It seems that by retaining their status as "the underdog team to beat," the Broncos are stacking their schedule with big and entertaining road games. In coming years it looks like fans will get to travel to Reno, Las Vegas, Hawaii, and San Diego on alternating years. Family vacations will most certainly be planned around the Boise State away games as a whole new crop of exciting destinations are being scheduled. The thrill of Disney Land coupled with a trouncing of the Aztecs. The flash and awe of Vegas to pair with the drubbing of UNLV.
But it seems like the face of college football is adding some more excitement. More and more over the last couple of years we are seeing big games at the beginning of the season. These perhaps season-defining games mirror the excitement and flare of the season-finale games in many ways. First is the name. Grab a big-name sponsor, say, Chick-Fil-A. Throw in a full summer of hype and anticipation. Change the word "Bowl" to "kickoff weekend", and you have yourself a labor-day "Bowl" game with yet another exciting venue in which to travel. 2010 took Bronco Nation to D.C. It seems that 2011 is going to have us sucking up tickets to Atlanta, home of Coca Cola and another season-opening season-defining Bronco victory!
These games also come with benefits. Sure it's not the $10 million-or-so payout to split with the WAC or MWC, but it is a sizable cash "donation" to BSU that we don't have to share. There's also the early boost in the polls that can give our Mickey-mouse program a kick-start on the season. Hopefully these future "bowl" games will be against opponents that have some common sense when it comes to the timeliness of their next game. Don't follow in VT's footsteps next fall, Georgia. Realize that your conference status means nothing when it comes to the passion and physical play the Blue will bring to you. Give yourself the standard 6-7 day resting period before you face your next opponent, because you are going to need it. You must have enough time to remove this crushing blow to your program from your minds so you don't let your OOC FCS schedule get the better of you.
I'm sure that there will be some repercussions that come with this as well. Imagine if you will that Boise loses (it is going to happen someday, people, get ready for it). With that 1 in the loss column, how is Bronco Nation going to react. For a fan base that is fickle enough to stay home for a game just because it is raining, I would expect there to be a massive "falling out" when they realize BSU's season isn't going to end with a BCS game. This will leave our stadium looking bleak and cold, and would drastically reduce ticket sales and game attendance. This only means that we as fans need to ensure that our fellow fans, as fair-weather as they may be, start developing Bronco Pride no matter the circumstance.
So, if these season opening bowl games continue on, and Bronco Nation keeps the chip on our shoulder, we may be rewarded with yet another "family vacation" option on kickoff weekend.