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Is it a Rivalry? Hawaii vs. Boise State

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We take a look at the history of the most recent division champions

Hawaii at Boise State Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

In this new series, our writers will be looking at various Mountain West matchups and determining whether or not they qualify as rivalries. Our first edition will feature Boise State vs. Hawaii.

Record: Boise State has 14 wins to Hawaii’s 3

Longest winning streak: Boise State currently holds the longest winning streak at eight. Hawaii did beat Boise State twice in a row in the late 1990’s.

Largest margin of victory: Boise State 69-3 in 2004. Hawaii 34-19 in 1999.

How does each team feel about the opposition and its fanbase?

Zach: From my experience, Boise State fans have not really had Hawaii on their minds since Kellen Moore stepped foot on campus. When the Rainbow Warriors come into Albertsons Stadium, the booing is sparse. That should tell you everything you need to know.

Jeremy: Boise State’s status among Hawaii fans varies from fan to fan. Some see the Broncos as new Brigham Young, that top program within the conference that frequently gets the best of Hawaii and thus is a hated foe. I don’t think there is any real animosity between the two fan bases. Hawaii fans have nothing to fear at Albertsons Stadium, and Boise State fans have nothing to fear at Aloha Stadium, but obviously Hawaii fans aren’t exactly jazzed about the Boise State program. Going 1-14 against the Broncos since Y2K will do that.

Would you consider the rivalry competitive?

Zach: There were some really fun games in the late 2000’s. One of my favorite experiences as a student/fan came at the 2006 game against Hawaii. That was fun football. But it really hasn’t been a rivalry for more than a decade. Boise State handled Hawaii twice this year and that was the best Rainbow Warriors squad in a long time.

Jeremy: Since Hawaii’s famous victory over Boise State in 2007, the Broncos have won 8 straight against the Rainbow Warriors. The smallest margin in that stretch was 20 points, the following year in 2008. Since then, Boise State has won every game by at least 21 points, and often by much more than that. So, not to sound too sarcastic, but what do you think?

Which matchups stick out in your mind?

Zach: It has to be 2006. Hawaii and Boise State had the best teams in the conference and both offenses were electric. Ian Johnson was nearly unstoppable in that game. Hawaii gave Boise State a fight, but the Broncos came away with the 41-34 victory.

Jeremy: From a Hawaii perspective, it has to be the 2007 contest. Colt Brennan missed the game the week earlier against Nevada, Tyler Graunke stepping up in support. Brennan’s status was a little concerning, but he played and was scintillating. The fans stormed the field and Hawaii finally got over the hump against the Broncos after near misses in 2005 and 2006. It was a seminal moment for the program and the state. Hard to pick any other games considering the Broncos have won literally every other contest since the turn of the century. I suppose the 2019 Mountain West Championship was historic from Hawaii’s perspective, although the game certainly wasn’t ideal for UH. The 2005 contest was a thriller in Honolulu, a rare near-miss loss for UH in the series.. Hawaii scored on a touchdown pass from Colt Brennan to Ryan Grice-Mullen with 3 minutes remaining in the game, set to tie the score at 42. Instead, the PAT was blocked and returned 98-yards by Boise State, who would win 44-41 minutes later.

If you asked Hawaii fans what they think about Boise State what would they say aloud? What would they secretly be thinking?

Jeremy: A popular shirt gracing the stands of Aloha Stadium in 2007 read “Buck Foise”, so obviously plenty of Hawaii fans have no problem noting their disdain for the Broncos. Secretly, Boise State holds a special place in Hawaii Warriors hatedom (I just made up that word). Hawaii surged in the early 2000s under June Jones, and several WAC championships were denied to Hawaii by the Broncos. After years of embarrassment, mixed in with a close call or two, Hawaii finally got over the hump in 2007. In 2008, Hawaii managed to at least make things relatively respectable despite talk that the Broncos were out for revenge. 2005-2008 had fans feeling like Hawaii’s program had leveled out the series, and the two programs would see eye-to-eye going forward. They were wrong. The Kellen Moore teams ravaged UH, and the series 2012-present hasn’t been much better. So, in conclusion, publicly Hawaii fans will say they dislike Boise State’s program. Secretly, they’re probably somewhat-to-very much jealous.

If you asked Boise State fans what they think about Hawaii what would they say aloud? What would they secretly be thinking?

Zach: Their fans are really nice and laid back. They can come join our tailgate whenever they want. Boise State fans do not feel any animosity or hatred toward Hawaii in their fans. Secretly, Boise State fans are jealous of the weather in Hawaii and are longing for a vacation to the islands.

Final verdict, would you consider these two teams to be rivals?

Zach: Hawaii is one of the few teams that can boast multiple wins over the Broncos. But the reality is that only one of those wins has come in this century. But considering that Boise State’s margin of victory is 28.5 in their 14 wins, I am going to go with no.

Jeremy: This is the old little brother-big brother dynamic. Hawaii fans might consider this series a rivalry, because the teams play each other frequently and the Warriors hate the Broncos. Boise State probably doesn’t think much of the Warriors. 2007 was the height of the tension, but that’s died down after the plethora of beatdowns 2008-present. So no, I cannot really consider this series a rivalry. Too lopsided.