News Column

Spartans Closer to Knowing Bowl Destiny

Nov. 27, 2012

Jimmy Durkin

SJSU

San Jose State's nationally ranked football team doesn't know where it's headed for a bowl game, but the situation is gaining more clarity.

The Spartans, who debuted in the BCS standings at No. 25, can cross the Hawaii and New Orleans bowls off their list after Conference-USA announced its bowl plans.

C-USA suddenly has five bowl-eligible teams after Southern Methodist upset Tulsa and Rice beat UTEP over the weekend. That means the conference will fill all five of its contracted bowl spots, including Hawaii and New Orleans. Both had been rumored as possible destinations for SJSU.

That leaves the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in Detroit on Dec. 26 and the Military Bowl in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 27 as the most likely destinations. The Music City Bowl in Nashville on Dec. 31 also could have an opening if Georgia Tech loses to Florida State in the Atlanta Coast Conference title game Saturday.

SMU will head to Hawaii, with coach June Jones returning to the place he spent nine years as head coach. That game also is contracted to invite a team from the Mountain West Conference.

Either East Carolina or Rice, depending on the result of Saturday's C-USA title game, will head to New Orleans to face Louisiana-Lafayette.

SJSU (10-2) might have increased its attractiveness when it made its first-ever appearance in the BCS standings that were released Sunday night.

"If you're sitting on a bowl committee and you can get a top-25 team, I think it does help us," Spartans coach Mike MacIntyre said. "I think the 10 wins helps us too. The old saying is, 'Winning makes you look a little prettier sometimes.' Hopefully that's what it does for us."

MacIntyre said the team met for dinner Sunday and he enjoyed seeing their reaction to SJSU's first national ranking since 1990.

"That was an awesome moment for me personally to see the joy on their faces when they looked at that," MacIntyre said.

MacIntyre said that two years ago, SJSU may have been the worst team in the country. The Spartans went 1-12 in his first season as coach. The only win came over Southern Utah, a Football Championship Subdivision team, and they lost to UC Davis, another FCS squad.

"We weren't very good, and nobody believed in us," MacIntyre said. "But our kids were getting better. I could see it before our eyes. Really the last 18 months we've gone from 120th to 25. That's exciting, and those kids have done it."

MacIntyre said Monday that rumors of him being offered the job at Kentucky are false.

"There's no truth to that," MacIntyre said. "Even my daughter's calling me from Texas, saying, 'Hey what's this?' It's just all Internet stuff.

"Those things are always going to fly. To me, that's good for the program. I know people think that distracts, but there's all kinds of stuff all over the Internet all the time. Honestly, I'm just trying to focus on the bowl game and recruiting and we'll go from there."

MacIntyre said he has yet to be contacted by Kentucky, or any other schools with openings, including Cal.

"Nope, not as of right now," MacIntyre said. "We're just going along with what we're doing. I'm honestly just focused on that bowl game."



Distributed by MCT Information Services



Source: (c) 2012 The Oakland Tribune (Oakland, Calif.)


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