Wednesday, November 29, 2006

We're going to Albuquerque. I guess I'm excited, although the fact that the Poinsettia Bowl picked Northern Illinois basically tells me we could have gone there even if Boise State was going to the Fiesta Bowl. Still, that means an extra $700,000 in our coffers, so that's not a bad thing.

And the more I think about it, maybe going to New Mexico isn't so bad afterall. For one, that's an extra week of practice, for whatever that's worth. I suppose we also get slightly better exposure, since the New Mexico Bowl is on ESPN, while the Poinsettia is on the Ocho (ESPN2, actually). And there definitely was the potential that a SJSU-TCU game played on Dec. 19 in San Diego would have been close to empty, which would have been a little embarrassing. Plus, I suppose there's a reason this is the first game of the bowl season ...

The New Mexico folk are at least saying they are excited to have us.

Just for fun, here's the Spartan Daily's take on the news.

There's also this little nugget: This means SJSU is playing in a bowl outside of California for the first time in its history. I'm not sure how significant that is, by John Ryan of the Mercury News draws some interesting comparisons between Rutgers and San Jose State. For those who don't know, Rutgers will be playing in its first BCS game one year after playing in its first out-of-state bowl game. The article does a good job of drawing some comparisons.

But the size of the student body and relative lack of success that the two football programs have had is hardly a fair comparison, since I'm sure there are plenty of other public schools with big student populations that have had far more success and others that have continued to stink despite the administrations' best efforts.

One thing that is relatively similar is the conference the two teams play in. While one has a BCS tie-in (the Big East), neither is much of a powerhouse and is really only three or four teams deep. This is huge because it allows the Spartans and Knights to pad their records a bit without having to play soft non-conference schedules, although SJSU certainly did this year.

I've always thought that with the right coach, SJSU could be a competitive program. With Tim Bowen and Don Kassing now calling the shots, and Dick Tomey running the football program, this is finally happening.

SJSU won't be going to a BCS bowl next year -- we may never -- but at least we don't have to worry about folding the program up, at least for awhile. What we can do is start building toward something resembling Fresno or Nevada or Boise, which for me is more than I could really expect.

The next step in this process would be giving the Spartans a respectable stadium, and I really believe that could happen just by sinking some money into Spartan Stadium. Just by refurbishing the East (student) stands and installing one (or preferably two) video boards. Do this and suddenly that's a pretty nice stadium.

Back to this week...

One would imagine Fresno State is looking at the game as their bowl game. And while SJSU has used that logic to little avail plenty of times, one imagines it has a better chance of working for the 'Dogs. Pat Hill, for one, at least has some personal reasons to want to win.


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