Rivalries are fleeting for the vagabond Boise State football program.
The Broncos might have gained a new one for the short term Sunday.
The Mountain West co-champion Broncos, who finished No. 19 in the Bowl Championship Series Standings, will face Washington of the Pac-12 on Dec. 22 in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas (1:30 p.m. MST, ESPN).
The teams are scheduled to meet again Aug. 31, in the 2013 season opener in Seattle, and in 2015 in Boise. Thats a flurry of games for teams that have played just once before a Huskies win in 2007 in Seattle.
Another wrinkle: Washington defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox was Boise States coordinator from 2006-09, coaching some of the Boise State seniors who will be playing their final college game.
I think it can become one of those classic rivalries that get set up, Washington coach Steve Sarkisian said in comments posted on the schools website. Everybody loves a good rematch, you know? Somebodys going to win and somebodys going to lose this first one. Then we are going to come back nine months later to see who can win the second one.
The idea of previewing the 2013 opener seemed like a potential roadblock to the matchup several weeks ago. Boise State expressed initial concerns and coach Chris Petersen said last week it wasnt ideal, but in the end neither school balked.
It really wasnt much of an issue, said Dan Hanneke, the MAACO Bowl executive director. Theyre both excited to play each other.
The big winner could be the MAACO Bowl, which was able to draw two national brand-name football programs to its game. Boise State will play in the game for the third straight year, having brought strong fan support to the game in the past. Washington will play in Nevada for the first time in school history one reason the bowl chose the Huskies (7-5 overall, 5-4 Pac-12) over the New Mexico Bowl-bound Arizona Wildcats (7-5, 4-5).
Thats fantastic, Hanneke said of the matchup. We think its going to get great TV ratings. Washington, theyre a marquee brand in college football.
The MAACO Bowl chose Boise State (10-2, 7-1 MW) over fellow Mountain West co-champion Fresno State (9-3, 7-1), which will play SMU in the Hawaii Bowl. The Broncos national ranking, TV power and fan support and this being the last year that they will be available to the MAACO Bowl contributed to the decision.
The only other option for the Broncos was a long-shot bid to the Bowl Championship Series, but as well as the out-of-town scoreboard fell for the Broncos, they never were able to overcome dreadful computer numbers.
The Broncos needed to finish in the top 16 of the BCS Standings, ahead of a BCS conference champion (Louisville of the Big East was No. 21 and Wisconsin of the Big Ten was unranked) and be the highest-ranked champion of a non-BCS conference to earn an automatic bid.
The Broncos finished 15th in the USA Today Coaches Poll and Harris poll one spot ahead of Mid-American Conference champion Northern Illinois in both. But Northern Illinois (12-1) was 19th in the computer rankings, which allowed it to land at No. 15 in the BCS standings. The Huskies will play Florida State in the Orange Bowl.
Northern Illinois posted a final BCS score of .3276 based on the two polls and six computer rankings. Boise State was far back at .2513.
That made the Broncos available to the MAACO Bowl, which has the first choice from the Mountain West and provided the best opponent of the leagues five bowl partners. Washington won four straight games late in the season to crack the BCS Top 25 and has wins over No. 6 Stanford and No. 13 Oregon State.
We are excited to return to the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas and face the University of Washington, Petersen said in a statement released by the school. Coach Sarkisian and his staff do an excellent job in preparing their team and we look forward to the challenge of playing a Pac-12 opponent for the second straight year.
Boise State will play in a bowl for the 11th straight season and is 8-4 in bowls as a Football Bowl Subdivision member. The Broncos have beaten TCU (Fiesta, 2009), Utah (MAACO, 2010) and Arizona State (MAACO, 2011) in the past three postseasons.
Boise State is a tremendous opponent, one thats been good for many, many years, Sarkisian said. Were excited about the opportunity to prepare for them and play against them.
Chadd Cripe: 377-6398, Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat