SAN JOSE -- Amid all the what-if scenarios, San Jose State's bowl resume was simply too good to overlook.
The Spartans accepted an invitation on Friday to play in the Military Bowl on Dec. 27 in Washington, D.C. It's SJSU's first bowl appearance since 2006.
"It's a credit to what this team has done," SJSU coach Mike MacIntyre said. "They definitely deserved to go to a bowl game and earned the right to do it."
Some of the SJSU fan base remained on edge this week waiting for a bowl invitation to come, with the most pessimistic fearing the Spartans could get passed over.
With no bowl games on the West Coast available, its unlikely many SJSU fans will travel to the game. Those concerns were likely valid, but a No. 25 ranking in the BCS standings -- among other factors -- worked in the Spartans' favor.
"They were 10-2, beat four bowl-eligible teams and lost to Stanford 20-17. That's pretty good," Military Bowl executive director Steve Beck said of the Spartans.
SJSU probably secured its fate by winning its final six games, including back-to-back games on national television. The four wins against bowl-bound teams (San Diego State, Navy, BYU and Louisiana Tech) are the most in school history.
"We are thrilled to receive an invitation to play in the 2012 Military Bowl ... to cap off one of the best seasons in the 110-plus years of San Jose State football," SJSU athletic director Gene Bleymaier said in a release.
The players learned the news of the bowl invitation Friday morning after practice. Emotions range from excited to relieved, particularly since they've been getting hounded by friends and family with questions about where they would be playing.
"I was pumped," senior offensive lineman David Quessenberry said. "I've heard about the Military Bowl, I've watched it the last couple of years. I know it's a great bowl. I'm just pretty fired up to represent San Jose State back there in such a great bowl game."
SJSU went 1-12 two years ago, so the transformation to a bowl-bound team is significant to those who went through the struggles.
"It's means a lot," senior defensive end Travis Johnson said. "Just where we've come from. To have poor seasons the past couple of years and to finish off with a bowl game, it all encapsulates this whole season."
Beck said the Spartans' best season in 25 years made them worth the invitation even if they may not bring a huge crowd.
"You want to get teams that can help bring fans," Beck said. "In this game, it was compelling because they've had such a great year. I'm confident we're going to have a terrific matchup."
The game is played at RFK Stadium, the former home of the Washington Redskins. It will be SJSU's second trip to the Washington, D.C., area this season. The Spartans played Navy in nearby Annapolis, Md., in September and did a quick tour of the nation's capital during that trip.
"I'm happy to go back to D.C.," senior tight end Ryan Otten said. "I have a lot of family back there that will be able to go the game. If I have to spend Christmas away from home, it will be nice to be around family."
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At Washington, D.C.: San Jose State (10-2) vs. TBD, noon, ESPN