Poll: Whence the Vandals?

Okay, Nuggies, it’s been a slow week, and I have been debating whether or not I should create a fanpost on OBNUG about the University of Idaho Vandals. How can I make it relevant to Boise State athletics? Find out after the jump.

Well, I argued (to myself), those of us who live in Idaho and pay state taxes might consider that we have an interest in our financial investment to further the well-rounded education experience of young men up north. (The "what am I getting for my money" argument.) There’s that.

Then there’s the "all in the same boat" argument. For better or for worse (tough choice, I know), the Vandals and the Broncos occupy adjacent apartments in the same building. For all the glory and goodwill that our Boys (and Girls) in Blue create on behalf of our beautiful state, there’s the guy next door who never bathes, who dumps his empties in the hall, who hits on our daughter, who gets drunk and falls off the fire escape, and whose dogs are always yapping. Unfortunately, he will always be with us, for he has a long-term lease. We hear, "Wow, the Broncos are cool, but aren’t you from the same state as the Vandals?" We give a half-hearted smile, lower our eyes, then immediately change the subject.

However, Kcam broke the ice for me by posting a piece about the Vandals’ dubious honor in occupying the Bottom 10 of Division 1 football. Problem solved, and I won the debate with myself! (HT to Kcam.)

Let me be semi-serious here, my friends. The University of Idaho has a problem on its hands with its disappointing record in Division 1 football, and that has a tertiary impact on the rest of us Idahoans. I did some research into its performance on the gridiron, and the results appear (to me, anyway) to be clear and unequivocal. Let me state my case.

(Full disclosure: I have relatives, whom I love, who are Vandals. I have dear friends who are Vandals. I don’t hold it against them, personally, just because they made a poor choice when they were 18 years old. Youth happens to all of us.)

The U of I has been playing football since 1893. That’s 118 years. During those years, it played 1,019 games (my figures may be off slightly, as some years are missing, but they’re close enough for the purpose of this post). The record:

  • Wins, 438
  • Losses, 555
  • Ties, 26
  • Winning percentage: 42.9%

That’s all-time, folks, over an era of 118 years. That means that nearly six games out of every ten have been losses. If you had an employee who succeeded in his job at that percentage, how long would you keep him on the payroll?

The Vandals are suffering through another abysmal year (1-7), but my research proves that it’s not an aberration. It’s pretty much the norm. With a few exceptions, they’ve always been bottom feeders.

I tuned in to Coach Akey’s comments last Saturday after the Vandals lost another game to Hawaii (at the Kibbie Dome). He said, "This is a life lesson. Ten years from now, the guys might have a family situation, and they’ll remember this." For the sake of those men’s families, I hope they don’t remember the humiliation, the anger, and the despair. 9-1-1, anybody? How is this helping?

The Vandals have never won a national championship in football, at any level. They’re the only major football-playing university in the state of Idaho with that distinction (Boise has two NCs, Idaho State has one). They brag about having played in two bowl games (that’s not a typo); ironically, both on the Blue Turf. But they have won nine conference championships in football, and that brings me to my point.

When the University of Idaho played 1-AA ball, they were relatively successful. Eight of those championships were in the Big Sky (1965-1992), and we cringe to remember the Dirty Dozen wins they had over our heartthrobs. Then, as Boise State matured and went movin’ on up to D1, the prideful politicians and power brokers in our state (UI grads) insisted that the Broncos share their candy with their obese older brother. It didn’t take long for the slothful Vandals to be exposed as, literally, out of their league.

It’s been recommended before by many fans across our state (not just Broncos), but it bears repeating, and repeating, and repeating, until SOMEONE listens – the Vandals need to drop back a division and play as an FCS school. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. The Grizzlies of Montana take well-deserved pride in their domination of the division, and no one thinks less of them.

The University of Idaho is somewhat centered between four past national champions in 1-AA/FCS football: Montana, Montana State, Idaho State, and Eastern Washington. What a perfect fit for regional rivalries, and what a legacy to emulate!

I think the Vandals ought to swallow what little pride they have left, cut their substantial losses, move back to the FCS, petition the Big Sky for reinstatement, and begin work towards their national championship (I said, begin). One thing about playing in the FCS – there’s no doubt who’s the champ, and that’s something we all wish for, isn’t it?

What do you think? Vote early, vote often (not really).

This content was not created by OBNUG and therefore may not meet our standards. On the contrary, it probably exceeds them.

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