Before the Stueckle Sky Center was added to Bronco, er, Albertson’s Stadium in 2008 during the first phase of the recent expansion efforts of the past decade, Boise State had a listed stadium capacity of 30,000 and had obviously never broken the 35,000-barrier for attendance.
Since the beginning of the 2012 season they’ve broken that threshold 13 times according to BroncoSports.com after adding several thousand seats to one of the most iconic gathering places in the sporting-universe.
Because of other factors related to the program’s meteoric-rise since the turn of the millennium, this now pseudo-modern looking football stadium will play host to several marquee opponents on The Blue over the next eight seasons. Because of shrewd business acumen on the part of Curt Apsey and the Boise State Athletic Department (negotiating an outstanding television deal with ESPN and the Mountain West Conference and consistently-stating they will play any Power 5 opponent in the nation if, and only if, they are offered a home-and-home-deal) and the College Football Playoff Selection Committee’s emphasis on out-of-conference strength of schedule for Power 5 and Group of 5 teams alike, Boise State has negotiated home games in the coming years with well-known entities in the college football landscape, namely BYU and opponents from the ACC, Big 12, B1G & Pac 12 conferences.
Another genius marketing move by the Boise State athletic department came during the 2015 offseason when they decided to parlay a home game with former iconic Head Coach Chris Petersen and their Pacific Northwest neighbor, the Washington Huskies into securing additional ticket sales for their remaining five home games that season. In what was billed as “the biggest home game in Albertson’s Stadium history,” the school only opened up sales of non-season/student tickets to season ticket holders. This meant that if you wanted to attend the game that everybody in Boise and their mother wanted to attend, and you weren’t a Boise State student, your only sure-bet of securing a seat for the matchup was to purchase season tickets.
Boise State may be able to, and likely will, employ this strategy again for the 2017, 2018, 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023 football seasons (and maybe even the 2019 season as well if things with Air Force, Wyoming and New Mexico stay heated in the Mountain Division).
This fall the Broncos will play host the Virginia Cavaliers of the ACC in a game that was surely thought to be the biggest game of this schedule for Boise State when it was agreed to. But it may not be. During the opening month of the 2015 season Bryan Harsin and his Blue Man Group put a 56-14 thrashing on the Cavaliers on national television. Former BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall will be gunning for just the second bowl appearance for the program in the last decade after a 2-10 campaign to begin his tenure in Charlottesville. The Mendenhall-dynamic could drive season ticket sales for this year up just a tick if Boise State implements the aforementioned sales strategy.
But they’ll also open up conference play with a home-clash against the New Mexico Lobos who won the most recent matchup between the schools on the blue turf two seasons ago and run a triple option offensive scheme that has given the Broncos fits over the past several seasons.
A few weeks later Boise State will host the Wyoming Cowboys a year after the boys from Laramie ended the 13th-ranked Broncos perfect season (and severely-damaged the their hopes of a Cotton Bowl berth) and put Bryan Harsin’s squad behind the eight-ball in a Mountain Division race in which they would receive a golden-opportunity to regain control of but would eventually squander on the final weekend of the regular season.
In the month of November the Broncos will get to host a rival in the Nevada Wolfpack and a budding rival in the Air Force Falcons.
The Pack famously ended Boise State’s bid for a Rose Bowl berth during the 2010 season (and outside chance at a berth in the National Championship Game) after the Broncos blew a 24-7 lead with just over 16 minutes remaining in the contest and missed (or maybe didn’t really) a potential game-winning field goal as time expired in regulation and another in overtime (or maybe didn’t really) that ultimately cost them the outright-Western Athletic Conference Championship.
The Falcons have had Harsin’s number over the past three seasons and haven’t lost to the Broncos since September 13th, 2013. If Boise State can pull out a victory in their matchup this fall it will be the teams first win over Colorado’s service academy in over four calendar years.
Boise State should have five “intriguing” home football games for fans this upcoming season.
For the 2018 season the Broncos will get to play host to a UConn team that isn’t exactly a powerhouse in football but was formerly classified as a “BCS” (Big 6, now Power 5) school before realignment ran roughshod over the college football-landscape. But the biggest game of this season will be a date with the BYU Cougars, who by any conventional definition of the sports-term are a rival to Boise State.
— Robert J Pfeifer (@RobertJPfeifer) October 18, 2016
While Boise State has been offered a decent draw in their out of conference schedule for the 2018 campaign, the Mountain West slate will (presumably) offer up an outstanding draw for the remainder of the home schedule with three conference home games offering some intrigue to fans. Utah State has been ranked in the top-25 in recent years and when the Mountain Division was created was thought to be the biggest threat to Bronco-supremecy. Ranked 22nd in the final BCS standings as recently as 2012, the Aggies were just an FCS school (Formerly Division 1-AA) at the turn of the millennium. In 2015, while Boise State was hoping for a second-straight berth in a New Years Six bowl game, the boys from Logan dismantled the Broncos 52-26 on national television and put them behind the eight-ball in the Mountain Division race (a race again in which Boise State would have a golden-opportunity to regain control of but would eventually squander later in the season with back-to-back November losses to triple-option teams New Mexico and Air Force).
