Who do the Broncos consider their biggest rivals?

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By: Delaney Brassil, Autum Robertson, Nathan Cook, Sydnee Boley, Erin Barnett and Ali Hollis

Many colleges and universities have a history of fierce rivalries between them and at least one other institution. College rivalries can have such high stakes that the whole country knows about them, such as University of Washington vs. Washington State or Army vs. Navy. But who exactly is Boise State’s number one competitor? A handful of the Division I athletes at Boise State offered their insight about who they think their rivals are and why, identifying some teams that could be either obvious or obscure to the biggest Bronco fans.

Football

The Boise State football team has taken on the BYU Cougars nine times in the last several years. The Broncos currently hold the all-time advantage in the series at 7-2.

The record doesn’t mean that the games lack in excitement; many of the games have come down to one score, including their most recent match up in Boise. The fans love it and so do the teams; that’s why many of the Broncos are quick to call BYU their biggest rival.

The Broncos are heading to the First Responder Bowl Game in Dallas Texas, Dec. 26 to take on Boston College to close out the 2018 season.

Volleyball

Boise’s volleyball team wrapped up their 2018 season in the middle of November, going 18-11 overall and 10-8 in conference matches. The team had nine games go into the fifth set, a sign of close competition for the Broncos. However, the program has seen a rivalry develop with conference opponent and 2018 Mountain West Champions Colorado State over the past few years.

“It’s a good matchup,” said senior outside hitter Sabryn Roberts in reference to Colorado State. “They are tough in our conference, so it is always a good game.”

Boise State was able to knock the Rams off in 2016 when they claimed the Mountain West Title. However, this season, Colorado State outplayed the Broncos in both of their matches, sweeping the blue and orange in Fort Collins and claiming the victory in four sets in Boise.

Cross Country & Track

After the 2018 Division I Cross Country Championships in November, Boise State is ranked within the top 10 in the country (women’s third, men’s ninth). With this ranking in mind, it’s not easy to see just who the Broncos call their main competitor.

“For cross country, Colorado State. In track we don’t usually have (a rival). Maybe on the distance side with Colorado runners from cross country, but track is just more individualized, so we don’t have a competitor,” said redshirt senior Riley Campbell. “It always seems to be a battle between (Boise State and Colorado State). In 2016, we won at conference, and in 2017 they won; in this past October, we won. I expect the next few years to be the same.”

Women’s Golf

The women’s golf team, made up of 11 members, attended five competitions during the fall 2018 season. Junior Jalayne Martinez pointed out Colorado State University as the team’s biggest rival, who they recently beat at the 2018 Ptarmigan Ram Classic, claiming first place overall.

“They always bring a good challenge, and because we won their tournament,” Martinez said. “We’ve been trying really hard to really compete, and that was a good one to win, and it just felt really good to beat them on their own turf because they’ve always won that tournament.

The Broncos return to action on Feb. 11 for the Battle at the Rock in Riverside, California to play out their spring 2019 season.

Men’s Golf

In their fall 2018 season, the men’s golf team attended five competitions, notably claiming first place at the Bill Cullum Invitational. Junior Connor Johnstone identified the team’s rival as one that many Broncos can relate to: the University of Idaho Vandals.

“We’ve always been right there neck and neck with each other, and we play in a lot of the same tournaments, so we’re always battling with each other,” Johnstone said. “I think everyone here knows that it’s mandatory to beat Idaho if you go to Boise State. I also think Utah State, for all of the same reasons. When you play a team that much and you battle with each other for that long, it makes you want to beat them that much more.”

At the Husky Invitational, Boise took third while Idaho took eleventh, and at the Bill Cullum Invitational, Boise took first while Idaho took tenth. According to Johnstone, the Broncos should see Idaho again five or six times in the 2019 spring season, which kicks off on Feb. 22.

Swimming & Diving

The swimming and diving team wrapped up their fall 2018 season with a home meet on Dec. 8 against Nevada, who is considered a fair competitor according to senior Ally Kleinsorgen, who competes in the freestyle sprint and backstroke. The Broncos cruised past Nevada 165-135, claiming their 24th-consecutive home victory.

“San Diego and the University of Nevada, Reno have always been our biggest competition,” Kleinsorgen said. “I think every year going into conference they always throw up some really good fast swims and have really great swimmers in some of our weak spots, and we have strong swimmers in some of their weak spots, so it always makes for a great competition.”

Women’s Basketball

The women’s basketball team played eight games so far in the 2018-19 season, starting with their exhibition victory over Concordia. Since then, the team stands at 6-2 in the regular season. Redshirt junior point guard Jayde Christopher observed that New Mexico shapes up to be the team’s rival, despite little conversation about this subject.

“They played fast. And we play fast,” Christopher said. “So being able to compete… keep going up and down the floor fast, that’s going to be tough.”

Boise State last faced off against New Mexico in the 2017-18 season with a 91-85 victory in Boise on Feb. 7, 2018 to rebound after a previous 83-100 loss in Albuquerque on Jan. 3, 2018. The Broncos face off against the New Mexico Lobos in the Taco Bell Arena on Mar. 4, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.

Men’s Basketball

The Boise State men’s basketball team has a long standing rivalry against San Diego State. According to senior communications major Zach Haney, the teams play twice per season; one home game and one away.

“We perform pretty well,” Haney said. “We are always excited to play for it and give it our best shot.”

San Diego State teams are very talented, and playing them in any sport is always a challenge for the Boise State Broncos. While they might not be the rival of all Bronco teams, any match, game or challenge between the two is always worth watching.

eSports

Boise State’s eSports program, launched in fall 2017, is spread out across five varsity teams specialized in online competitive games. Due to fairly even matches and different styles of play, head coach Chris Haskell and other players note that it will take time to see any development. However, Haskell sees University of Utah as a potential rival.

“It depends on the game,” Haskell said. “(University of) Utah is probably our biggest school rival because they’re closest, have a similar size program and we see them a lot.”

While the eSports team may not have a definitive rivalry yet, they anticipate one to rise up in the spring 2019 season.

Most of the Broncos leaned towards their Mountain West Conference opponents when determining who their biggest rivals were, with the most popular rival being Colorado State University. Teams who attend more widespread competitions and face more non-conference schools identified their rivals as ones whose programs have similar levels of competition (such as BYU in football) or are in close proximity to Boise (such as University of Idaho in men’s golf). All in all, the Broncos are known to put up a fight against any opponent.

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