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Still, the perfect finish was far from assured. After MacIntyre, the architect of San Jose State’s resurrection from one of the nation’s worst programs, departed for Colorado on Dec. 10, it was uncertain just how the Spartans would cope.

A day later, Baer stepped into a team meeting saying the change didn’t matter and the Spartans still had something they had set out accomplish.

“Just saying that, it stopped all the thoughts of Coach Mac being gone,” Johnson said.

And with Thursday’s victory secure, so is the title of San Jose State’s best team in the modern era — thoughts that won’t leave this Spartans team anytime soon.

“What people don’t talk about is we’ve won 13 of our last 15,” said Baer, the Spartans’ defensive coordinator the last three years who will join MacIntyre at Colorado in the same role. “That’s a lot of wins in 15 games. It’s just an unbelievable feeling. Any time you get 10 wins is magical. To get 11 is tremendous.”