Arrow-right Camera


Bronco Bob takes shot at Vandals

Boise State's Travis Stanaway and UI’s Preston Davis tangle last season, but that nastiness is about to end. (Associated Press)
Boise State's Travis Stanaway and UI’s Preston Davis tangle last season, but that nastiness is about to end. (Associated Press)

But BSU boss could use a lesson in civility

So Robert “Bob” Kustra, the foreman at Boise State University, believes college football rivalries are meant to be civil, and that all involved are “to act like grownups.”

I would have sworn these sentiments came from press release to announce that post-graduate degrees would now be offered in the prestigious BSU School of Alternate Realities, or that it was a preface to NCAA passing legislation subjecting college presidents to random drug testing.

But no. Robert “Bob” Kustra let fly with these beauties and more – calling the University of Idaho upstate “a culture that is nasty, inebriated” – in a sit-down with the editorial board of the Idaho Statesman, the members of which no doubt were grinning at each other and whispering, “Is this any good?”

Robert “Bob” Kustra could have declared that his researchers had discovered evidence of raccoons driving Maseratis on Neptune and it would have been buried under his blustering, “I don’t care if we ever play ‘em again.”

The Vandals, he means. In football. The storied UI-BSU rivalry that goes back, oh, 10 minutes or so.

Outrage, chest-puffing and other posturing on both sides was the order of the day Tuesday when Robert “Bob” Kustra squarely backed his football coach, Chris Petersen, in asserting that once the two schools are no longer aligned in the Western Athletic Conference, the Broncos have no reason to play games in Moscow.

That will happen in 2011, when Boise State moves to the Mountain West Conference and leaves Idaho behind in the Whack … er, the WAC.

Haven’t we been here before? Didn’t the Broncos try to lose Idaho back when the Vandals were marooned in the Sun Belt Conference? Isn’t this awfully “What About Bob?”

Different Bob. Not Robert “Bob” Kustra.

Now, this isn’t all that unusual in college athletics. You’ll note that with Gonzaga now being a Top 25 fixture in basketball, the Zags no longer play old neighborhood chums Eastern and Idaho on their courts. It’s a food chain thing.

But it is instructive that several Mountain West schools continue to tee it up with their poor WAC relations in football, home and away – UNLV with Nevada, New Mexico with New Mexico State, BYU and Utah with Utah State.

Of course, the Bronco votary is still confused why his beloveds had to take this half-measure move into the MWC and weren’t just red-carpeted into the Pac-10. Boise State is looking at a Top 5 ranking when the first polls come out, and naturally it will be forever thus. USC, Alabama, Ohio State – all will be calling for home-and-home series with the Broncos, no doubt.

Yes, Boise could easily jettison its yearly Mid-American Conference patsy and plug in the Vandals for relatively comparable competition that makes infinitely more sense.

Ah, but as we discovered Tuesday, it’s not Idaho’s station in the circle of football life they find off-putting.

It’s just everything Idaho.

“Why would we?” Petersen said when asked if BSU will continue to play in Moscow. “I don’t think our fans even like to go up there.”

What a guy, looking out for the fans that way. That’s why they’ve been shuttled off to non-conference destination resorts like Bowling Green, Hattiesburg, Laramie, Corvallis and El Paso over the years.

But then Robert “Bob” Kustra weighed in.

“For me, this is a cultural issue,” he said. “What bothers me more than anything else is that the fans are not about denigrating our athletic program. … What bothers me personally is the denigration of our academic programming. That’s what I simply can’t tolerate.”

Really? That’s the deal-breaker?

You’re OK if Idaho fans ridicule the players and coaches and, of course, the blue turf – but they can’t mention that until recently truck driving was taught on your campus?

Sounds as if Robert “Bob” Kustra is in need of a full-body collagen injection.

Robert “Bob” Kustra also tried to suggest that a rivalry such as Texas-Texas A&M is devoid of such cruelty.

Aggie jokes, Bob? Ring a bell? Anything?

Apparently, Robert “Bob” Kustra has not reconciled the fact that college football makes masses of every population misplace their brains – including the three fine Boiseans who cussed me as I made my way to my car after last year’s game for the crime of not having a stitch of blue in my wardrobe.

Nope. It’s only in Moscow that they’re “nasty, inebriated,” and that’s why this all should end.

No doubt those are just the hors d’oeuvres. When it comes time to lobby the legislature for more funding than UI, he’ll probably trot out “malignant, cretinous and inbred.”

Or maybe he’ll want to keep it civil and act like a grownup.

There are 11 comments on this story »