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WSU bowl rewind: 2001 Sun Bowl

Video courtesy of Kristopher Jones on YouTube.

The 2001 Sun Bowl featured Mike Price's No. 13 Washington State against unranked Purdue, coached by Joe Tiller. The Cougars, 9-2, had already beaten No. 9 UCLA in Pullman and No. 23 Stanford in Palo Alto. Purdue began the season 4-0, but lost five of its final seven games to finish 6-5. The Boilermakers would send linebacker Akin Ayodele to the NFL, along with punter Travis Dorsch, who was drafted in the fourth round. Future NFL starting quarterback Kyle Orton was under center for Purdue.

More on the game, after the jump.

UPDATE: Kalafitoni Pole will play in the New Mexico Bowl

From Albuquerque —

On Wednesday it was widely reported that Washington State defensive end Kalafitoni Pole would not play in the New Mexico bowl and had been sent home. However, after practice on Thursday WSU coach Mike Leach said that is not the case.

“He’s here, he just had to take care of an academic issue. But he’s here,” Leach said.

UPDATE: Jessamyn McIntyre, WSU's sideline reporter, tweeted that Pole flew back to New Mexico today and has apparently taken care of his academic concerns.




More after the jump.

Thursday morning Pac-12 links

From Albuquerque — News broke yesterday that WSU won't have defensive lineman Kalafitoni Pole available in Saturday's New Mexico Bowl. The junior was sent home per NCAA guidelines because he is academically ineligible … So you think you know WSU football history, huh? Test your knowledge in John Blanchette's WSU bowl trivia, if you dare … Bud Withers has a column about how WSU's NFL alumni finally have some locker room ammo … Colorado State has been keeping busy in New Mexico … The second season has been the charm for both New Mexico Bowl coaches … Ben Reynolds has the story from WSU's win over San Francisco State.

In other basketball news, Stanford upset No. 10 UCONN on the road and Oregon State won an eventful game against Towson.

Don't forget, we'll be live-chatting at 10:30.

Football links from around the conference, after the jump.

WSU’s Pole sent home for academic reasons

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—Washington State defensive end Kalafitoni Pole is academically ineligible and will not play in the New Mexico Bowl on Saturday, the Spokesman-Review learned Wednesday evening. After traveling with the team to New Mexico on Tuesday, Pole was sent home once the team learned of his academic status.

More after the jump.

Afternoon Pac-12 links

From Denver — We're taking a brief pit stop on our journey to the Great Southwest to refuel both the plane and our bodies. Since we have a little time, I thought I'd pass along some links from around the Pac-12 that we didn't get to this morning.

  • It's a consensus: Ka'Deem Carey is an All-American.
  • ASU offensive coordinator Mike Norvell is getting promoted.
  • Want a seat at Colorado's Folsom Field? It'll cost you.
  • Cal's backup quarterback is set to be a Beaver.
  • UCLA's Jim Mora doesn't want the Texas job, either.
  • Chris Petersen's staff at UW is starting to come together.

WSU chat postponed

Tyler Tjomsland, our industrious photographer, and I are en route to New Mexico right now, so we'll have to take a rain check on our usual Wednesday morning chat. Join us on SportsLink tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. to talk about the Cougars, the bowls, and anything else, really.

Wednesday morning Pac-12 links

From Pullman — Today's morning links will be short, since I'm about to head to New Mexico for the game and will be in transit for most of the day. However, I'll try and put up some more links early this afternoon. Unfortunately, we also won't be able to do our usual Wednesday morning chat, so we'll postpone that until Thursday morning at 10:30 a.m.

For the paper today we have a story on Colorado State quarterback Garrett Grayson and his Cougar ties … Yesterday's Bowl Rewind turned back the clock to the days of the Palouse Posse and the 1994 Alamo Bowl … Safety Deone Bucannon is a First-Team All-American according to the Associated Press.

WSU bowl rewind: 1994 Alamo Bowl

The above video, courtesy of sedihawk on YouTube, is not from the 1994 Alamo Bowl. But it illustrates the dominance of the Palouse Posse, Washington State's fearsome defense that ranked No. 2 in the country, as it held Napoleon Kauffman and the No. 18 Huskies to just 6 points in the Apple Cup. The Cougars finished the 1994 season with a 7-4 record, collecting wins against No. 21 Illinois at Soldier Field and No. 18 UCLA in the Rose Bowl on the way.

WSU, coached by Mike Price, entered the Alamo Bowl ranked No. 24 in the country and ready to face Baylor, also 7-4, coached by Chuck Reedy.

More on the game, after the jump.

Deone Bucannon a First-Team All American, and a practice report

From Pullman — Chalk up another award for Washington State safety Deone Bucannon. Today, the Associated Press announced their All-American teams and the WSU senior made First-Team. He becomes the first Cougar to earn AP First-Team All-American honors since running back Jerome Harrison in 2005, and just the second safety to do so (Lamont Thompson also did it in 2001).

