Both quarterbacks hold an equal number of school records; the records of the teams they led were similar; both were first-round draft choices.
But when the votes of a 13-member panel were counted, Drew Bledsoe (1990-92) edged Jack Thompson (1975-78) by a 2-1 margin as the quarterback of Washington State University's all-time football team. One vote went to Mark Rypien (1983-85).
The team was chosen for the Spokane Spokesman-Review as a way to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Cougar football. It all began in 1894 when Washington Agricultural College beat Idaho 10-0 and lost to Spokane High School 18-0.
The offensive team: quarterback - Bledsoe, Walla Walla; running backs - Rueben Mayes (1982-85), North Battleford, Saskatoon; Keith Lincoln (1958-60), Monrovia, Calif.; Steve Broussard (1986-89), Los Angeles; receivers - Hugh Campbell (1960-62), Saratoga, Calif.; Gail Cogdill (1957-59), Spokane; Mike Levenseller (1975-77), Tacoma; tackles - Turk Edwards (1929-31), Clarkston; Laurie Niemi (1946-48), Clarkston; guards - Mike Utley (1985-88), Seattle; Steve Ostermann (1972-74), Arlington Heights, Ill.; center - Mel Hein (1928-30), Burlington.
The defensive team: linemen - Keith Millard (1981-83), Pleasanton, Calif.; Erik Howard (1982-85), San Jose, Calif.; DeWayne Patterson (1991-94), Oakland, Calif.; Dale Gentry (1938-41), Walla Walla; linebackers - Mark Fields (1992-94), Cerritos, Calif.; LaVerne Torgeson (1948-50), Lacrosse; Brian Forde (1985-87), Montreal; backs - Clancy Williams (1962-64), Renton; Ken Greene (1974-77), Omak; Don Paul (1947-49), Fife; Bill Gaskins (1963-65), Spokane.
The specialists: kicker - Jason Hanson (1988-91), Spokane; punter - Gavin Hedrick (1974-77), Costa Mesa, Calif.; returns - Jerry Williams (1946-48), Spokane.
Coach: Babe Hollingbery (1926-42).
Bledsoe, who became the No. 1 pick (by New England) in the 1993 NFL draft, was 14-14 as a Cougar starter. Thompson's teams went 13-16-1 before he was selected No. 3 (by Cincinnati) in the 1979 draft. Bledsoe's 1992 team beat Washington in a Pullman snowstorm; Thompson's clubs never beat the Cougars' archrival.
Players identified as "virtually unanimous" selections were Hein, Edwards, Campbell, Williams, Mayes, Millard, Utley, Hanson and Fields.
The 1948 and 1985 teams had the most representatives.
Williams, Paul, Torgeson and Niemi were on the 1948 team; Mayes, Utley, Forde and Howard were on the 1985 squad.
It can't get much better
No wonder USC is unbeaten.
Going into their sixth game of the season (Saturday against Washington State) the Trojans have had just one turnover - a pass interception by No. 3 quarterback Matt Koffler in the season-opener against Arizona State.
The first two quarterbacks, Brad Otton and Kyle Wachholtz, have attempted 166 passes without throwing an interception; the Trojans have rushed 200 times and fumbled six, but recovered all of them.
USC has recovered two opponent fumbles and intercepted eight passes.
Luck and good execution are involved, Coach John Robinson said.
"None of us want to take a lot of credit for it," Robinson said. "It's like rolling the dice and winning in Las Vegas. What do you say, `Oh, I twist my wrist over like this when I roll 'em?' "
The NCAA Division I-A record low for turnovers in a regular season is eight by Miami of Ohio in 1966. Miami played 10 games and went 9-1. The Trojans will play 11.
Wait a minute
Apparently Steve Bisheff, Orange County Register columnist, isn't overly impressed with USC's low turnover rate.
"On one hand, they are unbeaten, in first place in the Pac-10 and the clear front-runners for the conference's Rose Bowl bid," Bisheff wrote.
"On the other, they are the shakiest 5-0 team in America.
"Their stats are great, their defense undeniably improved and their star wide receiver is currently running 1-2-3 on most early Heisman Trophy ballots.
"But their offense slips in and out of sync, their point production has been embarrassingly low early in games and their schedule so far has been full of more creampuffs than a Don King fight card."
A must-win for Bears
California Coach Keith Gilbertson is facing a must-win situation against Oregon on Saturday if he hopes to shore up eroding support for his program, according to Ron Bergman of the San Jose Mercury News.
"After a 1-4 start - the worst for Cal since Bruce Snyder's first season, 1987 - Gilbertson has to win this week and down the road if he expects to return next year for a fifth season," Bergman wrote.
"We need a victory against any football team," Gilbertson said. "I feel urgent about everything."
Gilbertson's finest hour at Cal came against Oregon two years ago. Down 30-0 in the second quarter and 30-7 at halftime, the Bears came back to win 42-41 when Gilbertson went for a last-minute two-point conversion. It was the third-biggest comeback in NCAA annals.
One-sport athlete? Not Ogden
UCLA's outstanding offensive tackle, Jonathan Ogden, helps keep himself in shape by playing basketball.
"I play a lot of basketball," the 6-foot-8 Ogden told writer Art Thompson of the Orange County Register.
Asked if he had any game, Ogden looked astonished and replied, "I can dunk. I've got the `J.' I've got the handles. I've got it all. I'm from D.C. Everybody in D.C. can play."
As a 325-pound senior at tiny St. Alban's High School in Washington, D.C., Ogden apparently was an exceptional basketball player.
"He put our school on the map, in my opinion," said Cal basketball guard Anwar McQueen, who was a year behind Ogden at St. Alban's.
-- USC (5-0) and Stanford (4-0-1) are two of only 10 Division I-A teams still undefeated. The others are Florida, Florida State, Iowa, Kansas, Kansas State, Nebraska, Ohio State and Toledo, where ex-UW assistant Gary Pinkel is the head coach.
-- Stanford's start is its best since starting 9-0 in the Rose Bowl season of 1951.
-- Home teams have gone 6-6 in Pac-10 games. . . . USC has the Pac-10's longest winning streak (six games); Washington State has the longest home winning streak at four games.
Washington 24, at Stanford 21 - The Huskies are eager to erase memory of bitter loss to Notre Dame; bye week has cost Cardinal momentum.
At USC 21, Washington State 14 - Can't a team that beat Oregon State by 26 find a way to beat the Trojans? Probably not.
At California 24, Oregon 14 - Bears find a way to win one for Gilbertson.
At UCLA 21, Arizona 10 - Two-dimensional Bruins (they play offense and defense) are better than one-dimensional Wildcats.
At Arizona State 31, BYU 21 - Sun Devils run into somebody they can beat.
Last week: 3-2. Season: 15-7-1.