Battle of the Palouse
The two land-grant universities are less than eight miles (13 km) apart on the rural Palouse in the Inland Northwest; Idaho's campus in Moscow is nearly on the Idaho–Washington border, and Washington State's campus is directly west in Pullman, linked by Washington State Route 270 and the Bill Chipman Palouse Trail. The two schools' most prominent rivalry was in football, but in later years it has shifted to men's basketball.
|First meeting||November 17, 1894
122 years ago
WSC 10, Idaho 0
|Latest meeting||September 21, 2013
Washington State, 42–0
|Next meeting||September 17, 2016
|All-time series||Washington State leads,
|Longest win streak||Washington State, 21
|Longest unbeaten streak||Washington State, 27
|Current win streak||Washington State, 8
The first game was played 122 years ago in November 1894 and resulted in a win for Washington State. The game in 1898 was not played because Idaho had an ineligible ringer from Lapwai, F.J. McFarland, a recent All-American from Carlisle. The Vandals' first-ever forward pass was attempted against the Cougars in 1907: it was completed for a touchdown from a drop-kick formation in the fourth quarter and led to a 5–4 victory.
Washington State has dominated the local rivalry, holding a 71–16–3 (.806) lead. The record since 1926 is even more dominant, with a 56–5–2 (.905) advantage for the Cougars. The longest winning streak for Idaho was three games (1923–25), and has only five victories since that three-peat (1954, 1964, 1965, 1999, & 2000) and two ties (1927, 1950) to offset the 56 losses.
The games were skipped in 1969 and 1971, unfortunate for Idaho as the 1971 Vandals posted one of the best records (8–3) in school history, while WSU was 4–7. The rivalry became increasingly one-sided as WSU dominated in the 1970s (except for 1974) and the original series ended, following the 1978 game. From 1979 to 1997, the game was played just twice (1982, 1989) until the 10-year renewal from 1998–2007. Since their last wins in 1999 and 2000, Idaho has been physically outmatched in most of the seven games; the game has only been played once since 2007, in 2013.
As two schools are in close proximity, from 1938 to 1968 there was a tradition called The Loser's Walk, where during the week following the game students of the losing school would walk from their own campus to the winners' campus, then receive rides back home from the winning side. This has frequently been misreported as students walking back to their own campus immediately following the game. In 1954, the walk made national news when about 2,000 students from Washington State College made the trek east from Pullman to Moscow after the Cougars lost to Idaho for the first time in 29 years.
In a span of less than five months from November 1969 to April 1970, both schools' aged wooden stadiums (Idaho's Neale Stadium and WSU's Rogers Field) burned down due to suspected arson. The WSU–Idaho game in 1970 was dubbed the Displaced Bowl, which was held in Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane on September 19. The Cougars won the game (their only win that season), as well as the next ten against the Vandals. The 1970 game was the first in the rivalry played on AstroTurf, which was new to Joe Albi that season.
In 1978 the NCAA split Division I football in two: I-A (now FBS) and I-AA (now FCS). Washington State was in Division I-A as part of the Pac-10 Conference and Idaho downgraded to I-AA as part of the Big Sky Conference, whose other football members moved up from Division II. In the late 1970s, I-A football programs were allowed 50% more scholarships and twice as many assistant coaches as I-AA teams. During the years they were in different divisions, the schools met only twice (1982 in Spokane and 1989 in Pullman). In 1996, Idaho moved back up to Division I-A in the Big West Conference, and Idaho and WSU rekindled their century-old rivalry. Since the rivalry was reinstated in 1998, every game has been played at Martin Stadium in Pullman, except for the matchup in 2003, which was played at Seattle's Seahawks Stadium. The last game played on the Idaho side of the border was 50 years ago in 1966, a come-from-behind 14–7 Cougar victory on a very muddy field to prevent a Vandal three-peat.
Future of rivalry
After ten years of the renewed rivalry, Vandal head coach Robb Akey, previously WSU's defensive coordinator, said in 2008 that he preferred the game not be played every year, instead saying he would prefer it as a "once-in-a-while thing." Only one game was played during Akey's tenure, in his first season in 2007, and he was fired in October 2012. The meeting in 2013 on September 21 was a one-year revival, but the future of the series under current Vandal head coach Paul Petrino is unclear. The next game is scheduled for 2016 in Pullman on September 17.
|Idaho victories||Washington State victories|
- Idaho was a member of the Pacific Coast Conference; the Battle of the Palouse was a conference game from 1922 through 1958.
- Idaho was a division below WSU in 1967–68 (College division) and 1978–95 (Division I-AA); Idaho will return to FCS in 2018.