Bucannon and the Cougars are on their way to Albuquerque for the Gildan New Mexico Bowl after finishing up a brief practice this morning.

Read about WSU's short morning practice after the jump.

Tuesday morning Pac-12 links

From Pullman — Game week has started and that means it's time to take a First Look at WSU's opponent, Colorado State … We relive the 1992 Copper Bowl in yesterday's bowl rewind … WSU picked up a verbal commitment from a Herculean recruit … The Cougars got some bad news yesterday when the women's soccer coach left for Troy … Bud Withers has a timeline of WSU's parabolic decade … Robin Dich of the Daily Evergreen answers questions about the Cougars.

Links from around the conference after the jump.

WSU bowl rewind: 1992 Copper Bowl

It was a Pac-12 pre-union of sorts when No. 18 Washington State took on Utah, then of the Western Athletic Conference. While Hawaii and Fresno State were the class of the WAC at the time, Utah (6-5, 4-4 WAC) was returning to postseason play for the first time since the 1964 Liberty Bowl.

The Cougars (8-3, 5-3 Pac-12), coached by Mike Price, were coming off a 42-23 win over rival their rival, Washington, who was ranked No. 5 in the country when the Apple Cup kicked off. Quarterback Drew Bledsoe was about to become the first pick in the NFL draft, and he would be joined on draft day by fourth-round linebacker Lewis Bush and seventh-round defensive tackle Clarence Williams.

More on the game, after the jump.

Monday morning Pac-12 links

From Pullman — The Washington State football team has just one more day in Pullman before heading south for the New Mexico Bowl. It'll be a business trip for the Cougars, but they're looking to have some fun as well … Maybe as much fun as the basketball team had beating Pepperdine yesterday … Here is the box score from that game … As well as postgame videos of coach Ken Bone and some players  … Yesterday's bowl rewind took a look at the 1988 Aloha Bowl.

Links from around the conference, after the jump.

WSU bowl rewind: 1988 Aloha Bowl

The video below, courtesy of wazzulibrary on YouTube, is not of the 1988 Aloha Bowl, but of WSU's win over Tennessee that season.

Head coach Dennis Erickson led WSU to an 8-3 record and a No. 18 ranking in the Associated Press college football bowl. The Cougars reward? An Aloha Bowl date with No. 14 Houston, coached by former Redskins and future Oilers coach Jack Pardee. Played on Christmas Day in front of 35,132 fans in Honolulu, Hawaii, the bowl game became WSU's second-ever bowl victory thanks to a number of timely plays.

Read on, after the jump.

Sunday morning links

From Pullman — In the paper today we have a story on WSU's new weight room, and what it could mean for players and recruits … In yesterday's Bowl Rewind we took a look at the 1981 Holiday Bowl against BYU … The Cougars went back outside for practice yesterday … WSU's big recruiting weekend appears to be a success, so far.

Links from around the conference, after the jump.


Saturday WSU practice and underclassmen scrimmage report

From Pullman — The Washington State football team returned to Martin Stadium on Saturday afternoon, practicing outdoors for the first time in over a week. With temperatures in Pullman below zero at times recently, the Cougars have been making use of their inflated indoor practice facility.

“We could've (practiced outside) pretty much every day,” coach Mike Leach said. “Because we just clear (the snow) off. But it's fine, I don't know where we'll be on Tuesday but if it's like this we'll be out here.”

Leach also spoke a bit about senior safety Deone Bucannon, who has been invited to participate in the Senior Bowl while earning some awards and honors at the end of the season. Leach said that among all the defensive backs he's ever had on his teams, Bucannon is “Better than average, he's a good one. He plays good, he's very physical, maybe the most physical one … In particular I like his leadership qualities. He's a relatively quiet guy but when he says something he's got something to say and he commands attention when he says it.”

More on practice, after the jump.


Saturday morning Pac-12 links

From Pullman — After taking Thursday off from practice, the Cougars took to the field on Friday and we've got a report … We continue our WSU bowl rewind with a look at the 1931 Rose Bowl … A number of recruits are in town for the weekend.

Links form around the conference after the jump.

Friday WSU practice report

From Pullman — Once again the Cougars practiced late at night on Friday because of finals, and indoors because of the snow on the ground. But the day wasn't done when practice ended for the WSU football players. According to the recruiting websites, a whole host of recruits are in town to visit the school and check out the football team, and many of the current players will spend the weekend hosting the prospects.

“Who they have in common with, sometimes what position they play or where they're from, that type of deal. And then you get an idea of their interests and major,” coach Mike Leach said of how they determine the players who will host individual recruits. 

A list of the recruits who are thought to be visiting this weekend can be found here. As you can see, they hail all the way from Hawaii to Florida.

