Posted by ESPN.com’s Graham Watson
Idaho coach Rob Akey has ensured that Saturday’s game against Boise State will have a real rivalry feel.
During the WAC coaches teleconference on Monday, Akey said his team was ready to end the Broncos 10-game winning streak over the Vandals.
“I want to be the least popular individual with all the WAC administrators after we get done on Saturday,” Akey said. “Because if we take care of business then there’s not going to be a BCS bowl for the Boise State and no BCS money coming to the conference.”
But if there were any year for the Vandals to reverse their fortune, it would be this one. Idaho is 7-3, its most wins since 1999. Although the Vandals have struggled with some of the better WAC competition, they’ve been in every game they’ve played and made several miraculous comebacks this season. They also have three road wins this year.
“I think that we’re much better mentally that’s why we’ve been able to get ourselves to seven wins,” Akey said. “Even though the scoreboard reads 24-0 on Saturday against a good football team [Fresno State] that we were able to battle back. Our guys believed that we were going to beat the clock and we were going to get the job done there in the second half. So, yeah, I think most definitely we are much better than we have been in the past.”
Boise State has been dominant throughout conference play this season, winning every game by double digits. However, both Tulsa and Louisiana Tech were able to expose some weaknesses that Idaho might be able to exploit.
Still, there’s no denying how truly lopsided this series has been this decade. Boise State has won by an average of 32.4 points per game. Idaho did score 35 on the Broncos in 2005, but Boise State scored 70. The Broncos have scored fewer than 38 points just once in the past 10 games against the Vandals.
“The beautiful thing about starting a new streak here is that it’s going to start a new streak with the rival series as well and that’s a streak that needs to get broken and started anew,” Akey said. “That, I think, is the big thing about it... This is the best time of the year in college football; November through the bowl season. And this is when the good football teams, everything is sitting on the line for them. We have a great opportunity with this to get the rivalry series fixed.
“This is what we can accomplish by winning this game: We can get our eighth win, we can get a new streak started, we can get a new streak in the rival series started. One of the benefits that will come from that is that it will make it better for us in our bowl scenario and it’s going to put [Boise State's] bowl scenario and a lot of people’s bowl scenarios completely out of whack.”