foreseeable future between the schools.

In the five years since, many Vandal football fans were left confused as to which foe would be considered the new rival. School officials attempted to build up Sun Belt newcomer New Mexico State as the biggest football competitor for the Vandals, but to little avail.

Meanwhile, Idaho basketball has suffered a similar situation as a result of the fallout. The Vandals play Boise State on an inconsistent basis, and only at a neutral site, in order to keep from playing on the Boise campus because of Kustra's comments. Because of the inconsistent nature of the series, Idaho basketball downplayed the intrastate rivalry and attempted to develop a competitive environment with Big Sky opponent Montana, but fans have complained that the series between the teams lacks substance and background.

An inkling of renewing the “Battle of the Palouse” began in January of 2013, when WSU announced Idaho as an opponent for that upcoming football season. The hope for rivalry renewal gained more steam in the summer of 2014, when WSU announced that it would schedule a second home football game against the Vandals during the 2016 season.

In the time since, the Idaho men’s basketball program scheduled two meetings with WSU. This includes a game on the road in Beasley Coliseum last year, in which the Vandals emerged with a 77-71 victory over the Cougars on their home court. The volleyball and soccer programs for the two universities also faced one another earlier in the semester, resulting in much larger crowds than anticipated at both campus venues.

The recent coordination between the two schools has fans in the Palouse thrilled as to the possibility of renewing the “Battle of the Palouse” as a full-time rivalry between the colleges.

“WSU and UI have very similar atmospheres,” began Ali Riggan, a former Washington State student. “I think playing each other is a good way to prompt a healthy sense of competitiveness between the two universities.”

Because Idaho students have not had a legitimate rival in recent years, the WSU-Idaho matchup allows Vandal students to funnel their energy into those key games, and make more of an effort to pack the stadiums during the momentous meetings with the neighboring opponent.

“If the rivalry is done right, it has the potential to be good for both the towns and universities,” said Elizabeth Diaz, an interior design student at the University of Idaho. “With the two towns being so close together there’s a joint sense of competition and excitement. Everyone can get in on it, no matter which side they’re cheering for.”

The possible renewal of the Battle of the Palouse could also benefit the communities of both Moscow and Pullman. The two cities are located only eight miles from one another, allowing for quick and affordable transportation for athletes and fans between the schools. In addition, the matchup will allow businesses in the two cities to reap the rewards of larger crowds, as more fans visit local shops and restaurants during game day.

While school officials from both universities have not elaborated on further sporting events between the two colleges, the potential to renew the Battle of the Palouse has led many to speculate as to the future in store for the two universities and their respective athletic programs. However, the rivalry will only develop and reach full-time status if the athletic departments for both colleges are supportive and willing to commit to renewing the historic rivalry.

The Vandals are currently scheduled to face the Cougars at Cowan Spectrum in Moscow on Dec. 10 this upcoming basketball season. The two college football programs are also scheduled to meet on the gridiron at Martin Stadium in Pullman on Sep. 17 of next year.

Cover Image Credit: WSU Cougars

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To The Coach Who Ruined The Game For Me

We can't blame you completely, but no one has ever stood up to you before.

I know you never gave it a second thought, the idea that you're the reason I and many others, never went any farther in our athletic careers.

I know you didn’t sincerely care about our mental health, as long as we were physically healthy and our bodies were working enough to play. It’s obvious your calling wasn’t coaching and you weren’t meant to work with young adults, some who look to you as a parent figure or a confidant.

I also know that if we were to express our concerns about the empty feeling we began to feel when we stepped onto the court, you wouldn’t have taken the conversation seriously because it wasn’t your problem.

I know we can't blame you completely, no one has ever stood up to you before. No one said anything when girls would spend their time in the locker room crying because of something that was said or when half the team considered quitting because it was just too much.

We can't get mad at the obvious favoritism because that’s how sports are played.

Politics plays a huge role and if you want playing time, you have to know who to befriend. We CAN get mad at the obvious mistreatment, the empty threats, the verbal abuse, “it's not what you say, its how you say it.”

We can get mad because a sport that we loved so deeply and had such passion for, was taken away from us single-handedly by an adult who does not care. I know a paycheck meant more to you than our wellbeing, and I know in a few years you probably won’t even remember who we are, but we will always remember.

We will remember how excited we used to get on game days and how passionate we were when we played. How we wanted to continue on with our athletic careers to the next level when playing was actually fun. We will also always remember the sly remarks, the obvious dislike from the one person who was supposed to support and encourage us.

We will always remember the day things began to change and our love for the game started to fade.

I hope that one day, for the sake of the young athletes who still have a passion for what they do, you change.

I hope those same athletes walk into practice excited for the day, to get better and improve, instead of walking in with anxiety and worrying about how much trouble they would get into that day. I hope those athletes play their game and don’t hold back when doing it, instead of playing safe, too afraid to get pulled and benched the rest of the season.

I hope they form an incredible bond with you, the kind of bond they tell their future children about, “That’s the coach who made a difference for me when I was growing up, she’s the reason I continued to play.”

I don’t blame you for everything that happened, we all made choices. I just hope that one day, you realize that what you're doing isn’t working. I hope you realize that before any more athletes get to the point of hating the game they once loved.

To the coach that ruined the game for me, I hope you change.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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The 5 Stages Of Watching The MLB Postseason

Every fan's experience when watching the playoffs.


The MLB postseason is underway which means it's about to be an emotional roller coaster for the fans. Streaks can be broken, legacies can be made, new stars will be born and tears will most certainly fall. But most fans will certainly go through the same stages of love and hate throughout the postseason.

1. Complaining about the one game Wild Card

This is definitely one of the dumbest things ever added to a sports season. You have every team play 162 games for six months of the year. After all of that hard work and grind it all comes down to a SINGLE game? It makes no sense, how couldn't it be a three-game series? You added the game to add even more baseball to a season so it's not like having two more games could hurt you.

2. Defending a player who's had a bad year by saying "The playoffs are a different season." 

Everybody is guilty of this. There's always that one guy who wants to poke fun at your players regular season number. It's infuriating, you can't dig up a stat that's good because baseball has so many with pretty confusing acronyms. So instead of people just go with saying that the playoffs are a different season. The stats are all set back to zero which gives the players some confidence. It also puts the haters in the mental pretzel.

3. Getting mad when your game is on MLB Network

Get it through your head MLB. Not every one has your stupid network.

4. Streaming mid day games during lectures/work

Let's be real everyone who cares about baseball does it. Is it a good thing to do? No probably not. But would you sacrifice a day on notes or a day of work to see your favorite team make history? Yes.

5. Living and dying on every pitch

It's a hard life to live with literally no sense of relaxation during a game. I couldn't tell you how many times I fidget or yell whenever the Red Sox are playing (especially now that they're playing the Yankees). A lot of neighbors will be mad and friends will question your sanity. But when your team is able to pull through, the emotional relief and happiness are so great you couldn't even think of watching the game a different way.

If by this point you've been reading this with a whole lot of head nods and "Oh, yeah, that's me." It isn't a shameful thing because you're not alone. Playoffs bring out the best from players and fans which is truly the beauty of sports.

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