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Win or lose, bowl game's impact is enormous for San Jose State

By Jon Wilner
Mercury News

AP Photo/The Albuquerque Journal, Adolphe Pierre-Louis
San Jose State football coach Dick Tomey, left and New Mexico football coach Rocky Long, has had a chance to bring recruits to the Spartans' pre-bowl practices. A handful attended a Saturday-afternoon session.
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San Jose State is quickly learning a central lesson of college football's 21st-century bowl system. For up-and-coming programs, winning your bowl game isn't crucial. What matters is getting into a bowl game, because of the benefits that come with prolonging the season.

In SJSU's case, getting into the New Mexico Bowl means weeks of additional media coverage and feel-good booster functions. It has given the Spartans recruiting advantages over their bowl-less peers, and it has created new marketing and fundraising opportunities.

Those developments will have a far greater impact on SJSU's future than what transpires over three hours Saturday afternoon in Albuquerque.

``It builds a platform of respect, of pride in being a Spartan,'' Athletic Director Tom Bowen said. ``It has infused the athletic department with excitement. We're changing the culture.''

How has getting into the New Mexico Bowl affected SJSU, which is making its first bowl appearance in 16 years? Let's get to the specifics:
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