Script error Script error The Battle of the Palouse refers to an athletic rivalry in the northwest United States, between the Vandals of the University of Idaho and Cougars of Washington State University.

The two land-grant universities are less than Script error apart on the rural Palouse in the Inland Northwest; Idaho's campus in Moscow is nearly on the IdahoWashington 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.


Battle of the Palouse
First contestedNovember 17, 1894
Template:Years or months ago
WSC 10, Idaho 0
Number of meetings91
Most recent meetingSeptember 17, 2016
Washington State, 56–6
Next meetingSeptember 19, 2020
All-time seriesWashington State leads,
72–16–3  (.808)
Largest victoryWashington State, 84–27 (1975)
Longest win streakWashington State, 21
Current streakWashington State, 9

Series historyEdit

The first game was played Template:Years or months 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.[1][2][3] 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.[4]

Washington State has dominated the local rivalry, holding a .808 lead. The record since 1926 is even more dominant, with a .906 advantage for the Cougars. The longest winning streak for Idaho was three games (192325), 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.[5] 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 nine games; the game has been played twice since 2007, in 2013 and 2016.

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.[6][7][8][9]

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.[10] This 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.[5] 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 ago in 1966, a come-from-behind 14–7 Cougar victory on a very muddy field to prevent a Vandal three-peat.[1][2]

Future of rivalryEdit

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."[3] Only one game was played during Akey's tenure, in his first season in 2007, and he was fired in October 2012.[4] The meeting in 2013 on September 21 was a one-year revival,[5] but the future of the series under current Vandal head coach Paul Petrino is unclear; WSU won 56–6 in 2016, and the next meeting is scheduled for 2020 in Pullman.[6] Because of the difficulty of scheduling as an isolated FBS independent, Idaho returned to FCS and the Big Sky in 2018.

Game resultsEdit

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Coaching recordsEdit

Since 1919


Head Coach Team Games Seasons Wins Losses Ties Pct.
Ralph HutchinsonIdaho11919010.000
Thomas KelleyIdaho21920–1921020.000
Matty MathewsIdaho41922–1925310.750
Charles ErbIdaho31926–1928021.167
Leo CallandIdaho61929–1934060.000
Ted BankIdaho61935–1940060.000
Francis SchmidtIdaho21941–1942020.000
Babe BrownIdaho31945–1946030.000
Dixie HowellIdaho41947–1950031.125
Babe CurfmanIdaho31951–1953030.000
Skip StahleyIdaho81954–1961170.125
Dee AndrosIdaho31962–1964120.333
Steve MusseauIdaho31965–1967120.333
Y C McNeaseIdaho11968–1969010.000
Don RobbinsIdaho31970–1973030.000
Ed TroxelIdaho41974–1977040.000
Jerry DavitchIdaho11978–1981010.000
Dennis Erickson (a) Idaho11982–1985010.000
Keith GilbertsonIdaho0 1986–1988
John L. SmithIdaho11989–1994010.000
Chris TormeyIdaho21995–199911 .500
Tom CableIdaho42000–200313 .250
Nick HoltIdaho22004–200502 .000
Dennis Erickson (b)Script errorScript errorIdahoScript error1200601 .000
Robb AkeyIdaho12007–201201 .000
Paul PetrinoIdaho22013–201802 .000

Washington StateEdit

Head Coach Team Games Seasons Wins Losses Ties Pct.
Gus WelchWashington State41919–19224001.000 
Albert ExendineWashington State31923–1925030.000
Babe HollingberyWashington State171926–19421601.971
Phil SarboeWashington State61945–19496001.000 
Forest EvashevskiWashington State21950–1951101.750
Al KircherWashington State41952–1955310.750
Jim SutherlandWashington State81956–19638001.000 
Bert ClarkWashington State41964–1967220.500
Jim SweeneyWashington State61968–19756001.000 
Jackie SherrillWashington State119761001.000 
Warren PowersWashington State119771001.000 
Jim WaldenWashington State21978–19862001.000 
Dennis EricksonWashington State01987–1988       
Mike PriceWashington State61989–2002420.667
Bill DobaWashington State52003–200750 1.000 
Paul WulffWashington State02008–2011       
Mike LeachWashington State22012–201820 1.000 
  • Last tie was in 1950, overtime began in 1996 in Division I-A (none through 2018)
  • 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, 2020)

Men's basketballEdit

Battle of the Palouse
First contestedJanuary 13, 1906
Washington State, 28–11
Number of meetings274
Most recent meetingDecember 5, 2018
Washington State, 90–70,
in Pullman
Next meetingDecember 4, 2019
All-time seriesWashington State leads,
Largest victoryWashington State, 53–10
(March 17, 1914)
Longest win streakWashington State, 12
Current streakWashington State, 1
(December 2018)

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.[1][2][3] From 1922 through the 1958–59 season, both were members of the Pacific Coast Conference, and both were independents for the next several years after it disbanded.[4][5] Four games per season were played in these years, sometimes five; during the Gus Johnson season of 1962–63, Idaho won four of five.

