In this series, our writers are looking at various Mountain West matchups and determining whether or not they qualify as rivalries. Our newest edition features Boise State vs. Wyoming.
Record: Boise State has 13 wins to Wyoming’s one win.
Longest winning streak: Boise State’s longest winning streak is 10 and Wyoming’s is 1.
Largest margin of victory: Boise State 63-14 in 2014. Wyoming 30-28 in 2016.
How does each team feel about the opposition and its fanbase?
Danny: For most of the time period that spanned the 14-game series between the Broncos and Cowboys I don’t think Boise State fans thought about Wyoming at all. The games were either blowouts or sloppy, rugged affairs where it never seemed like Boise State was in jeopardy of losing the game. That changed a bit after the devastating loss in Laramie in 2016. That game has stuck in the crawl of Bronco fans, and from then on, Boise State fans have noticed Wyoming a little more. Overall, I think the Boise State fan base respects Wyoming, but still don’t spend a lot of time or energy worrying about the yearly matchup.
FatDuckUW: Wyoming fans know that Boise State has been a top Group of 5 team through the years, so the Cowboys respect and admire the success of the Broncos football program. As for the fanbase, I think Wyoming fans are largely fine with the Broncos fans. No strong dislike of Boise State or their fans. From 2010-2015, Boise State was never really challenged by Wyoming. In 2010, 2012 & 2014, Boise State fans came to Laramie and celebrated an easy win for their Broncos. I think Boise State fans largely dismissed Wyoming (which is annoying as a Cowboy fan, but understandable based on the results). I think 2016 in Laramie was a moment of slight validation for Wyoming, and it was likely a moment when Boise State fans realized that they can’t completely dismiss Wyoming. While Wyoming played the Broncos into overtime in Boise last season, I think Wyoming is not really feared but, hopefully, becoming more respected.
Would you consider the rivalry competitive?
Danny: Historically, I don’t think an argument can be made that the series has been competitive. Boise State is 13-1 with the lone loss coming on an unlikely safety in a two-point loss. The last three matchups have been a little closer, with BSU losing their one game of the series, and two of the other three other games being relatively close affairs. Craig Bohl is a great coach who knows how to build a program, so there is a chance the series may be more competitive going forward.
FatDuckUW: Overall, no. It might be getting more competitive in recent years with Wyoming winning in 2016 and playing Boise State into overtime in 2019. That said, Boise State laid some whippings on Wyoming from 2010-2015. Those games were not at all competitive.
Which matchups stick out in your mind?
Danny: The 2016 loss is one that sticks out, but I’ll go with the 63 -14 drubbing that Boise State put on Wyoming in 2014 as a happy thought that comes to mind. That game highlighted the progress Grant Hedrick and the 2014 team made throughout the season. This was the first time I really started to believe that Boise State had a chance at a third Fiesta Bowl and thought that they might even win it. Jay Ajayi had over 200 total yards and two touchdowns. Hedrick threw three touchdowns and zero interceptions. Kamalei Correa had three sacks. Such a great memory and a game that has repeat value on YouTube.
FatDuckUW: The 2016 win in Laramie. It was a huge boost to a young Wyoming team. Boise State was ranked #13 in the country. Wyoming was 5-2 at the time, but had not had a winning season since 2011. Wyoming won the game 30-28. The safety with 1:25 left in the game broke a 28-28 tie, giving Wyoming their only lead of the game. It also brought about a wonderful moment that has now become a fun gif when Josiah Hall celebrated the safety with a dance in the end zone while the officials huddled prior to making the announcement of a safety on the play. Wyoming went on to not only have a winning season, but also win the Mountain Division and host the MWC Championship Game that year. In many ways, that moment also marked a turnaround for the Wyoming program under Bohl. Wyoming has gone 30-22 from 2016-2019 which is the most successful stretch for Wyoming since they’ve been in the MWC.
If you asked Wyoming fans what they think about Boise State what would they say aloud? What would they secretly be thinking?
FatDuckUW: I think Wyoming fans would say that Boise State has a very good football program. One that Wyoming aspires to be, and one that Wyoming fans hope that Bohl is possibly still building in Laramie. What Wyoming fans might secretly be thinking is that Boise State might be slightly overrated by the national media and Boise State fans. While that might sound like fighting words, I am not implying that Boise State is not a very good team. What I am suggesting is that Boise State might not get back to being the team that they were under Chris Petersen when the Broncos were on the national radar consistently. It seems like every year Boise State fans and the media talk about Boise State putting together a season where the Broncos go 12-1 or 13-0 on their way to a NY6 bowl game. However, Boise State has been just a notch below that level for several years now, and I think opposing fans are starting to view playing Boise State as a possibly winnable game in a given year. That was something much of the conference didn’t think when Boise State entered the MWC.
If you asked Boise State fans what they think about Wyoming what would they say aloud? What would they secretly be thinking?
Danny: I think Boise State fans would be pretty consistent between their outward thoughts about Wyoming and their inner monologue. Boise State fans acknowledge that the Cowboys are on the come up, but they don’t think they are much of a threat to Boise State. They have a healthy respect for Bohl, but don’t think Wyoming is anywhere close to coming for the crown.
Also, Boise State fans were pretty universal in mocking the idea that Josh Allen might be the number one overall pick in the draft (that was nonsense).
Final verdict, would you consider these two teams to be rivals?
Danny: I feel confident that everyone will agree that Boise State and Wyoming are not rivals. It has been a fun series lately, but there isn’t a storied history, sustained competitiveness, or any real animosity between the fans or teams. However, because Boise doesn’t really have a natural rival, BSU fans will create drama where none exists sometimes. You know, just for fun.
For example, it is a popular social media refrain to refer to the team from Laramie as _yoming, because they left their “W” on the Blue Turf in 2017. Boise State fans will find any reason to create a dramatic and exciting atmosphere, and admittedly have a certain level of healthy pettiness. Nobody is really a rival, so EVERYONE is a potential rival.
FatDuckUW: No. It might be several years from now IF Wyoming can beat Boise State a couple of more times and continue to play close games every year. The only time Wyoming has won on the smurf turf was against Central Michigan in the 2017 Idaho Potato Bowl. For Wyoming to be viewed as a rival, they’d need to finally beat the Broncos in Boise while also picking up another win at home in Laramie. Also, Wyoming would have to capitalize on such wins by going on to win the Mountain Division over Boise State. If Wyoming keeps Boise State from the MWC Championship Game a couple of more times, that might elevate them to a potential rival.