As with any "all-time" team, selecting this squad was an inexact science. Obviously, a good deal has changed in the sport of football since 1916 when Washington State fielded their first bowl team, most notably the departure of the two-way player and the evolution of the forward pass. Consider that Bull Durham from that '16 Rose Bowl team was considered one to the best quarterbacks on the west coast due to his skills as a blocker.
Other obstacles encountered when choosing the "best" are the sparse amount of game statistics from the Golden Age of the sport, especially those from the defensive side of the ball, and the fading memories the passage of time creates.
Of course, these teams are also as notable for the players not on the list as those that are. Examples would be Holiday Bowl QB Ricky Turner who almost brought the Cougs back from a 26-point deficit against BYU, rushing for 92 yards on 12 carries and two touchdowns. Benton "Biff" Bangs played a huge role in the 1916 Rose Cougs powerful ground attack, rushing for 98 yards. Or '98 Rose Bowler Steve Gleason, all over the Pasadena field with nine solo tackles. And how could we possibly have just two defensive representatives from the Alamo Bowl Cougs, the famed Palouse Posse?
Caveats aside, we proudly present the All-Time WSU Bowl Team:
QB: Drew Bledsoe, 1992 Copper Bowl
The future #1 NFL draft pick carved up the Utah secondary with 30 completions in 46 attempts for - - gulp - - 476 yards, still a Cougar record!
RB: Steve Broussard, 1988 Aloha Bowl
Another future first round draft pick, the Bruiser rushed for 139 yards against Houston and caught 1 pass for 11 yards.
RB: Shaumbe Wright-Fair, 1992 Copper Bowl
The back with the "strength of a lion," picked up 123 ground yards, scored twice, and caught 6 of Bledsoe's passes for another 21 yards.
RB: Carl "Red" Dietz, 1916 Rose Bowl
The toughs-as-nails fullback fought through a field of thick mud, rushing for 105 yards, scoring the decisive TD, outshining Brown All-American Fritz Pollard, and being named the game's MVP.
C: Mel Hein, 1931 Rose Bowl
My Dad, the foremost authority on 1930's Cougar football, said it best: "Mel Hein played every play of every game like an all-star, the Rose Bowl was no exception."
G: Hack Applequist, 1916 Rose Bowl
The Cougs pounded out 313 yards against the Bruins, due largely in part to the finesse and fierceness of Hack. Those rushing yards, by the way, stood as a Rose Bowl record for many years.
G: Mike Utley, 1988 Aloha Bowl
When the All-American wasn't pancaking Houston defenders he was insuring no one laid a glove on Timm Rosenbach.
T: Turk Edwards, 1931 Rose Bowl
The Tide used the new-fangled forward pass to defeat the Cougs, but the marquee battle in the trenches between ‘Bama All-American Fred Sington and WSC All-American Edwards was won by the Turk.
T: Ace Clark, 1916 Rose Bowl
The team Captain joined Applequist and company in opening holes and wearing down the Brown defense. The Los Angeles Times reported afterward the Crimson Soldiers "tore the Brown line to shreds."
TE: Pat Beach, 1981 Holiday Bowl
The All-American and Pullman native caught two passes for 57 yards - - more impressive when you take into account WSU completed just 8 passes for 106 yards against Brigham Young. He also pulled in a 2-point conversion from Clete Casper.
WR: Tim Stallworth, 1988 Aloha Bowl
The third-team All-American was Rosenbach's favorite target, catching 8 of his tosses for 120 yards.
WR: CJ Davis, 1992 Copper Bowl
Davis punctuated a spectacular season - - and career -- by catching 8 balls for 134 yards at Tucson.
WR: Phillip Bobo, 1992 Copper Bowl
Talk about big games, Bobo scored twice on Bledsoe passes that covered 87 and 48 yards. He finished with 7 grabs for 212 yard and even ran the ball twice, gaining another 16 yards on 2 carries.
K: Drew Dunning, 2001 Sun Bowl
The All-Pac 10 kicker was a perfect 4 for 4 on field goals - - including a 47 yarder - - and an equally perfect 3 for 3 on point-afters against Purdue. Fittingly, he was named the game's special team MVP.
