Idaho State University
For 98 years, the giant iconic concrete “I” on Red Hill in Pocatello emblazoned Idaho State’s larger-than- life pride. Lighting the “I” for Homecoming is a treasured memory for ISU alumni, and while the aging “I” was recently removed due to erosion, the Bengals’ ardor still thrives in the competitive Big Sky Conference. For home football games, students tailgate at the BengalFest, then “Descend on the Dome” by marching from Cadet Field to Holt Arena, the first indoor arena on a U.S. college campus and built entirely with voluntary student funds. During the game, Bristol, a border collie, fetches the football tee, and the ISU Marching Band, the best in the Big Sky, delivers an on-your-feet performance. Rich traditions like these rallied the Bengals football team to clinch the 1981 NCAA Division I-AA National Championship and continue to psych up today’s Bengals, especially in the annual Border War against rival Weber State.
Top Rivals:
Weber State University, University of Montana, Montana State University
Style Facts:
In 1902, the school’s athletes were dubbed the “Bantams,” a not-so-popular name since it misrepresented the athletes’ true size and nature. When Ralph Hutchinson became head football coach in the 1920s, the school adopted the Bengal tiger mascot and orange and black colors from Hutchinson’s alma mater, Princeton. The powerful spirit of this majestic tiger still roars today at Idaho State, in everything from the mascot, Benny the Bengal, to the fight song, “Growl, Bengals, Growl!”