The million dollar question to ask incoming freshman on why they chose to attend a certain college has varied answers, but run along the lines of the following: cost, specific academic aspirations, location, scholarships and likability of campus. At Boise State, those answers come up in conversation, but three-quarters of the time it’s to experience and be a part of a successful college football team atmosphere.
Boise State does a stand-up job advertising their BCS-breaking college football team, bringing football Head Coach Chris Petersen into their national television advertisements, touting a unique blue field as fervently as A-list celebrities show off their newest clothing lines, and using Bronco Nation as a collaborative effort between fans and players — an unofficial second family, if you will.
A one-of-a-kind aspect of being a student at a non-AQ but accomplished football school is the ability to get tickets for free; with the side effects of getting up at 7 a.m. to partake in a first-come first-serve basis, where tickets rarely sellout until later that afternoon. Rather than pay x amount of dollars that would leave the average poor student with empty pockets, we get to witness first-hand exceptional football games for absolutely no cost. A bargain would be a vast understatement.
With only a few minutes ’til kickoff, the energy from the sea of blue-and-orange donned supporters is wild, leaving it near impossible to hear your own voice from all the yelling and cheers. The ominous and mystifying grey smoke paving the entrance for the spirit hammer and the rest of the near hundred filled roster of Boise State is a site to see, and the first two quarters have fans aching from standing on their feet and screaming at the top of their lungs — a pain that has never felt so good.
But what happens after halftime? A depleted fan section that looks like a natural disaster came through. Half the student body disappears because “we have it in the bag” and now there is more beer to drink and tailgates to attend, rather than finish out what they’ve started. A virtual slap in the face to the 11 men in blue on the field who are giving it all to bring success to the school, that both player and student belong to.
Of course, there are the likely reasons that the score is already at an unreachable point for opponents to match and some of the excitement has been lost, but anything can happen within the blink of an eye. A game like Nevada (which granted, was away) can happen at any point and I don’t think I need to rehash on previous tragedies.
Take a big name school such as Louisiana State, where students have to pay $60 to see five games or one of two “big games” and a regular season game to watch their No.1 ranked Tigers play. There’s a catch too: freshman are entered into a lottery to purchase the tickets, so the opportunity is not a guarantee. At University of Michigan, students have to buy season tickets a year in advance before kickoff at an astounding price of $250 and then sell the tickets they can’t attend. Unfathomable.
This piece isn’t to state the university needs to institute a payment system, but for the student body of Boise State to not take the optimal ticket policy for granted. We are part of a growing university and our football program is growing rapidly. However, with No. 11 and the rest of our impressive senior class graduating next year, just think before you take that walk to the exit come third quarter.