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Vandals excited to face Boise State on Friday

Rivalry relevant? UI thinks so

MOSCOW, Idaho – Idaho football coach Robb Akey made his feelings very clear Monday on the hazy future of the Vandals’ 40-year-old series with Boise State – at least when it comes to where the rivalry should take place if and when it returns.

“That is ridiculous,” Akey said when asked if the game should remain in Boise every year, as BSU coach Chris Petersen suggests. “You play the rival game as a true rival game. Their home and our home every other year, or you don’t play at all. Bottom line.”

The Vandals (4-5) and fourth-ranked Broncos (8-0) meet on Friday at the Kibbie Dome in what will be the last encounter between the teams for at least two years. The Broncos are headed to the Mountain West Conference next year and their nonconference schedule in 2011 and ’12 is full.

Earlier this year, Petersen said he sees no reason to continue playing in Moscow because of the lack of seating in the Dome and the fact most Vandals alumni are in the Boise area anyway. He reiterated that sentiment Monday while notign that Friday’s game – when BSU will try for its 12th straight win over UI – will be “as tough an atmosphere as we go into.”

That’s partly because fewer Boise State fans make the trip compared to other road games, he said.

“Since I’ve been here that’s how it’s always been: The Boise people don’t go up there,” Petersen said. “There are no seats and they don’t go up there. So it’s going to be kind of business as usual.”

While at odds on the future site of the series, both coaches agree the annual game will resume one day. And Akey said the spirited discussion about the rivalry’s fate and the debate BSU president Bob Kustra’s comments sparked this summer show it is still relevant.

“If it didn’t matter, certainly it wouldn’t be discussed,” Akey said. “And if it didn’t matter, it certainly wouldn’t be discussed with emotion. Obviously, those were emotional comments that came out. So the bottom line: Maybe the rival game does mean something.”

Boise has made its players off limits to the media this week to “stay focused and do what we need to do on this short week,” Petersen said.

But Akey is taking a different approach.

“Our guys are going to get a chance to talk,” he said. “Our kids are excited about playing them.”