They were a doormat. The chafe of the conference and perfect fodder for typical critics (and some perhaps still rationalizing so).
2020 is what happens from those building-block three years and sticking to the plan.
Soon after a crescendo defeat of the Nevada Wolf Pack last Friday, San Jose State achieved formal recognition from the Amway Coaches Poll and the Associated Press Top 25, where both ranked the Spartans 25th in the nation.
2012 was the last time the Spartans were on anyone’s radar ranking 21st with an 11-2 record under then-head coach Mike McIntyre.
It’s all been far and few in between.
What expects to be different under the Brent Brennan era is longevity, especially after earning a three-year contract extension after the 2019 season.
With Brennan’s arrival in 2017, the first installation was the soul, character, and purpose of the program, then the football experience from a slew of like-minded but independent coaches.
It’s become a place where boys truly become men in every sense.
Football and learning to win just took a couple of years to catch up. Basically, Brennan wasn’t going to take shortcuts without a real foundation. One can get a sense of all this if you meet and speak with those who’ve come through.
This Saturday, on a national-televised Mountain West Championship game set at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, San Jose State “hosts” the perfect competitor. A team they’ve never beaten in 14 tries. It’s a very similar scenario for the Spartans in a number of wins this year.
Boise State ranks 28th and 29th in the same polls and was also in the top 25 pre-season polls.
Back on November 28th, San Jose State made a trip to Boise for their original nationally-televised game, but the Broncos had to cancel after not meeting COVID protocols. Fresno State canceled on the Spartans for the same reason.
But on this Saturday (FOX Sports, 1:15 PM PST), that nationally-televised audience now gets an even better deal with the best this conference has to offer. One well-established team and the Spartans.
Either way, San Jose State is already beyond expectations in year four of the Brennan program, as a bowl game is expected for the Spartans (and Boise State as well).
Speculation has the Spartans in a bowl game in either Florida, Alabama, Idaho (which was given to the Wolf Pack), Arizona, and so on.
Recognition has arrived and expects to stay. It next has to settle in for the rest of us.