The University of Idaho and Idaho State find themselves on converging, paradoxical paths.

    The day after both schools suffered humiliating losses to conference foes, something that has happened all too often in both Moscow and Pocatello, the head coach of the Vandals Robb Akey was fired and replaced by offensive coordinator Jason Gesser.

    With a record of 20-50 over five-plus seasons at the helm of Idaho’s team (eight wins coming in the 2009 season), it’s no surprise that athletic director Rob Spear made the decision to dismiss Akey.

    The Bengals, meanwhile, face yet another losing season of their own as well as potential lawsuits and criminal charges against their head coach Mike Kramer. He isn’t on the hot seat for his 1-6 record during his second season in Pocatello, but rather for a hotly-debated shoving incident involving a player.

    All of this is taking place while Idaho and ISU’s current conference, the Big Sky, are on a collision course of their own.

    The Vandals have decided to try independence with their football program while the rest of their sports return to the Big Sky, a league the school called home for all its athletics from 1963 to 1996.

    As I have mentioned before, I believe it’s only a matter of time before the Vandals make their way to the Big Sky as full members. That includes the football team. I understand it’s a matter of pride for Idaho to valiantly attempt to remain an FBS team, but it’s just not working.

    Idaho simply does not have the resources or location to attract the necessary recruits and compete at that level.

    ISU on the other hand, is situated in a decent location to house and FCS team, but the school can’t get out of its own way. It seems like there is always something happening that sets Idaho State back, be it an NCAA investigation, poor coaching hires or someone shoving a wide receiver.

    When it rains it pours.

    Idaho State is to the FCS what Idaho is to the FBS.

    They’re a couple of hot messes.

    Neither team can compete while in their current situations. Something has to change.

    The Bengals and the Vandals need each other.

    ISU is all alone on an island in Pocatello. If/when Idaho fully invests in the Big Sky and joins as a full-fledged member, both universities can lift one another up and calm the raging sea of fan unrest and fielding poor teams.

    The natural rivalry that exists between Idaho and Idaho State would fire up their jaded fan bases. While the competition on the field would be as exciting as a rivalry should be, both teams would finally have something tangible to play for as well.

    Isn’t it interesting that in a sport trying to be progressive and advance into the future, the Vandals and the Bengals need to go backward in order to catch up?

    For 33 years ISU and Idaho were conference mates. Between the two schools, 11 conference titles were won during that time. Since then, the Bengals have the lone conference title as they won the Big Sky in 2002.

    The Bengals and the Vandals need each other.

    President Vailasand Jeff Tingey, President Nellis and Rob Spear, let’s make it happen.