Silent protest? Apathy? Or both?
BC returned 1,100 tickets to the MPC Bowl. No official word, but the assumption is the school sold 900 tickets for the game and it appears fell 600 tickets short of their projected mark. Being off by 600 tickets when you sell 20,000 is no big deal. However, when it means you fell short of your goal by 40%, it is a big mistake. So what happened? The ticket office has been selling tickets to bowl games for seven years now…surely they have pretty good estimates at this point. My guess? (And this is pure speculation) They fell way short in their “donation drive.” I am sure they had a pretty good showing for the donations last year and thought people would support the school this year at a similar rate. Maybe at an even slightly higher rate since BC had to assume that fewer fans would travel to Boise.
If the donation drive was the reason behind the shortfall, what does that say and what can be done?
It says: “I want nothing to do with this bowl.” My personal feelings may skew my take, but I really think BC fans were disappointed in this process. Regardless of which TOB camp you are in, donating tickets to this game would be endorsing its existence and BC’s participation in it. Every other bowl that BC has been in under TOB could be rationalized by a fan in one way or another. This one really can’t. Having an 8 win, east coast team in Boise on Dec. 28th at 4:30 EST is pointless. If this is the best BC and the ACC can do, then things clearly need to be reworked. So my interpretation is that most BC fans don’t care about this game and the diehards were too angry to bail the Athletic department out.
What can be done: I would love to interpret this apathy and/or anger as mandate to start a playoff. It is not. It is a low point for the BC fan culture. You can chicken or egg our travel rep all day long, but the problem with the BC fan culture is that the team and game is not first with the majority of our fans. The BC football experience is about the party and the big teams. We are not the only school that faces this challenge. But if we are going to change the culture to a passionate, fired up, any time any place crowd, it needs to start with the Athletic Department. They are doing small things like getting people into games early and supporting the super fans. Next step -- encourage passion in the stands. The “down in front” crowd kills the atmosphere on gamedays. Passion should be nurtured. Maybe this offseason send out a survey that asks people about their game experience and if they would like to move to a different section. If the crazies are all together, the passion will spread. Another suggestion: Aggressively market travel packages. A recorded message is fine, but I bet personal calls from Gene D. would go a lot further. Someone has to figuratively knock on every door and plead with the fans. There are plenty of people that love BC football who don’t receive anything back. A little outreach would go a long way. Final suggestion -- subsidize bowl travel for fans willing to go. Rutgers is doing it. It may be the only way to shake our reputation. Not that we should pay people to go to Orlando, but a place like Boise? Damn right BC should help anyone willing to travel across country and root for the team.
These were just a few half baked thoughts. Style of play and scheduling would obviously have a greater impact than my ideas (but I don't see either of those things changing). There are many potential solutions. The point is clear -- BC needs to do something different next year to put Boise behind us.