Before making the decision to take the Broncos football program to the Big East, Boise State President Bob Kustra heard from many fans in Bronco Nation. Among their biggest worries was how a move to an Eastern-based league would affect their ability to travel to games.
I know there will be fans out there that will be worried about travel because Boise State playing in a regional situation has clearly been able to take its fans on the road, Kustra said this week. Were known as a great traveling program. That changes a little bit when you start taking a team on the road. Its just what you do when you want to spread the brand.
Boise State sold 4,000 tickets to this seasons UNLV game in Las Vegas and 2,000 tickets to the San Diego State game through its ticket office. The Broncos brought far more fans to those games.
Fans also have traveled well to season openers against Virginia Tech in Landover, Md., and Georgia in Atlanta the past two seasons. But, by joining the Big East, the Broncos are assured of multiple trips east each season, even with a Western division that includes San Diego State, Houston and SMU.
There are plenty of great football programs out there that simply do not count on the same number of fans at away games. Weve gotten pretty spoiled here at Boise State. We can turn UNLV into a home game for Boise State, as I think we did the last time we played against them, Kustra said. While thats great, that has to be measured up against the advantages that accrue to taking a program into Central Florida.
Central Florida in Orlando will join the Big East at the same time as Boise State, in time for the 2013 football season. South Florida in Tampa is also in the league, along with remaining Big East members Connecticut, Cincinnati, Louisville and Rutgers.
At a time when both Kustra and incoming Athletic Director Mark Coyle have talked about establishing a national identity and brand for Boise State, the ability to expand the Broncos conference footprint is seen as a positive by university officials.
Id like to think that by making this move, even though we might not have all the fans at Orlando that we had in Vegas, were going to open up a whole new window to this university and to its football program so whether its to the recruiting side in athletics or the recruiting side in academics, its a big plus, Kustra said.
Fans still will have opportunities to see the Broncos closer to home. Boise State has road games scheduled against Washington, Washington State and Oregon State in the next six years. Boise State has signed a 12-year home-and-home series with BYU, and the addition of San Diego State means a trip to Southern California every other year.
Interim Athletic Director Curt Apsey said the Broncos are open to scheduling games against Mountain West members. Boise State agreed to work on scheduling football games with Western Athletic Conference members as part of its agreement to move its non-football programs to the WAC.
We enjoy a lot of the so-called rivalries that weve created over the last 10 or 15 years. I could see us going back and still participating in contests against schools in the Mountain West or going down into California, Apsey said. I think that will be even more opportunity for us now that were not in those conferences. Well continue to look at scheduling in the West for all sports.
Brian Murphy: 377-6444