“It's great,” offensive line coach Clay McGuire said. “We've got a lot to offer, Washington State's a great place and when you've got a good product to sell you're going to get some good kids up here and I definitely think we've got a big weekend with some real quality talent here.”

More on practice and WSU's recruiting weekend, after the jump.

WSU bowl rewind: 1931 Rose Bowl

Video courtesy of wazzulibrary on YouTube.

As part of the build up to Washington State's showdown with Colorado State in the New Mexico Bowl, we're going to take a brief look every day at one of the Cougars' previous bowl appearances. Today we kickoff the segment with the 1931 Rose Bowl, WSU's second bowl game.

Heading into the 1931 Rose Bowl both Alabama and Washington State were 9-0. The Crimson Tide were led by College Football Hall of Fame coach Wallace Wade, who later left Alabama to coach at Duke. Wade finished his career with a 171-49-10 coaching record in football, a 24-16 record in basketball and an 87-45-2 record coaching baseball.

Coaching the Cougars was Orin “Babe” Hollingberry, who achieved a 93-53-14 at WSU but only coached in one bowl game. Hollingberry led the Cougars to national rankings in 1941 and 1942 when the Associated Press ranked the team No. 19 and No. 17, respectively. Suiting up for WSU were future College Football Hall of Famers Mel Hein and Glen “Turk” Edwards.

More on the game, after the jump.

Deone Bucannon racks up honors

Video courtesy of WSU Athletics

Deone Bucannon has been a force for the Cougars at safety for four years. This season he lead the team in tackles with 109, forced fumbles with three, and his five interceptions are tied with Damante Horton for the team lead. More importantly, in his senior season Bucannon has led the Cougars to their first bowl game in 10 years.

With only one game left in his collegiate career, Bucannon has been piling up the awards and honors recently. Here's a list of the most prominent (bonus points for guessing which is my personal favorite):

  • Pre-NFL draft Senior Bowl invite.
  • Walter Camp Second Team All-American.
  • Athlon Sports First Team All-American.
  • First Team All-Pac-12.
  • Thorpe Award Semifinalist
  • CBS Sports Third Team All-American

Friday morning WSU links

From Pullman — The Cougars didn't practice yesterday but will return to the field this afternoon. My story in today's paper focuses on how the Washington State's coaches have used the bowl practices up to get extra time with young players and improve for next season … We go back in time to 1916 and take a look at WSU's first bowl game … John Blanchette has a feature on Colorado State coach Jim McElwain, who hails from Spokane … The Cougars continue to rack up the offensive tackle recruits.

Links from around the conference, after the jump.

WSU bowl rewind: 1916 Rose Bowl

Video courtesy of Tom Benjey on YouTube.

As part of the build up to Washington State's showdown with Colorado State in the New Mexico Bowl, we're going to take a brief look every day at one of the Cougars' previous bowl appearances. Today we kickoff the segment with the 1916 Rose Bowl, WSU's first-ever bowl game.

Back in 1916, the Rose Bowl was known as the Tournament East-West Football Game, and didn't officially become known as the “Rose Bow” until 1922. It was played as part of the Tournament of Roses starting in 1916. However, the 1916 game was actually the second ever East-West Football Game. The the first was played in 1902, but was so uncompetitive — Michigan beat Stanford, 49-0 — that it was dropped from the festivities. Football returned to the Tournament of Roses after the organizers decided that the chariot races that had taken its place were too dangerous.

Washington State, coached by William Henry “Lone Star” Dietz entered the game undefeated with a 6-0 record on the season. The Brown Bruins, coached by Eddie N. Robinson, entered the game 5-3 with one tie. Brown also had a running back by the name of Fritz Pollard, who was the first African-American to ever play in the Rose Bowl.

Find out what happened, after the jump.

Thursday morning Pac-12 links

From Pullman — Just nine more days until the Cougars take on Colorado State in the New Mexico Bowl, which means Washington State needs to make the most of its extra practice time. The upperclassmen are now spending all of practice with the younger players as the team gets ready to implement the game plan. We cover that in last night's practice report … In today's paper we have a story where some former coaches and players weigh in on WSU's return to the postseason … coach Mike Leach briefly flew down to Albuquerque yesterday for the bowl game's introductory press conference, and we've got a transcript … Yesterday we had our weekly WSU football chat and you can read the transcript here … Could the Cougars pick up a transfer at quarterback? … Both WSU and Colorado State's programs are in their formative years.

In basketball news, New Mexico State tried to knock No. 1 Arizona from its perch. It failed.

Football links from around the conference after these messages.

Wednesday WSU practice report

From Pullman — The Cougars had a 9 p.m. practice today to accomodate the players' finals schedules, and they will take tomorrow off. It was also the first bowl practice that the veteran players fully participated in, as WSU coaches devoted the first few to getting extra work for the underclassmen. The Cougars coaches said they practiced mostly 1's vs. 1's and will get into the game plan later in the week.

