A young team doomed the Vandals to the PCC cellar in 1930. On this rare occasion the Vandals even finished below weak sister Montana. Idaho sent four sophomores and seven juniors to battle and finished with a 4-7 season record. The greenness of the Idaho team was reflected in Idaho being the lightest of any team in the league. Idaho went winless in conference, losing its final conference game against theretofore winless in conference UCLA to claim the cellar championship.
On the bright side, the Vandals did hold Gonzaga scoreless, winning 26-0. The big game with Washington State was predicted to be a close one after Idaho’s manhandling of Gonzaga. In the end, the Cougs easily handled the young Vandals 33-7. The game was subjected to a radio blackout in order to encourage maximum attendance.
The big news in the league this season was that Washington State went undefeated in conference play and represented the league in the Rose Bowl. WSC’s success proved that winning is possible on the Palouse. It had been a good few years for Inland Empire football, with WSC’s success following on the heels of Idaho’s shared PCC championship of 1927.
Much has been made of Idaho’s historic weakness in the league, and this year it was as apparent as ever, including a loss to Montana. However, take this statistic into consideration. Montana’s victory of Idaho in 1930 marked only the second conference win for Montana since joining the league in 1924. Montana was so weak there was even talk of eliminating them from the league. They had already been dropped from the basketball standings a year earlier. Idaho and Washington State were publicly in favor of keeping the Griz in the league. The Oregon schools were against the Griz.
Thus far I have discovered virtually nothing to explain why Idaho was in Hawaii playing the Saint Louis All Stars and the University of Hawaii. It appears that the game was scheduled early in the season and, despite the games being played on Christmas and New Years Day, were not special events. Idaho beat the St. Louis All Stars but lost to the Hawaii squad. A big crowd was expected for the UI-UH game. It seems strange that Idaho would schedule a game so far away after the season had ended. It could not have been an inexpensive trip in 1930. The Argonaut reports that the Vandals arrived just 3 days before the game after a long sea voyage. Of note also is that Idaho wore traditional red jerseys in 1930 as reported by the Arg. It appears this game was kind of a predecessor to the Hawaii Bowl. It was a bit of an annual tradition for Hawaii to invite a team from the Pacific Coast Conference to the islands after the season. Idaho was excited to go, and it would be the furthest trip ever undertaken by a Vandal squad.