- Prior to 1959, WSU was WSC.
|Y C McNease||Idaho||1||1968–1969||0||1||0||.000|
|Dennis Erickson (a)||Idaho||1||1982–1985||0||1||0||.000|
|John L. Smith||Idaho||1||1989–1994||0||1||0||.000|
|Dennis Erickson (b)||Idaho||1||2006||0||1||.000|
- Won first attempt: Stahley (1954), Musseau (1965), Cable (2000)
- Won final attempt: Mathews (1925), Andros (1964), Tormey (1999)
- Last Idaho coach with more than one win was Mathews with three straight (1923, 1924, 1925)
|Gus Welch||Washington State||4||1919–1922||4||0||0||1.000|
|Albert Exendine||Washington State||3||1923–1925||0||3||0||.000|
|Babe Hollingbery||Washington State||17||1926–1942||16||0||1||.971|
|Phil Sarboe||Washington State||6||1945–1949||6||0||0||1.000|
|Forest Evashevski||Washington State||2||1950–1951||1||0||1||.750|
|Al Kircher||Washington State||4||1952–1955||3||1||0||.750|
|Jim Sutherland||Washington State||8||1956–1963||8||0||0||1.000|
|Bert Clark||Washington State||4||1964–1967||2||2||0||.500|
|Jim Sweeney||Washington State||6||1968–1975||6||0||0||1.000|
|Jackie Sherrill||Washington State||1||1976||1||0||0||1.000|
|Warren Powers||Washington State||1||1977||1||0||0||1.000|
|Jim Walden||Washington State||2||1978–1986||2||0||0||1.000|
|Dennis Erickson||Washington State||0||1987–1988|
|Mike Price||Washington State||6||1989–2002||4||2||0||.667|
|Bill Doba||Washington State||5||2003–2007||5||0||1.000|
|Paul Wulff||Washington State||0||2008–2011|
|Mike Leach||Washington State||1||2012–2015||1||0||1.000|
- Last tie was in 1950, overtime began in 1996 in Division I-A (none through 2015)
- Two games were played in 1945; no games in 1943, 1944, 1969, 1971
- After 1978, except for resumption of 1998–2007, games were scheduled intermittently (1982, 1989, 2013, 2016)
|First meeting||January 13, 1906
110 years ago
Washington State, 28–11
|Latest meeting||December 10, 2015
|Next meeting||December 7, 2016
|All-time series||Washington State leads,
|Largest victory||Washington State, 53–10
(March 17, 1914)
|Longest win streak||Washington State, 12
|Current win streak||Idaho, 2 (2014–present)|
Although the Battle of the Palouse in football waned by the 1980s, Idaho and Washington State men's basketball teams have played each other annually since 1906 in a series that continues. From the 1922–23 to 1958–59 seasons, both schools were members of the Pacific Coast Conference.
Washington State has a 162–109 lead in the series as of January 2016; in the latest game in the series, Idaho won 78–74 at the Cowan Spectrum in Moscow in December 2015 for a second consecutive victory. The 77–71 win in December 2014 in Pullman was the Vandals' first over the Cougars since December 2002 and the first in Pullman since December 1989.
The rivalry in basketball reached its peak in the early 1980s, under head coaches Don Monson and George Raveling. The game in early December 1982 at the Kibbie Dome in Moscow established a new attendance record of 11,000 for an Idaho home game; the Vandals won it overtime for their third straight win over the Cougars and 37th consecutive win at home. Idaho was coming off a 27–3 season in 1982 in which it was ranked in the top ten and reached the Sweet Sixteen (and Monson was named Kodak coach of the year). The Cougars went on to finish second in the Pac-10 in the 1983 regular season, and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament, falling to #1 seed Virginia in Boise to finish at 26–6. Both coaches left at the end of the season; Monson for Oregon and Raveling for Iowa.
Washington State leads the women's basketball series, last played in the 2008–09 season, 26–13 and won the most recent game 53–50 over Idaho.
- 2008: Idaho Classic, Moscow (Idaho won 3–0)
- 2009: Nike Cougar Challenge, Pullman (Washington State won 3–2)
- 2010: Nike Cougar Invitational, Pullman (Idaho won 3–0)
- 2012: Idaho Nike Invitational, Moscow (Idaho won 3–2)
- 2013: Cougar Invitational, Pullman (Washington State won 3–0)
- 2014: Cougar Challenge, Pullman (Washington State won 3–1)
- Brown, Bruce (August 20, 1975). "Another View". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. p. 45.
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- "Become a University of Idaho Tradition Keeper". Student Alumni Relations Board - University of Idaho. p. 3/7. Retrieved September 15, 2013.
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- "WSC walks". Gem of the Mountains, University of Idaho yearbook. 1955. p. 26. Retrieved August 16, 2012.
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- "All-time opponents: Idaho", 2014-15 Washington State Basketball, Washington State Cougars, pp. 36–37
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- "Vandal women lose Battle of the Palouse". Idaho Vandals. February 27, 2003. Retrieved December 3, 2014.
- "WSU Claims 3-1 Volleyball Victory At Idaho". Washington State. September 19, 2000. Retrieved April 18, 2015.
- "Cougars Take Soccer Battle Of The Palouse". Washington State Cougars. September 8, 2002. Retrieved December 3, 2014.
- "All-time records against: Idaho" (PDF). Washington State 2014-15 Women's Basketball. Washington State University. 2014. p. 40.
- "All-time records versus opponents" (PDF). 2014 Washington State Volleyball. Washington State University. p. 43. Retrieved June 17, 2015.
- "WSU Takes 3-1 Win over Idaho at Cougar Challenge". Washington State University. September 18, 2014. Retrieved June 17, 2015.
- 2014 Washington State Volleyball, pp. 47-48.
- "Baseball's 'out' at Idaho". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. May 13, 1980. p. 19.
- College Football Data Warehouse – Idaho opponents: vs. Washington State