On December 21, 2019, Boise State capped a 12-1 season with an appearance in the Las Vegas Bowl against Washington, fittingly coached by Chris Peterson. 34,197 fans filled 36,800-seat Sam Boyd Stadium as the Broncos lost to the Huskies 38-7. Just like the 2019 Broncos, the 2022 team had a spot in the Mountain West Championship game, but their bowl atmosphere could not have been more different.
Only 12,211 fans filled 20,000-seat Toyota Stadium for the Frisco Bowl in a marquee matchup between conference championship game participants in North Texas and Boise State. This begs the question of whether Boise State is losing its brand power in the Group of Five.
I am not pinning the blame solely on Boise State's diminishing brand power. North Texas spent a second bowl season in a row in Frisco, so Mean Green fans may have been weary. However, 9-4 Boise State is even more of a marquee opponent than the 6-6 Miami (Ohio) team North Texas faced in Frisco last season, so fans should have had reason to come out for the short repeat trip.
It is possible that a win against Boise State is not viewed as the program-defining win it once was, leaving North Texas fans more inclined to stay home. This also could have kept local, neutral fans at home, as Boise State may no longer be the national draw they once were.
Lastly, one has to wonder whether Boise State fans were apathetic to playing in a bowl against a 7-6 team. It had been four years since Boise State played in the DFW area, with the last time being the infamous no-contest against Boston College in the First Responder Bowl. One would think Bronco fans would want to actually experience their team playing a complete game in the DFW area, but the attendance numbers prove otherwise. Bowl attendance numbers like this point towards a "New Year's Six or nothing" mindset for the fanbase.
Bowl season overreactions are a dime-a-dozen, with most of the outcry coming from the performance on the field. Hopefully, my bowl attendance panic is just that, and the meager Frisco Bowl attendance is no indication of Boise State's status as a program.