Idaho vs. Cal Reunion Comes At Right Time For the Pac-12

Former Pacific Coast Conference foes Idaho and Cal's first matchup in 90 years seems like a fitting farewell for the PAC-12

Idaho and Cal resided in the Pacific Coast Conference together from 1915-1959

Many college football fans have long forgotten about Idaho's contribution to the PAC-12's story. From 1922-1959, the Vandals were an outpost in the Pacific Northwest for the Pacific Coast Conference, the predecessor to the PAC-8 and later PAC-10/12.

The Vandals' football tenure was unsuccessful, as the Vandals did not tally a single conference title, much less a Rose Bowl bid. Their subsequent odyssey to the Big Sky, Sun Belt, WAC, independence, back to the Sun Belt, and ultimately back to the Big Sky leaves little evidence of their once proud existence in the Pacific Coast Conference.

The only reminders we have of the Vandals time in the Pacific Coast Conference are games like Saturday's game against California. Since leaving the Pacific Coast Conference in 1959, the Vandals have won only five games against their former conference mates (California, Stanford, Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA, USC, Washington, and Washington State).

Despite residing in the same conference for 38 seasons, California and Idaho played only four times, with no meetings occurring after 1934. The 1934 meeting is the last meeting in the series. The Vandals' previous four conquests returned no loot or victories in four previous meetings from 1931 to 1934.

This year may be the Vandals' best chance to beat California ever, as the Vandals are a top-ten team in the FCS and just blew out Nevada last week 33-6. California has just one win against a struggling North Texas team and scored only 10 points against Auburn last weekend. With a win, Idaho can finally feel like a PAC-12 team again.

While it seems like mythology that Idaho and California resided in the same conference at one point, it shows the true heart of college athletics, regionalization. Whether they liked it or not, schools like California and USC joined with schools like Montana and Idaho for survival. Now, the fear of falling behind in the pursuit of money brings schools together.

No one knows when the next time we will see Idaho play California after this season. After all, it took us nearly nine decades and a World War to get these two to meet again. However, this look into the conference's roots is fitting as the over-century-old institution will likely meet its end after this year. When the Vandals and Golden Bears meet this Saturday, forget the ever-changing landscape of college football and be transported back to a simpler, purer time in college football.