BOISE — Boise State football season-ticket holder Bob Drozda usually hosts a watch party at his Boise home when the Broncos play on the road.
Ill only be here for two games this year, he said.
Thats because Drozda is among many fans who are taking advantage of a quirk in the Broncos 2013 schedule. All six road games will be played within 1,000 miles of Bronco Stadium, and five of those opponents participated in bowls last season.
Boise State sold out its ticket allotment for Saturdays season opener at Washington (3,100 tickets), and October games at Utah State (1,500) and BYU (1,500). Recent history shows many more fans will acquire tickets through other outlets.
Considering this is one of the most difficult road schedules the Broncos have faced, coach Chris Petersen says the support will be extremely important.
We hear the fans, he said. I dont care how big (the crowd). All the way back to Virginia Tech (in 2010 outside Washington, D.C.). Virginia Tech had that awesome turnout there. The fans we had back there, boy, we heard them. It was great.
Thats whats important about being in the Mountain West and our schedule, that (the fans) can go to these games.
Three of the Broncos first four road games this season will be played within 507 miles of Bronco Stadium. Only four of the past 24 road games have been played that close to home.
This also is the first time since 2008 that the Broncos dont play a game at least two time zones away.
The attractive road schedule coincides with a ho-hum home schedule that includes just two bowl teams.
Neil Price of Meridian, in fact, gave up his season tickets for this year to use the money for road trips. He had to cancel his trip to Seattle, but he plans to attend games at Utah State and BYU, and possibly San Diego State.
I think theyre going to be exciting games, Price said.
Fan travel has increased with Bronco Nation since the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. The blue-and-orange faithful have flocked to bowl games and season openers, in particular, since.
This year, there are more accessible and attractive road games than usual in the middle of the season.
Drozda plans to go to the Washington, Fresno State, Utah State and BYU games. It could be November before Boise State plays a game without him in the stands.
Theyre different experiences going to another teams stadium and interacting with those fans, he said. Im one of those that Ive never had a problem (with opposing fans).
Lema and her husband, Dan, will attend the Washington and San Diego State games, and possibly the Fresno State game. They try to hit the season opener every year.
She remembers the concrete grandstands shaking beneath her feet when the Broncos played Virginia Tech at FedExField.
Those are experiences you dont get at Boise State, she said.
Lema, a Boise State graduate, has been one of the better-traveled Broncos fans in recent years. She kept her season tickets while living in Minnesota for four years traveling to Boise about three times per season for home games and attending a couple of games per season on the road.
Ive never been an NFL fan, she said. Ive always been a collegiate fan. I like to watch the kids, as I call them, really playing with heart.
Mike Kirkmire of Meridian plans to attend at least the Washington and BYU games this year. He has been attending road games since 2005 (Oregon State), usually once a year.
Its an opportunity to see Boise State play outside their environment, he said. You can watch them play outside their environment (on TV), but you cant see them play. You cant get that feeling, I guess, of going into hostile territory.
Perhaps for that reason, the relationship between players and fans is different on the road. The players go out of their way to high-five as many fans as they can after the games to thank them for their commitment.
It feels good, senior left tackle Charles Leno Jr. said of the support. We traveled (well) to Michigan State last year. We traveled to Georgia. Thats just the whole nation rallying behind us.
Chadd Cripe: 377-6398,Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat