SAN JOSE -- San Jose State's first bowl game in six years will come against a Bowling Green team that's won seven of its past eight games.
The Falcons (8-4) accepted an invitation Sunday to face the Spartans (10-2) in the Military Bowl on Dec. 27 in Washington, D.C. Kickoff at RFK Stadium is at noon Pacific time, and the game will air on ESPN.
"They're a very hot football team," SJSU coach Mike MacIntyre said of the Falcons. "It'll be a very, very tough test for us. We're excited about getting the opportunity to play another game."
Bowling Green is one of seven teams from the Mid-American Conference to receive a bowl berth. That includes Northern Illinois, which busted the BCS to earn a spot in the Orange Bowl.
"The football played in our conference this year is as good as it's been since I've been here," Falcons fourth-year coach Dave Clawson said.
Bowling Green did not face Northern Illinois, which is in the MAC West Division. The Falcons were second in the East Division behind Kent State. They started the season 1-3, including a 27-14 loss to Florida.
"Bowling Green's very very good. I remember watching them earlier in the year, and they almost beat Florida," MacIntyre said. That game was tied in the second half before Florida scored the final 13 points.
The Falcons are in their first bowl game since 2009, when they lost to Idaho in the Humanitarian Bowl. They are the third MAC team in four years to play in the Military Bowl.
"We're thrilled," Clawson said. "We're very, very excited. We've heard great things about the experience there from the other MAC teams that have been able to play in the Military Bowl."
This will be the first meeting between the schools. It's the fifth time in San Jose State's nine bowl appearances that it will face a team from the MAC. The Spartans previously have played Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Miami-Ohio and Toledo. SJSU is 2-2 in those matchups and 5-3 all-time in bowls.
Clawson said he has seen a couple of the Spartans' games on television this year and is impressed with SJSU.
"Coach MacIntyre's done an amazing job there," Clawson said. "They were certainly struggling when he got there. He's improved them every year. Winning 10 football games is hard."
The matchup on paper likely lacks sizzle, and without a regional team it could struggle to draw fans in the D.C. area. Bowl executive director Steve Beck points to the team's records as hope that this game will deliver. In No. 24 San Jose State, the bowl also boasts a ranked team for the first time in its five-year history.
"We've got a 10-2 and an 8-4," Beck said. "It's going to be one of the highest winning percentages of any of the non-BCS bowl games this year."
Beck also pointed to the matchup of SJSU's offense, led by the nation's leader in passing efficiency David Fales, against Bowling Green's defense. The Falcons are ninth in the nation in scoring defense, allowing 15.8 points per game, and are led by senior defensive tackle Chris Jones, the MAC Defensive Player of the Year.
"It's set up for one of our best, if not our best matchup ever," Beck said.
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