“It was really a chance for us to get some spring football in for the young guys,” linebackers coach Ken Wilson said. “Obviously we work with them on Thursday nights but this has been a chance for us to get them in position meetings and go over the base stuff and watch it on film, watch them get extended reps and see what we got out there.”

Wilson added that linebacker Jeremiah Allison has stood out amongst the underclassmen and has excelled at the BUCK position, a hybrid between linebacker and defensive end.

More from practice, after the jump.


Gildan New Mexico Bowl Press Conference

The Gildan New Mexico Bowl held its opening press conference today with coach Mike Leach of Washington State and Jim McElwain of Colorado State. Video and audio of the press conference were not available online, and it was not televised or on the radio, but the bowl provided transcripts of the coaches' remarks.

Transcriptions available after the jump.

Wednesday morning Pac-12 links

From Pullman — Plenty of WSU news today as we've got stories on the seniors who are continuing to add to their legacy on the football team, a notebook on why the Cougars basketball practice are extra intense this week, and blog posts looking at a pair of new offensive line commits, recapping what we saw of practice and taking a look at some extra presents WSU players will receive for the holidays.

Don't forget we'll have an 11 a.m. chat to talk football, basketball, bowls and more here on SportsLink.

Links from around the conference, after the jump.

Two more offensive linemen pledge their services to WSU

From Pullman — Reports are coming in that a pair of high school offensive tackles have declared their intentions to play football at Washington State. Andre Dillard is a 6'5, 240-pound senior at Woodinville High School, while Brandon Evers is 6'7 and 275 pounds. Rivals.com says that Evers plays center, while Scout.com maintains that he will be an offensive tackle. We suspect that the latter recruiting service is correct, unless the former was making a comment about Evers' ability to contribute to the basketball team.

Neither prospect has been given any stars from the recruiting websites yet.

Barry Bolton has the scoop on Evers, who committed on Tuesday:

Evers has been a powerhouse for Enterprise High the past two season up front. Early on in his football career he played QB and WR before finding his true calling on the offensive line. He's blocked for standout running backs the past two seasons in Brad Woods and Izzy Matthews at Enterprise.

Evers had offers from WSU and SDSU, with Oregon, Washington  and Stanford all showing varying shades of interest.

Tuesday WSU practice report

From Pullman — The Cougars again practiced indoors, meaning that we who are banned from practice (everyone) only saw the first 15 minutes (media only). What we saw was an upbeat group of Cougars who seemed excited to be heading to their first bowl game even though many of them had yet to hear about the gifts.

The Cougars won't have as many extra practice as most team thanks to an early game and finals week. But they're making the most of them, albeit with a slightly disheveled schedule.

“Well it’s a real erratic schedule, in the end you’d like to have a little more time off this week then we’re able to have,” coach Mike Leach said. “But the biggest thing, it hasn’t been too bad, you just bounce the schedule around and it seems like every day we’re practicing at a different time. That’s to accommodate their academics which is important.”

More after the jump.

Some Holiday gifts for bowl-bound Cougars

From Pullman — Win or lose, college football teams that play in bowl games don't come home empty handed. Bowls are allowed to give up to $550 worth of gifts to each player, and taking a look at the swag has become an annual part of the lore surrounding bowl games. SportsBusinessDaily.com has a list of what every school receives. Here is what the Cougars will collect:

  • Portable mobile device charger
  • Oakley Breadbox sunglasses
  • 8 GB USB drive
  • Oakley Fine Knit beanie
  • Oakley Flak Pack XL Backpack
  • Gildan Stadium blanket
  • A gift suite

What is a gift suite you may ask? Jeff Nusser of CougCenter.com has the details, after the jump.

Tuesday morning Pac-12 links

From Pullman — While there is no limit on the number of practices a bowl-bound team can take, Washington State won't be able to get many in before their Dec. 21 appearance in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl. With less than two weeks to prepare, the Cougars won't be able to devote many practices to the development of younger players. Complicating matters is the fact that it is finals week at WSU. So the Cougars will practice on Tuesday and Wednesday, take Thursday off, and then return to the field and practice all weekend. With temperatures in Pullman well below freezing, it is likely the team will continue to make use of their inflatable indoor practice facility.

In the paper we have a look at each of the Pac-12 bowl games, and on the blog we examine just how much money the Pac-12 lost by not getting a second team in a BCS bowl. Neil Stover of SWX and I talked about WSU and the New Mexico Bowl last night … If you're having trouble justifying the expensive airfare to Albuquerque WSU may be offering an alternative … WSU opened as four-point favorites over Colorado State … Braulio Perez reports that WSU has another commit on the offensive line.