Idaho is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, known for its beautiful landscapes and outdoor activities. Football is one of the most popular sports in Idaho, with a strong following at both the college and high school levels. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or just looking to catch a game while visiting the state, this guide to football in Idaho has got you covered.
College football is a big deal in Idaho, with two Division I football programs located in the state. The Boise State Broncos, located in the state capital of Boise, have been a dominant force in college football for over two decades, with multiple conference championships and bowl game victories. The University of Idaho Vandals, located in Moscow, have a storied football history dating back to the early 1900s and have won multiple conference championships and bowl games as well.
In addition to the Division I programs, there are also several smaller colleges and universities in the state that field football teams.
History of Football in Idaho
Football has been played in Idaho since the late 19th century when the University of Idaho’s football program, nicknamed the “Vandals,” began in 1893. The team has only missed five seasons since then.
The University of Idaho football team adopted the mascot “Vandals” in 1917. Idaho experienced its best years in football from 1985 to 1995, when it made the I-AA national playoffs in ten of 11 seasons with four different head coaches, reaching the semifinals twice. After 18 years in Division I-AA, Idaho returned to Division I-A competition (now called the FBS) in 1996 in the Big West.
Idaho Vandals football team currently competes in the Big Sky Conference in the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA). The team has won 3 conference championships and played in 3 bowl games.
The University of Idaho has produced several notable football players, including Jerry Kramer, a former Green Bay Packers offensive lineman who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2018. Other notable players include Wayne Walker, a former Detroit Lions linebacker who was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2012, and John Friesz, a former NFL quarterback who played for several teams during his career.
In addition to the University of Idaho, football is also played at other colleges and high schools throughout the state. The Boise State Broncos football team has had a particularly successful run in recent years, winning multiple conference championships and playing in several major bowl games. High school football is also popular in Idaho, with several teams regularly competing for state championships.
Current State of Football in Idaho
High School Football
High school football is a popular sport in Idaho. The state has a total of 160 high school football teams that compete in various divisions. There are 5 different classifications based on school size, with 5A being the largest and 1A being the smallest. The season begins in late August and ends in November, with the state championship games being held at the end of November.
MaxPreps, a popular high school sports website, provides rankings for high school football teams in Idaho. However, rankings for the 2023 season have not been released yet.
Idaho has two universities that field football teams: the University of Idaho and Idaho State University. Both teams compete in the Big Sky Conference, which is a part of the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). The University of Idaho football team has a long history, dating back to 1893, and has won numerous conference championships. Idaho State University’s football team has also had success, winning conference championships in 2002 and 2014.
The University of Idaho’s football team plays its home games at the Kibbie Dome in Moscow, Idaho, while Idaho State University’s football team plays its home games at Holt Arena in Pocatello, Idaho.
Idaho does not have any professional football teams. However, the state is home to the Idaho Horsemen, a professional indoor football team that plays in the American West Football Conference. The team is based in Nampa, Idaho, and plays its home games at the Ford Idaho Center.
Popular Football Teams in Idaho
Boise State Broncos
The Boise State Broncos are the most popular football team in Idaho. The team plays in the Mountain West Conference and has a strong following in the state. The Broncos have won numerous conference championships and have played in several major bowl games, including the Fiesta Bowl and the Orange Bowl. The team plays its home games at Albertsons Stadium, which has a seating capacity of over 36,000.
The Idaho Vandals are the football team of the University of Idaho. The team plays in the Big Sky Conference and has a long history of success in college football. The Vandals have won conference championships in several different conferences and have played in several bowl games, including the Humanitarian Bowl. The team plays its home games at the Kibbie Dome, an indoor stadium on campus that seats over 16,000 fans.
Idaho State Bengals
The Idaho State Bengals are the football team of Idaho State University. The team plays in the Big Sky Conference and has a competitive program that has seen success in recent years. The Bengals have won conference championships and have made appearances in the FCS playoffs. The team plays its home games at Holt Arena, an indoor stadium that seats over 12,000 fans.
Overall, football is a popular sport in Idaho, and these three teams have a strong following in the state. Fans can enjoy exciting games and a competitive football culture at each of these universities.
Football Venues in Idaho
Idaho is home to several football venues that host a variety of teams, from college to high school. Here are some of the most notable venues:
Located in Boise, Albertsons Stadium is the home of the Boise State Broncos football team. The stadium has a seating capacity of 36,387 and features a blue playing surface, known as the “Smurf Turf.” The stadium has hosted several notable games, including the 2007 Fiesta Bowl in which Boise State defeated Oklahoma in an overtime thriller.
The Kibbie Dome, located in Moscow, is the home of the University of Idaho Vandals football team. The dome has a seating capacity of 16,000 and is notable for its unique design, which features an inflatable roof. The dome also hosts other events, such as track and field competitions and concerts.
Holt Arena is located in Pocatello and is the home of the Idaho State Bengals football team. The arena has a seating capacity of 12,000 and is unique for its indoor playing surface. In addition to football, the arena also hosts other events, such as wrestling and basketball.
Overall, Idaho offers a variety of football venues that provide a unique and exciting experience for fans and players alike.
Football Culture in Idaho
Football season in Idaho is not complete without tailgating. Fans gather in the parking lots before games to grill food, drink beer, and socialize. The University of Idaho and Boise State University are known for their lively tailgating scenes. Fans show up hours before kickoff to set up their grills and tents, and some even bring TVs to watch other games while they wait for their own to start.
At the University of Idaho, tailgating is allowed in designated areas on campus. Fans can reserve spots in advance or show up early to claim a spot on game day. The university provides trash and recycling bins to keep the area clean, and alcohol is allowed within reason.
Boise State University has a designated tailgating area called the “Stueckle Sky Center” that overlooks the football field. Fans can reserve tables and tents in advance, and the area includes food and drink vendors, live music, and activities for kids.
Football Fan Clubs
Football fan clubs are a popular way for fans to connect and support their favorite teams. In Idaho, there are several fan clubs dedicated to the University of Idaho and Boise State University football teams.
The “Vandal Scholarship Fund” is a fan club for the University of Idaho football team. Members receive benefits such as priority seating and parking, invitations to exclusive events, and access to the Vandal Athletic Center.
The “Bronco Athletic Association” is a fan club for the Boise State University football team. Members receive benefits such as priority seating and parking, invitations to exclusive events, and access to the Stueckle Sky Center.
In addition to regular season games, there are several football events in Idaho that fans can attend. The “Famous Idaho Potato Bowl” is an annual bowl game held in Boise. The game features teams from the Mountain West Conference and the Mid-American Conference.
The “Battle of the Domes” is an annual game between the University of Idaho and Idaho State University. The game is held at the Kibbie Dome in Moscow, Idaho, and is one of the oldest football rivalries in the country.
The “Boise State Spring Game” is an annual scrimmage held at Albertsons Stadium in Boise. The game is free and open to the public, and gives fans a chance to see the team in action before the regular season starts.
The guide to football in Idaho provides a comprehensive overview of the state’s football scene. From the history of Idaho football to the current state of the sport, this guide covers everything a football fan needs to know about the game in Idaho.
Idaho has a rich football history, with a number of successful college and high school programs. The University of Idaho Vandals have a long and storied football tradition, with a number of conference championships and bowl game appearances. High school football is also popular in Idaho, with a number of successful programs across the state.
Despite the challenges facing football in Idaho, including budget constraints and a lack of resources, the sport remains an important part of the state’s athletic culture. With the support of dedicated fans and talented players, football in Idaho will continue to thrive in the years to come.