While the Mountain West hasn’t announced cross-division match-ups for future years, based on the fact the Boise State will visit Fresno State and San Diego State this upcoming season it is safe to presume that the Broncos will play host to both the Bulldogs and Aztecs two years from now.
Before the Mountain West split Fresno State and Boise State up into different divisions this annual rivalry-game was quite exciting for fans. Even in the lone season where Boise State was alone in the Mountain West Conference in 2011 the schools signed an out-of-conference deal to have the programs meet in Fresno during the first week of October. While it hasn’t exactly been the most-competitive of rivalries (the Broncos have won 13 of 15 match-ups since the turn of the millennium by an average score of 40-20) “The Battle for the Milk Can” is certainly a game that fans and players on both sides care a lot about.
San Diego State has been vying for Mountain West supremacy with Boise State over the past couple of seasons and the (some-what surprisingly) two-time defending Mountian West Conference champions have won two of the past three matches in this series.
In 2019 recent New Years Six Bowl contender Marshall will visit The Blue in the biggest non conference home game of the year and one would think this may make it difficult for Boise State to sell tickets. But with New Mexico winning their most recent game in Boise in 2015, Wyoming ending Boise State’s prefect season and run at a New Years Six bowl last fall, and Air Force currently holding a three-game winning-streak over Boise State, the docket of match-ups in the Treasure Valley two years from now at least has the potential to be intriguing.
The Broncos should have no trouble whatsoever selling season tickets for the 2020 campaign with National Powerhouse-Florida State making the six-and-a-half hour cross country-flight to the Treasure Valley.
The ‘Noles have won a national championship as recently as 2013 and made a College Football Playoff Appearance in it’s inaugural rendition during the 2014 season.
Boise State will again get to host BYU and Utah State this year, giving the Broncos three “intriguing” home football games to drive tickets sales.
The following year the Broncos should draw Nevada, Air Force, Wyoming, and New Mexico for Mountain West play, giving Bryan Harsin’s bunch four opportunities in conference to draw a sell-out crowd. But season tickets for the 2021 season should be driven by a match up with Big 12-power Oklahoma State. The Cowboys won the Big 12 conference in 2011 and defeated Andrew Luck and the Stanford Cardinal in the 2012 Fiesta Bowl to cap of a season in which a large amount of pundits and college football fans felt the Cowboys should have been National Championship game participants (they had the same amount of losses and a much harder strength of schedule than eventual National Champion Alabama who had already lost during the regular season to the LSU Tigers-squad they would face off against in the National Championship Game and also failed to win their own division in the SEC).
The 2022 season will see the Michigan State Spartans visit The Blue in a rematch of 17-13 Bronco-loss in East Lancing, Michigan in 2012. The Spartans are somewhat of a National Powerhouse, winning three B1G titles in the past seven seasons and claiming six National Titles prior to the 1970’s. Sparty won the Rose and Cotton Bowls during the 2013 and 2014 seasons even if they were one of the worst Power 5 teams in all of college football this past year, only finishing at 3-9. Michigan State playing in Boise should largely drive season ticket-sales for this season but four other games should also create a high-demand for business on The Blue as BYU, San Diego State, Fresno State and Utah State will all likely travel to the 208 for a football contest against the winningest college football program in the nation since the turn of the millennium.
The 2023 season on The Blue will draw the Oregon State Beavers to Boise and an opportunity for the Broncos to claim regional-braging rights over a Pac 12-foe and sell season tickets. Boise State has won the last three regular season match-ups in this series by an average score of 39-21. The only regular season loss the Broncos have suffered to the Beavers in the past decade came in 2005 when they fell 30-27 in Corvallis in controversial fashion when a late Beaver-fumble was ruled to not actually be a fumble. Boise State earned their first win over a Pac10/12 opponent in 2004 when they dismantled the Beavers 53-34 on national television. The Broncos will also get to play host to New Mexico, Wyoming and Air Force during the 2023 campaign, possibly giving them four intriguing opportunities to drive ticket sales.
As of right now the Broncos only have one remaining future non-conference home game scheduled and it will come the following season in 2024 when the Cincinnati Bearcats head west to The Blue. The Bearcats ran roughshod over the now-defunct Big East Conference from 2008-2012, winning four conference championships in five years and also won an American Athletic Conference title in 2014. Cincinnati made appearances in the 2009 Orange and 2010 Sugar Bowls and even made a run at the 2009 National Championship Game under current Notre Dame Head Football Coach Brian Kelly but fell short due the perceived-strength of their conference.
The remaining intriguing home contest that season will come with the Utah State Aggies visit to Boise in Mountain West Conference play.
Boise State should have plenty of opportunities to break that 35,000-fan threshold over the next eight seasons.