Although they were a founding member of the  conference that had been established one year prior, the Vandals didn’t play a single Big Sky school in 1964.  Idaho played a ten-game schedule that was comprised solely of major college teams.

Playing a Big Sky schedule wouldn’t have mattered anyway.  Idaho didn’t qualify for the Big Sky championship.  The Vandals awarded 75 football scholarships compared to the league maximum 60.  It appeared the Vandals and Big Sky had a rocky marriage from the start.  The conference agreed to increase scholarships for other sports, but refused the increase for football.  The Idaho boosters and even the Moscow chamber of commerce supported Idaho’s desire for increased scholarships.

The grid schedule contained the usual Vandal opponents – San Jose State, Pacific, and Utah State.  But, the 1964 schedule also included the Hawkeyes out of the Big Ten and Idaho was looking for an upset.  Idaho put up a valiant effort but ultimately fell by 10 points to the heavily favored Iowa squad.

In 1964 the usual suspects dominated the attendance figures.  Five of Iowa’s BigTen mates populated the top ten.  Idaho played 3 home games – two in Moscow and one in Boise against Utah State.  In 1964 the average attendance for home games was over 14,000.  Over 40 years later our current stadium holds just over that number.

In the old days the Vandal spring game pitted the “Blacks” (first and second units) against the “Whites”.  Nowadays we are used to seeing the “Silver” against the “Gold”.

The end of the season saw the departure of athletic director and former head football coach Skip Stahley.  Stahley, who had seen the Vandals help form the Big Sky, left to be the athletic director at Portland State.

Meanwhile, the conference that had re-formed without Idaho, the AAWU, still suffered from some of the same problems of north versus south. After very successful seasons for both USC and Oregon State it was the Beavers who were chosen to represent the league in the Rose Bowl. USC was furious and their supporters demanded that USC withdraw from the young league and go independent.

Idaho's victorious Vandals after beating the Cougars.

Idaho’s victorious Vandals after beating the Cougars.

32  1964 Battle of Palouse Vandals win

Here’s some video of the Idaho-Washington State game

And Idaho’s 14-7 loss at Arizona.


About gomightyvandals

A sports fan interested in the history of Vandal Athletics
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