Idaho had been terrible as of late in PCC competition. 1953 was no different. Idaho lost every PCC game and won only one game the entire season. Even in the darkest days of Vandal football the boys from Idaho were good enough to whip Montana 20-12.
Idaho’s role in the PCC got reduced in 1953. Idaho had voluntarily withdrawn from competition against the much bigger California schools. Neale Stadium was too small (!) and the California schools had much larger budgets. The good news for Idaho was that it would still receive an annual share of the Rose Bowl gate receipts even though it didn’t play a full conference schedule. Idaho’s share was smaller than the other 8 members of the conference, but it still received a share nonetheless.
The miserable season cost head coach Babe Curfman his job. It also resulted in particularly scathing commentary in the local papers.
Idaho again lost to rival Washington State in Pullman. However, in a unique addition to the historic rivalry several WSC students came to Moscow and burned a large ‘W’ into the turf at Neale Stadium the week before the game.
In Salt Lake City, the Vandals played before a crowd of 17,000 en route to a 21-0 loss at the hands of the Utes. The Deseret News was less than flattering to the Vandals, describing the Idaho style of play as something you would see at a fraternity scrimmage.
Here’s a video of Idaho taking on WSU in 1953.
And against Oregon State