Are we going to see the final chapter of the storied Nevada Wolf Pack-Boise State Broncos football rivalry this Saturday afternoon at Mackay Stadium?
Don’t be so sure.
The Broncos and Wolf Pack have played 38 times since 1971 together as part of four different conferences (the Big Sky, Big West, WAC and Mountain West) as well as non-conference foes. The rivalry is one of the strongest the Wolf Pack has enjoyed over the past 41 seasons, regularly producing capacity crowds as well as quite a few conference champions.
But it might be over after Saturday.
The Broncos are scheduled to leave the Mountain West after this season for the Big East Conference and, as of now, there are no plans to rekindle the rivalry.
“No, it doesn’t look like it,” Pack football coach Chris Ault said Monday as he prepared his team for the 39th meeting of the rivalry on Saturday. “It looks like it will be a while before we play them again.”
Schedules can and often are changed but the Pack and Broncos’ schedules seem to be booked for at least the near future.
The Wolf Pack’s non-league games next season will be at UCLA (Aug. 31) and at Florida state (Sept. 21) and at home against Oregon (Sept. 7) and UC Davis (Sept. 14). The Pack also will play at Arizona and at home against Southern Utah and Washington State in 2014, at UCLA and South Florida and home against Davis and Arizona in 2015, at Cal and home against UCLA and Cal Poly in 2016 and will travel to Washington State and Oregon State in 2017.
Boise already has non-league games scheduled through 2023. They kicked off a home and home 12-year series with BYU this year. In addition to the yearly BYU game through 2023, the Broncos also have home-and-away contracts with Washington in 2013 and 2015, Utah State in 2014 and 2015, Washington State in 2016 and 2017, as well as Michigan State in 2022 and 2023. The Broncos also host Southern Miss in 2013 and go to Oregon State in 2016.
The Broncos currently own a 25-13 series edge against the Wolf Pack and have won 11 of the last 12 meetings between the two teams. But the rivalry has produced some of the most memorable Wolf Pack victories in school history, including Ault’s first victory over the Broncos in 1977, a Division I-AA playoff semifinal win in 1990 in triple overtime as well as the memorable 34-31 overtime win in 2010.
Ault, though, isn’t all that worked up over the likely loss of the rivalry.
“We’ll have other big games on our schedule to replace Boise,” he said. “Things like this happen. We just have to keep moving on.”
Ault, though, isn’t upset that the rivalry is ending because he doesn’t really believe it is ending.
“There’s a good chance they won’t be leaving the Mountain West,” he said. “But we’ll see.”
The Broncos, according to national reports last week, are in discussions with Mountain West athletic directors and presidents about staying in the Mountain West after this season. San Diego State, which is also scheduled to leave the conference for the Big East after this season, is also supposedly looking into staying in the Mountain West. Former Mountain West member BYU is also tossing out feelers around the Mountain West about returning, according to reports.
All of the schools in question, as well as the Mountain West, have denied the rumors.
Boise State coach Chris Petersen, though, also said this week that the rivalry with Nevada is far from dead.
“I think we’ll see them sooner or later,” he said.