NCF Nation: Kent Baer

New Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre is bringing most of his staff with him from San Jose State. MacIntyre has hired six former assistants from the Spartans, according to a report from the Daily Camera, including both coordinator positions.

Writes Kyle Ringo:
MacIntyre has hired Brian Lindgren as offensive coordinator and Kent Baer as defensive coordinator. Klayton Adams, Gary Bernardi, Charles Clark and Jim Jeffcoat also have been hired. What positions those four will be assigned to coach and what titles and responsibilities each will hold were still being refined.

This is a solid first step by MacIntyre. Because while he gets a lot of the credit for turning San Jose State around, he clearly didn't do it all on his own. He did it with his guys.

And as coaches move up the ladder, sometimes loyalty gets lost along the way. With a bigger spending pool for assistants, sometimes there is the desire to go out and get "bigger-name" coordinators. But MacIntyre clearly believes in his staff and the job they did turning the Spartans into an 11-win team.

After it became clear San Jose State wouldn't hire its new head coach from within -- going instead with San Diego's Ron Caragher -- it would make sense that MacIntyre's guys would go with him. Baer, who coached the Spartans to a 29-20 win over Bowling Green in the Military Bowl, reportedly wanted the job but was passed over for Caragher. Baer is no stranger to the Pac-12, having served various roles throughout his career at Cal, Stanford, Washington and Arizona State.

Nice to see MacIntyre repaying the loyalty to the coaches who helped him get to where he is.

 
San Jose State (10-2, 5-1 WAC) vs. Bowling Green (8-4, 6-2 MAC)

WHO TO WATCH: San Jose State quarterback David Fales. His debut season for the Spartans has been nothing short of spectacular. The junior-college transfer who began his career at Nevada leads the nation in completion percentage (72.1), ranks third in pass efficiency (170.9 rating) and has racked up 3,798 yards with 31 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He owns several team records, including single-season passing yards (3,798), passing touchdowns (31) and total offense (3,669). Fales has put himself on the NFL draft radar and sparked a San Jose State pass offense that ranks 11th nationally (327.5 ypg). He has two dynamic receivers in Noel Grigsby and Jabari Carr. Fales has eclipsed 200 pass yards in all 12 games and has eclipsed 300 pass yards six times.

WHAT TO WATCH: Bowling Green's pass rush against Fales and the San Jose State offense. The Falcons got here because of their pressuring defense, which ranks seventh nationally in yards allowed (289.7 ypg) and eighth in points allowed (15.75 ppg). Led by defensive tackle Chris Jones, the Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year, Bowling Green ranks ninth nationally in sacks (3.08 per game) and 26th in tackles for loss (6.83 per game). Jones, who had 12.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss this season, is one of three first-team All-MAC selections for the Falcons, along with linebacker Gabe Martin and defensive back Jerry "BooBoo" Gates. San Jose State is just so-so at protecting Fales (72nd nationally in sacks allowed), so this is an area Bowling Green could exploit.

WHY TO WATCH: San Jose State boasts victories against Louisiana Tech, BYU and San Diego State and claimed its final six games to record 10 victories for the first time in a quarter-century. But the Spartans lost their coach, Mike MacIntyre, to Colorado, and defensive coordinator Kent Baer will coach the team in the bowl. San Jose State aims for its first 11-win season since 1940. Bowling Green is looking to legitimize itself and its league, which has struggled early in bowl season. The Falcons are 0-5 against ranked opponents under coach Dave Clawson. Like San Jose State, Bowling Green finished the season strong, winning seven of its final eight games after starting 1-3. And while San Jose State's offense receives more attention, the Falcons boast some weapons, too, including dynamic freshman running back Anthon Samuel (966 rush yards, 10 TDs).

PREDICTION: San Jose State 27, Bowling Green 21. It's tempting to go with defense over offense, and San Jose State is making the longer trip to Washington, D.C., but Fales will be the difference. Bowling Green defends the pass very well but didn't face the best quarterback in the MAC this year (Northern Illinois' Jordan Lynch). San Jose State's underrated defense performs well against the run (19th nationally) and will limit Samuel and the Falcons. Fales and his receivers turn in a big second half as the Spartans record win No. 11.
Posted by ESPN.com's Graham Watson

If you didn't see it earlier, former Utah coach Urban Meyer -- the man who led the Utes to their first undefeated season -- was asked whether an undefeated Utah team deserved a national championship berth over a one-loss SEC team. 

  • Syracuse hasn't officially contracted East Carolina athletic director Terry Holland about head coach Skip Holtz, but Holland thinks the call is coming.
  • According to Jared Eborn of the Deseret News, San Jose State assistant Kent Baer says he's interested in the Utah State position, a job for which he interviewed four years ago.
  • Kirk Bell of The Arbiter Online has a nice profile of Nevada coach Chris Ault.
  • Jeff Call of the Deseret News pooled the opinions of the Mountain West coaches from this week's conference call to get their thoughts on the BYU-Utah rivalry.
  • Urban Meyer to Notre Dame? Pete Kerasotis of FloridaToday.com thinks the two would be a good fit.

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