Is Sixteen The Magic Number?

Heading into this weekend's contest against Colorado State in Fort Collins, Colo. the San Jose State Spartans find themselves riding a sixteen game road losing streak, just as former San Jose State head coach Dick Tomey's team did back in 2006. Tomey's team came away with a victory, and a sense that the program had turned the corner.

San Jose, Calif. - Former San Jose State Head Football Coach Dick Tomey once remarked that a team really shouldn't consider themselves as a good team until they've learned how to win games on the road. When rebuilding a program, as Tomey found himself doing on three occasions as head coach at the Football Bowl Subdivision level, the first goal is to win, period. The second (and more difficult) goal is to win on the road. Any program that is in a rebuilding mode cannot truly say that the program has turned the corner until they begin to put road W's in the win column.

When Dick Tomey took over the San Jose State program in 2005, the Spartans had lost their previous seven road games. The last road victory prior to Tomey's arrival was a 69-41 shoot-out victory against UTEP in El Paso, Texas in 2003. It would take Tomey nine tries before his Spartans finally won a road game, which came during his second season in 2004, a 31-21 victory over New Mexico State in Las Cruces. The Spartans had finally ended their long road losing streak at 16 games.

Just like Tomey, current San Jose State head coach Mike MacIntyre inherited a Spartans team that was riding a seven game road losing streak. After his 2010 squad went 0-7 on the road in 2010, and is 0-2 thus far on the road in 2011, MacIntyre's team (1-3) also just happens to be sitting on a sixteen game road losing streak.

If sixteen is the magic number, then Saturday's game against Colorado State (3-1) in Fort Collins sets up an opportunity for history to repeat itself. The Spartans find themselves as only 3.5 point underdogs to the Rams, and they are coming off the first ever FBS victory in the MacIntyre era, a 34-24 victory over New Mexico State in San Jose last weekend, which ended an overall thirteen game losing streak. Saturday's contest against Colorado State is probably the most winnable road game for SJSU since narrowly losing to New Mexico State in Las Cruces last season by a score of 29-27, a game that saw the Aggies score the winning touchdown on the final play of the game.

Last week against New Mexico State, behind the stellar running of Brandon Rutley, the Spartans finally learned how to finish a game strong and win the fourth quarter. San Jose State has proven that it can win in the Mike MacIntyre era. Now they need to prove that they can win on the road. Until they achieve that goal, one could say that the program hasn't truly turned the corner (yet). At the very least, the corner would seem to be in sight.

Mike Morgan is an Associate Editor for Inside Sparta. You may contact Mike with any questions, comments, or tips at

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