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Boise State becoming a big-time program in all the wrong ways

Never again, Boise State.

I've always taken up your cause when power-conference teams have ducked you Smurf-Turf titans. Not anymore. Not since you began acting just like the snobs who have looked down their facemasks at the Broncos for years. Thanks to this Idaho flap, you've forfeited your right to ever complain about any program that -- due to fear, multinational conspiracy or a plain old lack of respect -- declines to schedule you.

You joined the Mountain West, Broncos, not the Skull and Bones. You're not too good to play Idaho, the in-state rival you've faced every year since 1971. You're certainly not too good to face the Vandals in Moscow (unofficial motto: It could be worse. You could be in Pullman.)

What would you hook-and-lateral lovers say if the chancellor of Nebraska or some other power-conference school said he wouldn't send his team and fans to Boise because he had an aversion to potential losses, tiny stadiums, miniscule television markets and comically colored playing surfaces? Oh, wait. That's what most of the power-conference schools do say. And you go crazy. You cry foul. You hold it up as another case of the man keeping the little guy down.

So how do you think Vandals fans felt this week when your president, Robert Kustra, described an away game in Moscow to the editorial board of the Idaho Statesman this week? "It's a culture that is nasty, inebriated and civilly doesn't give our fans the respect that any fan should expect when visiting an away team," Kustra said, according to the paper.

(I'll pause here to allow you to consider whether Kustra prefers to watch his games with a glass of chardonnay and a block of gruyere or a bottle of pinot noir and a wheel of brie.)

You Broncos claim to want to play big-time opponents. Then use the Vandals to practice for the inebriated, less-than-civil fans you'll see at better stadiums across the country. Heck, Kustra described 11 of the 12 fan bases in the SEC. In fact, most SEC players don't consider their careers complete unless their bus nearly gets overturned in Baton Rouge or someone flings bodily fluid at their coach's wife in Gainesville.

If you don't want to deal with drunk fans, then you'll have to schedule BYU 12 times a year. Unfortunately, Mountain West bylaws only allow you to play the Cougars once every regular season. So that's not an option.

Kustra explained his attack by pointing to a column that ran in The Argonaut, Idaho's student paper, titled, "Why do we hate?" Though the column was relatively tame, Kustra said it further reinforced his belief that Vandals fans have no respect for Broncos fans. He also said he couldn't tolerate the denigration of his school's academic programs by those ivory-tower elitists at the Harvard of the Palouse.

Thank goodness Kustra isn't president at Florida State. He'd probably try to cancel the Florida game. Or at Clemson, where he'd probably try to cancel the South Carolina series.

In fairness, Kustra did spend most of his career in Illinois politics and has never served at a university in a big-time football conference. So it's no surprise that he fails to understand that part of the joy of a rivalry is poking fun at the academic reputation of a rival. Clearly, he's never heard this old joke:

Q: Why do people go to [insert agricultural or similarly secondary state institution]?

A: Because they couldn't get into [insert flagship university].

Or maybe Kustra's protests are a smokescreen for the real reason you Broncos don't want to play the Vandals. Elsewhere in his comments to the Statesman board, Kustra gave another reason why he backed Boise State coach Chris Petersen's decision to discontinue the series. This one sounded a lot less whiny and a lot more like the ones we've heard from the schools that routinely flee from potential games against the Broncos.

"I guess [Idaho] coach [Robb] Akey would argue that if he upsets Boise State, then that's a really big deal, but why is that to Boise State's advantage?" Kustra told the Statesman.

It may only be coincidence, but these comments came after Akey led the Vandals to their best season since 1998. Boise State fans should remember 1998. It's the last season the Vandals beat the Broncos, and it capped a period in which Idaho went 15-2 against Boise State. Are the Broncos afraid Akey is building a competitive program in Moscow? Judging by last season's 63-25 margin, that's unlikely, so what's the harm in keeping an in-state rivalry alive?

Could it be that you Broncos, who now have one of the nation's best programs, have turned into the same kind of snobs you used to despise? It's quite a bit different when the cleat is on the other foot, isn't it?

So enjoy the hard-won spoils of your program's rise, Boise State. Go ahead and cancel the Idaho series after this season if you feel it suits your needs. But if you do, don't start whining when teams from richer conferences refuse to schedule you. We don't want to hear it.

You Broncos aren't scrappy underdogs anymore. You're now the man.

And you're trying to keep the little guy down.

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