Many people know that Idaho was a partial member of the PCC for several years. In the 30’s it wasn’t necessarily that Idaho wasn’t able to compete with the big schools, but rather part of the blessing and the curse of having Washington State right next door.
These two universities may be the two most isolated campuses in the continental US. Having both of them in the same big-time football conference strained the coffers of the other conference members. In 1935 the PCC agreed to schedule at least eight conference games. This applied to all members except Idaho and Montana, who were given only four conference games. Washington State, in contrast scheduled 9, including hosting Stanford in Pullman. The move by the conference was bittersweet for Idaho. Although we wouldn’t play nearly guaranteed losses against some of the big schools, we were no longer considered full-fledged members of the conference – ineligible for the conference title. The official word from the conference was that limiting Idaho and Montana to four conference games apiece (including the Montana-Idaho game) would allow the other members to schedule traditional (and higher caliber) out of conference games.
Washington State, in contrast to Idaho and Montana, worked to schedule as many conference games as possible. The Cougs had grown weary of the constant belittling of their weak schedule and felt as though they had something to prove to the many doubters.
The move not only affected Idaho but also forced the death of many other out-of-conference rivalry games. Those contests which would not be continued included Stanford-Santa Clara and UCLA-Saint Mary’s. Northwest rival Gonzaga would appear less frequently on football schedules around the league as well.
Unfortunately Idaho had just hired Ted Bank, former Michigan star, to coach the team. Coach Bank would lead the team to a couple of successful seasons and it would have been nice to see what he could have accomplished playing a full conference schedule.
In another record book error, the Vandals played Nevada at Boise. The Vandals won the game before embarking on a trip to UCLA that would take them on a train ride through New Mexico. Road trips in the old days must have really been something interesting.
Idaho lost the big game with WSU on a fluke play. On a snowy field Idaho fumbled a snap into the end zone that was recovered by the Cougs. The cougs missed the extra point, but won the game 6-0.
The Vandals finished a rough 2-7 in 1935 but coach Bank would lead the Vandals to a winning season in two short years.
An interesting item about 1935 was the wearing of the mythical red Vandal uniforms. Coach Bank had the Vandals is one of the most memorable uniform combinations of all time – gold pants, red uniforms (white numbers), and silver helmets. The away combination was a white jersey with red numbers.
Here is a video of the Idaho-Washington State game