KR: Don LaBomme, 1981 Holiday Bowl
The Bomb put up some impressive numbers, rushing for 79 yards on 14 carries and booming 2 punts for 101 yards, but it is his 106 yards on 4 kickoff returns - - a 26-5 average - - that earned him a spot on the All-Time Bowl roster.
Coach: Lone Star Dietz, 1916 Rose Bowl
He won the Big One over a heavily favored Brown and he won it convincingly. Oh, and he did it wearing a silk hat, yellow gloves, and striped pants. ‘Nuff said.
DE: Dorian Boose, 1998 Rose Bowl
The future NFL player was in on 6 tackles, 3 of those lost yardage for the Wolverines.
DE: Clarence Zimmerman, 1916 Rose Bowl
Zim was said to have been the team's best athlete and played a huge role is slowing down the All-American Pollard.
DT: Tony Savage, 1988 Aloha Bowl
"Doc" Savage helped render the Houston running game non-existent, notching 7 tackles as WSU held the Texan Cougars to just 68 rushing yards. He also enjoyed a timely sack of their QB.
DT: Mark Ledbetter, 1988 Aloha Bowl
The Leaded One was just as hungry as teammate Savage, partaking in 8 stops and recording a sack of his own.
LB: Brandon Moore, 1998 Rose Bowl
Moore was almost more than Michigan could handle, tallying 9 tackles (8 solo), including one sack and four tackles for a loss.
LB: Raonall Smith, 2001 SunBowl
Smith punished Purdue all afternoon, leading Wazzu with 11 defensive stops, including a QB sack. And, in his final play as a Coug, he batted down a last chance pass by Purdue, thus sealing the victory for WSU.
LB: Anthony McClanahan, 1992 Copper Bowl
"Zeus" was indeed god-like against the Utes, recording 12 tackles, 7 of those solos.
LB: Ron Childs, 1992 Copper Bowl, and 1994 Alamo Bowl
Ron gave the term "child's pay" new meaning. He was in on 9 Ute stops, 8 of which were solo. Against Baylor, he posted similar numbers: 10 tackles – 8 solo – and 2 tackles for a loss.
DB: Lamont Thompson, 1998 Rose Bowl, and 2001 Sun Bowl
How fitting that LT's collegiate career is book ended by two marvelous bowl performances. Against Michigan, he intercepted a Brian Griese pass and tallied 6 tackles, 5 solos. Named the Sun Bowl MVP, Lamont made two crucial second half interceptions against Purdue and took part in 10 tackles.
DB: Jason David, 2001 Sun Bowl
The sophomore seemed to read Purdue QB Kyle Orton's mind, intercepting him twice – returning the first 45 yards to start the scoring – and swatting down several more pass attempts.
DB: Joe Taylor, 1981 Holiday Bowl
One of the most unsung DBs in WSU history, Taylor was all over Jack Murphy Stadium, playing a part in 11 tackles, including one for an 8-yard loss.
DB: Torey Hunter, 1994 Alamo Bowl
Baylor had no luck going air on the Cougs, thanks in large part to the blanket coverage administered by Hunter, who also intercepted 1 pass and was in on two stops.
P: Rob Myers, 1988 Aloha Bowl
Myers loved the Hawaiian air; his six punts covered 276 yards for a 46.0 average.
PR: Victor Wood, 1988 Aloha Bowl
Another bowl renaissance man, Wood caught two passes for 48 yards scoring on one, returned 5 kickoffs for 123 yards, scored again on a fumble, and returned 3 punts for 52 yards (a 14 yard average).
Following are the results of each Cougar bowl game with the number of players placed on the All-Time team in parenthesis:
1916 Rose Bowl (5): WSC 14 Brown 0
1931 Rose Bowl (2): Alabama 24 WSC 0
1981 Holiday Bowl (3): BYU 38 WSU 36
1988 Aloha Bowl (7): WSU 24 Houston 22
1992 Copper Bowl (6): WSU 31 Utah 28
1994 Alamo Bowl (2): WSU 10 Baylor 3
1998 Rose Bowl (3): Michigan 21 WSU 16
2001 Sun Bowl (4): WSU 33 Purdue 27