Jimmy Durkin of the Mercury News broke the news this morning that the Spartans have accepted an invitation to play in the Military Bowl on December 27th at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., against a team yet to be determined. Quarterback David Fales confirmed the news later in the morning on Damon Bruce’s radio show.
Formerly known as the EagleBank Bowl, the Military Bowl started in 2008 and this year was intended to feature a team from the ACC against Army, however the ACC did not have enough bowl eligible teams and Army itself did not qualify. Fales mentioned to Bruce that the three teams he has heard as potential opponents include Ohio, Kent St. and Northern Illinios. The latter two square off tonight in the MAC championship game.
Another scenario being tossed around is that should Kent St. (11-1) prevail tonight, their first bowl appearance in 40 years could be in a BCS game. In that case, the Big-12 would likely lose an at-large birth, bumping each of their eligible teams to the next bowl down the list, possibly landing a Big-12 squad in the Military Bowl to face the Spartans. In any event, San Jose State should know who they are playing by Saturday night or Sunday morning at the latest.
This will be the Spartans’ second trip east this year, and to basically the same place. They defeated the Naval Academy 12-0 in week 5 in Annapolis, and left San Jose a day early so the team could visit many of the same tourist attractions that they will likely be visiting again around Christmas time.
Not known as a program that tends to travel with a large fan following, the invitation to the Military Bowl is almost assuradely based on the team’s BCS ranking (25th) and stellar 10-2 record, to go along with a potent offense that was featured in two nationally televised victories to end San Jose State’s regular season.
With this appearance, the Spartans will be looking to add a victory to their all-time bowl record of 5-3. It would also give them their most single-season victories in school history, and send the program into the recruiting season with more momentum than it has ever had. Should the Spartans finish 11-2 with a bowl victory, chances are they will be among the favorites in their innagural season of the Mountain West Conference next year. Additionally, the possibility of going from 1-12 to winning a bowl game two seasons later is certain to raise coach Mike MacIntyre’s profile nationally.