Rare Sunday game will get San Jose State back on CBS for first time in 41 years

The Spartans’ home opener against Oregon State is part of the network’s college football doubleheader

SAN JOSE, Calif. — When San Jose State last appeared on a nationally televised regular season game on CBS, the number one song in America was “Abracadabra” by the Steve Miller Band, and the highest-grossing film was “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.”

On Sunday, the Spartans face No. 18 Oregon State in their first nationally televised regular season game since 1982.

“It’s our first time being on CBS national in 41 years, so it’s obviously very important for our program and for the visibility of our brand,” said SJSU athletic director Jeff Konya. “We’re all thrilled to be featured in a TV window with no other football on.”

The game against Oregon State at 12:30 p.m. is the second in a CBS college football doubleheader; Northwestern at Rutgers will kick off the day at 9 a.m.

The unusual Sunday matchups boost CBS’ programming on the final weekend before the NFL season begins – and on Labor Day weekend, no less. However, it provides tremendous exposure for the schools and conferences.

ABC has also gotten in on the action, airing No. 5 LSU’s visit to No. 8 Florida State on Sunday evening, around the time the Spartans and Beavers finish their game.

The Spartans’ most recent appearance on CBS during the regular season was a 35-31 victory over Stanford and Elway’s son, Cardinal quarterback John Elway. (You can watch the original CBS broadcast here).

San Jose State has previously played on Sunday, most recently losing 62-7 at home to Colin Kaepernick and Nevada in 2009. But how did this pairing come about?

SJSU already had a home game against Oregon State scheduled for this season (the Spartans played in Corvallis in 2015), but after discussions with the Mountain West, CBS programmers expressed interest in featuring two up-and-coming programs as part of the doubleheader.

For the first time since 2012, the Beavers made back-to-back bowl appearances last season. The Spartans won the Mountain West Championship in 2020 and have appeared in two bowl games in the last three seasons.

“It’s nice being on CBS because I’m always a big fan of the world seeing San Jose State,” said SJSU left tackle Jaime Navarro. “I want the rest of the world to see how lovely San Jose and CEFCU Stadium are.” We don’t get much national attention, so it’s great to show how great we are.”

SJSU’s last regular-season home game was televised nationally on ABC in 2005 against Nevada.

That game, the fourth of the Dick Tomey era, was a significant step toward re-establishing SJSU on the college football map and re-igniting fan interest.

On that team, head coach Brent Brennan was a wide receivers coach. He recognizes how the screen exposure will benefit the program, but he also hopes that Sunday’s game will bring more fans to Spartan Stadium.

“I think it’s cool on national TV, and I really hope that everyone outside of California tunes in to watch the game, but I really hope that everyone in the Bay Area comes to the game,” Brennan said on Tuesday. “I want people to see this cool facility, as well as the upgrades on South Campus over the last seven years, and all of the really cool things that are happening at San Jose State.”

The Spartans will face a difficult task on Sunday against an Oregon State team that went 10-3 last season and won the Las Vegas Bowl in a 30-3 blowout over the University of Florida. It will be SJSU’s second ranked opponent after a 56-28 loss to No. 6 USC last week.

“The difficulty is that you’re just playing two really good teams right off the bat, and you don’t know who you are as a football team yet,” Brennan explained. “I also think it’s a fantastic opportunity… This group that will be arriving here this weekend is exceptional in all three phases. As a result, this is yet another significant challenge for us. We’re working hard to devise a strategy that will allow us to play good football.”

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