San Jose State coach Brent Brennan said Monday night his team was “devastated” after a computer tiebreaker left the Spartans out of this weekend’s Mountain West championship game, and sidestepped questions about his candidacy in Oregon State’s head coach search.
Brennan, who was the Beavers’ wide receivers coach from 2011-2016, did not address his potential interest as Jonathan Smith’s successor, but said having his name linked to the Power 5 opening was a sign that the SJSU program is heading in the right direction.
“Oregon State was a really special place to be for my family,” Brennan said Monday. “I think people reaching out to us about stuff like that means we’re doing something right here.”
The Spartans (7-5, 6-2 MW) ended the regular season with a six-game winning streak and are going to a bowl for the second year in a row – the first time SJSU has done that since 1986-87.
SJSU finished in a three-way tie with UNLV (9-2, 6-2 MW) and Boise State (7-5, 6-2 MW) but was the odd team out when the conference’s computers selected the participants for Saturday’s title game.
The Spartans lost to Boise State, but won 37-31 at UNLV on Saturday and clearly was the hottest team in the conference down the stretch.
On Sunday, Brennan retweeted a tweet from SJSU alumni and ESPN reporter Marc Spears that read, “Big asterisk on this so-called title game. @SanJoseStateFB beat UNLV, but the HOST team is rewarded. Guess they need ticket sales.”
“Everyone was surprised with the way it played out, especially because we had just beaten UNLV,” Brennan said Monday. But it was out of our hands. I think the hard part was the players and really no one understood because we had the same record and we just beat them head to head, and now they get to host. That just didn’t didn’t make sense to them. It’s really hard.
“Guys were devastated.”
Spartans kicker Taren Schive posted on social media, “Computer rankings can’t be the first thing looked at behind head to head. We beat (Fresno State), who beat both of those schools, 42-18, not to mention we also beat one of the teams in the championship yesterday in their own stadium.”
Despite missing the title game, SJSU on Sunday will learn its bowl destination and opponent.
But will Brennan still be with the team for the bowl? This is the third bowl game in four seasons for Brennan’s Spartans after the school had played in just four over the previous 30 years.
Brennan, 50, grew up in the Bay Area and attended Saint Francis High, but his work with the Spartans has attracted attention before Oregon State saw Smith jump to Michigan State over the weekend.
Brennan was in the mix to become head coach at Arizona after the 2020 season, and when Stanford head coach David Shaw stepped down last season, Brennan was rumored to be on Stanford’s list of candidates to be hired.
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The Spartans are 34-47 under Brennan, but 29 of those losses came in his first three seasons. Since 2020, when SJSU won the Mountain West championship game, the Spartans are 26-18, winning seven games in three of the past four seasons.
Brennan has deep ties to Corvallis.
When Brennan left Oregon State for SJSU in 2017, he brought with him offensive coordinator Kevin McGiven and defensive backs coach Derrick Odom. He would later hire Oregon State defensive line coach Joe Seumalo and former Oregon State quarterback Lyle Moevao to his staff.
For what it’s worth, Brennan’s dog, Benny, is named after the Oregon State mascot.