Printed on: December 27, 2012

Spartans favored in D.C.

By Joseph White
AP Sports Writer

WASHINGTON -- Maybe they should call it the Transition Bowl.

For the third consecutive year -- which accounts for 60 percent of the life span of this particular event -- the Military Bowl had coaching news between the selection date and the game.

Ralph Friedgen was fired by Maryland in 2010, but he was allowed to coach the game and ended his Terrapins career with a big win over East Carolina.

Last year, Tim Beckman left Toledo for Illinois, leaving replacement Matt Campbell to lead a one-point victory over Air Force.

This year, it's even more complicated.

Having rebuilt San Jose State (10-2), Mike MacIntyre left for Colorado after the Spartans accepted the bid that will have them facing Bowling Green (8-4) today at RFK Stadium.

The shake-up has jarred the players just as they were hoping to put an exclamation point on perhaps the best season in school history. The No. 24 Spartans are playing in a bowl for the first time since 2006, are in the AP rankings for the first time since 1975, and will be trying to win 11 games in a season for the first time since 1940.

Bowling Green has a different kind of mission in mind. The Falcons also rebuilt their program in a hurry -- rebounding from 2-10 two years ago -- and are one of seven Mid-American Conference teams in the bowls.

Yet the MAC is off to a rough start: 0-2 so far, both blowouts.

"We'd like to finish with a statement in the bowl games," coach Dave Claw-son said.

Military Bowl Glance

Bowling Green (8-4) vs. San Jose St. (10-2)

Time: 1 p.m. (ESPN)

Line: San Jose St. by 7

Series Record: First meeting

WHAT'S AT STAKE

A successful bowl comeback. Bowling Green hasn't played in a postseason game since 2009, San Jose State since 2006. To see how far these schools have come in a short time, look at 2010 -- when Bowling Green went 2-10 and San Jose State was 1-12. San Jose State's quick turnaround cost the school its coach: Mike MacIntyre left for Colorado, leaving defensive coordinator Kent Baer to lead the Spartans against the Falcons.