Scottsdale, AZ As Boise State’s first appearance in a BCS game closes rapidly, the Broncos are also enjoying what many describe as the best player and fan bowl experience from a hospitality standpoint.


“Every where you turn, the yellow jackets are out,” said sophomore linebacker David Shields, referring to the yellow blazers that Tostitos Field representatives and volunteers where.


“The events, the hospitality, basically whatever we need, it’s there for us,” added senior linebacker Korey Hall.  “No question, it’s everything and more from what we heard about and expected.”


Boise State’s week in the Valley of the Sun started with a Fiesta Bowl welcome at the team hotel upon arrival on Tuesday.  The welcome included more than 50 bowl officials, volunteers and well wishers downing Bronco hats, pins and welcome signs.


Following the team’s Wednesday practice in Scottsdale, Bronco players and coaches had a chance to meet, greet and sign autographs with 35 or so kids from the Phoenix area Boys and Girls Clubs.  Head coach Chris Petersen spoke of the student in student-athlete and striving to do things the right way, whether it be in school, sports or other activities.


Petersen and the Bronco coaching staff enjoyed a first class welcome dinner at the Arizona Biltmore on Wednesday evening, mixing with the Oklahoma coaching staff and administrators.  Petersen spoke of the first rate hospitality at the event, as did Sooner head coach Bob Stoopes.


“This is an awesome experience for our team, no question about it,” said Petersen.  “You work and work to get to a point where you can be in a first class game like this.  And, there’s no other way to describe this game other than first class.”


The media crunch hit the Broncos with their first two practices open to the media for 15 minutes.  Defensive players hit the interview room on Thursday morning, with Korey Hall, Gerald Alexander, Andrew Browning and Colt Brooks entertaining the media along with defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox.


Friday it was the offense’s turn to make the media swing with Legedu Naanee, Jared Zabransky, Ian Johnson, Jadon Dailey and offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin spending an hour with media members.


Free time has been available for the team most evenings with the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl providing a first-class hospitality room with video games, pool tables, all the Tostitos chips and dip the players can eat as well as catered food from some of the finest restaurants in the Scottsdale area.


Boise State’s game preparations hit high gear on Friday with practice at Scottsdale Community College.  Players get to be fans on Friday evening, with more than 70 members of the team heading to the Insight Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, where Texas Tech meets Minnesota.  It’s the first of three major bowl games hosted by the Phoenix metro area, with the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl and Tostitos BCS Championship game being the other two.


Media day is Saturday and the entire Bronco team will get its first chance to see the University of Phoenix Stadium, the home of the Arizona Cardinals and the site of the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl as well as the National Championship Game between Ohio State and Florida.  Saturday’s media day also marks the last interview opportunities prior to Monday’s Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.


Boise State’s remaining practice schedule includes a Saturday afternoon workout at Scottsdale Community College, and the typical day before game walkthrough at the University of Phoenix Stadium on Sunday.


“This is an incredible opportunity for our entire program,” said sophomore All-American tailback Ian Johnson.  “We know what’s at stake in this game.  It’s something we’ve worked hard to put ourselves in position for, and to a person on this team, we fully expected to be here.” 


While players and coaches will spend the weekend totally focused on game preparations, most of the expected 20,000 Bronco fans began arriving for the game on Friday night and Saturday morning.  Boise State sold out its allotment of 17,500 game tickets, and travel agencies in the Boise area have been working overtime arranging flights and trip plans for the strong contingent of blue and orange faithful.


Awaiting the fans will be a series of major events rolled out by the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.  On Saturday morning, an estimated 400,000 people will line the streets of downtown Phoenix for the 36th annual Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Parade.  Included in the parade activities will be the Boise State Keith Stein Blue Thunder Marching Band, as well as the Boise State cheerleaders and Mane Line Dance team.  Sunday evening, Bronco fans will get in the bowl spirit with a pep rally in downtown Tempe, all part of the Insight Fiesta Bowl Block Party in the Mill Avenue District and Tempe Beach Park.


All leading up to New Year’s Day and Monday’s 36th Annual Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, a day Bronco players, coaches and fans have been waiting for with incredible anticipation.  Kick-off for the game is set for 6:50 p.m. MT between the 12-0 Broncos and the 11-2 Sooners.  The game will be shown live nationally on FOX Sports, with radio, internet and satellite broadcasts going to more than 100 countries worldwide.


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