Washington State has a .599 lead in the series through the December 2018 game in Pullman, which the Cougars won 90–70. Idaho had taken three of the previous four; the Vandals' win in December 2014 was their first over the Cougars since 2002 and the first in Pullman since 1989.[1][6]

The rivalry in basketball reached its peak in the early 1980s, when alumnus Don Monson was Idaho's head coach and WSU was led by George Raveling.[7][8][9][10] 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 in overtime for their third straight win over the Cougars and 37th consecutive win at home.[11][12][13][14] 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,[15] and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament, falling to #1 seed Virginia in Boise to finish at 26–6.[16] Both coaches left at the end of the season; Monson for Oregon and Raveling for Iowa.

Game resultsEdit

Since 1950: Washington State leads, .592 Script error


Other sportsEdit

The "Battle of the Palouse" is also contested in women's basketball,[2] women's volleyball,[3] and women's soccer.[4]

In women's basketball, WSU leads at .667; the most recent meeting was ago in December 2008, a 53–50 Cougar win in Moscow.[1] In soccer, Idaho began its program in 1998 and the teams first met in 1999. They have played twelve times, most recently in 2015, and the Cougars have won eleven straight; the sole Vandal victory came in 1999.[2]

In volleyball, Washington State leads the series .672 through 2017.[3][4] The series started Template:Years or months ago in 1976, and they often met multiple times per season in the first decade. In recent years, the series has been played as part of invitational tournaments hosted by the schools:[4][5] Since 2000, WSU leads .588: Script error Source:[1]

  • Met twice in 2006 (split), did not play in 2011, 2017, or 2018.

In baseball, the rivalry was at its strongest in the 1960s, when both made multiple appearances in the NCAA postseason. Idaho discontinued its program Template:Years or months ago, after the 1980 season.[2] The Vandals won the final meeting in the series in late April to end the Cougars' 13-year unbeaten streak at 42 games (forty wins and two ties due to darkness).[3][4][5][6][7]

Boxing was also part of the rivalry as both had prominent national programs: Washington State won the national title in 1937 and Idaho took three (1940, 1941, 1950), the last shared with Gonzaga. In a UI–WSC dual meet in 1950, over five thousand attended at the Vandals' Memorial Gym.[8][9] The sport was dropped by Idaho in 1954,[10][11] and discontinued by the NCAA after 1960.[12]

See alsoEdit


  1. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named ftnrbvb
  2. Goodwin, Dale (May 13, 1980). "Baseball's 'out' at Idaho". Spokesman-Review ((Spokane, Washington)): p. 19.,6845869&.
  3. "Vandals sack Washington State 13-4". Lewiston Morning Tribune ((Idaho)): p. 1C. May 1, 1980.
  4. "Vandals' Wulff blast downs WSU 13-4". Spokesman-Review ((Spokane, Washington)): p. 26. May 1, 1980.
  5. "Gonzaga, Cougars in stretch drives". Spokane Daily Chronicle ((Washington)): p. 35. May 1, 1980.
  6. "Deadlock". Lewiston Morning Tribune ((Idaho)): p. 1B. April 17, 1980.
  7. "Cougars face Huskies after wild 13-13 tie". Spokane Daily Chronicle ((Washington)): p. 33. April 17, 1980.
  8. "Vandal boxers batter Cougars to take fourth straight victory". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Associated Press ((Idaho)): p. 8. February 12, 1950.
  9. "Vandal boxers swamp Cougars". Spokesman-Review ((Spokane, Washington)): p. 111. February 13, 1950.,5071199.
  10. "Vandals drops ring program". Eugene Register-Guard. Associated Press ((Oregon)): p. 8D. June 9, 1954.,635495.
  11. "Money reasons cause Idaho to drop boxing". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Associated Press ((Idaho)): p. 9. June 9, 1954.
  12. "Boxing breakup began eight years ago". Spokesman-Review. Associated Press ((Spokane, Washington)): p. 16. January 13, 1961.

External linksEdit

[https:Script error46.732_N_-117.16_E_ 46°43′55″N 117°09′36″W / 46.732, -117.16]

Template:Idaho Vandals men's basketball navbox

Template:Washington State Cougars men's basketball navbox

Template:Big Sky Conference football rivalry navbox

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