Despite how close they are in proximity and some dynamics that would make the game a Northwest blockbuster hit, the Washington State Cougars and Boise State Broncos haven’t played each other enough on the gridiron, but their football rivalry is still present in the West. In fact, you could argue that the war between the two has become the story of the 2015 recruiting season around here.
The Broncs to this point in the 2015 cycle have been taking it on the chin mostly, but their gathering of a verbal from quarterback Brett Rypien was huge to the campaign of new coach Bryan Harsin. Of course Rypien was thought to be a sure-fire Coug and perhaps the Cougs’ QB of the future, taking after his uncle Mark. The shock-wave across Cougar country was felt when Brett tweeted he was heading to Southern Idaho. It will be a shock if Rypien isn’t the day-1 starter next season and become the next prime time quarterback for the blue and orange of BSU.
Meanwhile the Cougs have been putting in good work, aside from the Rypien joint, having basically commandeered two 3-star running backs from the Broncos. Squally Canada was a BSU commit at one point in the 2014 recruiting cycle, while Aaron Baltazar decided to transfer from Boise this year after his freshman season. There was also the fight for 2014 DE Jalen Canty, who had Boise in his final few before committing crimson. There have been others as well, like (WSU commit) Hawaii DE Hercules Mata’afa.
The two have also been in some big battles that neither of them won, where the Washington Huskies stepped in and got their man. WSU lost two verbals to the UW last season, then when Chris Petersen left BSU for the Husky job he came calling on a few of the bigger Boise commits. I don’t remember him actually stealing any from the Broncos and maybe he didn’t come after them very hard in the end but he was looming.
Speaking of Washington and Boise, they’ve had some pretty good wars on the football field lately. I guess that’s why it doesn’t make sense that WSU hasn’t played BSU in forever, but that’s really neither here nor there, just a sidebar of things I think about randomly in the offseason.
Notching a commitment from 4-star QB Jake Browning with both WSU and Boise hot on the trail a couple weeks ago is a definite win for UW in the 2015 class. The Dawgs have won many of these battles the past few years and we know they will win more. The gap is definitely closing though.
Overall the proximity lends itself to these natural battles, so this isn’t necessarily earth-shattering information. However it’s new and beautiful to see high-profile players (high-end three and four-star prospects) beginning to commit to the Cougs over both Boise and Washington. For an entire decade before Mike Leach arrived, the Cougs weren’t even an afterthought for most of these kids. Now Pullman is being viewed as not only a competitive spot but the news has spread that it is indeed one of the places to be if you want to play college football in the Northwest.
Just a sign of the times I suppose. Because of the realignment to the MWC Boise State is no longer king of its conference but they are striving to become that once again (so they can ultimately join a BCS conference one would think) and is looking for big-time athletes to play right away to restore smurf-dominance. Meanwhile Washington State is visibly on the rise in the Pac-12 and Washington is once again being held in high-esteem as a name-brand nationally.
We’re just getting started with the 2015 battles folks, but the Cougs are warring with the big boys again.