Samoa Samoa, Rose Bowl quarterback? Well, folks have fetched farther into the realm of the far fetched.
Only to be rudely awakened.
Samoa -- successor to the Throwin' Samoan, Jack Thompson -- plays for Washington State. And everybody knew that the University of Washington had wrapped up the New Year's spot as Pac-10-minus-five representative against the winner of Saturday's Michigan-Ohio State (WJLA-TV-7, 12:35 kickoff). But wait.
Washington State, 3-3 in the league to Washington's 5-1, and 51 years removed from its last Rose Bowl appearance, grasped at a straw. If its loss to Arizona State, one of the "minus five" ineligible for this season's Pasadena special because of transgressions could be reversed, the Cougar record would be 4-2 going into Saturday's game with the Huskies. On Oct. 11, Arizona State beat WSU, 27-21. Shortly thereafter, reports surfaced that four Sun Devil players might have been ineligible, allegedly having sold complimentary tickets prior to games last year. Well, what about it, WSU Athletic Director Sam Jankovich urged the conference. Get on with the investigation, and if warranted, make Arizona State forfeit that victory.
Then the Cougars, by beating the Huskies, could match Washington at 5-2 and win the Pasadena trip by virtue of the head-to-head result.
But the word came late yesterday from pac-10 Commissioner Wiles Hallock: The four ASU players in question had been granted immunity by the NCAA in exchange for testimony; thus, no forfeits.
"I didn't know about the immunity," sighed Jankovich. "The case is closed. Washington is going to the Rose Bowl."