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December 4, 2011"I'm excited about being part of the future of Washington State."
- New Wazzu head football coach Mike Leach after accepting the job as the Cougars' new head pirate.
"I'm pretty sure almost every point I scored was from a dish from my teammates."
- Wazzu forward Charlie Enquist, who scored a double-double career high of 20 points and 13 rebounds in Wazzu's 75-49 demolition of Eastern Washington University this weekend.
"It's one of those things where I didn't really want it to end - but end it did - and we'll move on."
- Former UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel after his Bruins lost in the inaugural Pac-12 football championship game to Oregon - ending his tenure at UCLA.
"When you drink vodka over ice, it can give you kidney failure. When you drink rum over ice, it can give you liver failure. When you drink whiskey over ice, it can give you heart problems. When you drink gin over ice, it can give you brain problems. Apparently, ice is really bad for you."
- Important advice from the Ice Research Institute of Iceland [fictional].
The amount of giddiness currently measured in the Lounge is hovering dangerously close to those levels indicating insanity. Only a filament of fanaticism separates Wazzu fans and well-wishers from going completely bonkers and slapping on a wooden peg leg, an eye patch, a hook for a hand and then going down to the Used Pirate Ship dealership on Grand - the one that is going to open between now and spring football once the Pullman merchants begin realizing their marketing opportunities have exploded - and preparing for the 2012 Wazzu football season just over nine months away. Now that former Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach has been hired to direct Wazzu's version of the Black Pearl - it seems like a new world has suddenly opened up for Wazzu fans and well-wishers. Athletic director Bill Moos knows their wallets have opened up since Leach's hiring with hundreds of season ticket orders and thousands of dollars coming into Wazzu's empty coffers not only from Wazzu fans and well-wishers proper but also from well-meaning and good-intentioned Texas Tech fans and well-wishers just happy to see their former top pirate finally get a gig again. It has truly been a phenomenally good week for the Wazzu football program and all the gratitude for that can be directed to Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott., whose ability to swing a monstrous television network deal with ESPN [ironically, the network against whom Leach still has a lawsuit pending] gave Moos the money he needed to bring Wazzu football back to respectability and - potentially - winning a Pac-12 Championship in the future. Scott started it, Moos directed it and now Leach will be in Pullman to finish it.
Leach replaces former head coach Paul Wulff, which caused some constipation among the geriatric set as well as those who had forged an unholy union to a regime which produced a 9-40 overall record in four years - an 18% winning percentage that is the worst four-year stretch under a single head coach in Wazzu football history "by a long, long way" as Wulff was fond of saying in dissing his predecessor Bill Doba. In fact, the next-nearest mark of futility was 21% under Jim Sweeney from 1968-71 and Sweeney was never able to win more than seven games in a season [once] before he was mercifully fired as well. Wulff's offensive lines were bad when he started and bad when he left and his defenses were in the same league with the butcher. But Wulff was not always synonymous with bad football, he did bring a handful of legitimate Pac-12 talent to Pullman in receiver Marquess Wilson, defensive back Damante Horton and linebacker C.J. Mizell [though Mizell resides more in Potential Land than the others] - and rightfully deserves credit for bringing those players into the program as well as mostly rejuvenating the offense into a yardage-producing [read: not points or wins] offense. It just was not enough and it was clearly not enough to win as Wulff won only a paltry four league games over the four years - none over a team with seven wins or more. In the end, Moos had a difficult - but clear - decision to make and he made it [with the help of Scott] and Wazzu football is now poised to potentially achieve the levels of greatness it once had attained in the glory years of the multiple 10-win seasons of a decade ago. Wazzu fans and well-wishers now have that one crucial element that had gone missing the last four years - hope.
They do not, however, have a defense and Leach is not known for his defensive units - relying instead on outscoring opponents. During his time at Texas Tech, Leach had only one Top 25 scoring defense [in 2005] but generally speaking, his defenses were never horrifically bad. In fact, Leach had only one scoring defense during his tenure  that was worse than the 2011 Cougar unit which allowed 32 points per game. The rest of the time, Leach's defenses mostly kept opposing teams in the 20s while his offense was outscoring them.
One thing Leach will not expect for his new team of Wazzu pirates is for them to bring him daily snacks as psychology professor George Parrott required of his slaves, uh, we mean, students, taking his Psychology 101 lab at Sacramento State. Apparently Parrott was testing some sort of Pavlovian theory to determine how long it would take students to continually bring him snacks before they determined something was amiss with that educator-student equation. The answer can now officially be reported as 39 years after Parrott walked out of his lab class last month when he found no new snacks delivered by students.
"I am so excited I think I am going to pee my pants," says Miss Fortune after the announcement of Leach as the new Wazzu head football coach.
Well, Miss F, we feel it is our newly appointed pirate duty to inform you that rarely - if ever - do pirates pee their pants [at least not out of excitement]. But we can understand your level of excitement as Wazzu fans and well-wishers - as well as many others from across the nation - have been deluging both the Lounge and CougZone with their happy pirate-y thoughts in the last week. In fact, the numbers are unprecedented for happy news [the only more popular period was when Tony Bennett left for Virginia[/db] 2.5 years ago - a decidedly unhappy moment] and, after the last four years, the Lounge can truly say it is a welcome sight to see with just about everybody about at the same time about the same thing and only a minimal amount of whining that is quickly overwhelmed by the joyous occasion. Drink it in, Miss F, you will have nine months of unadulterated joy and then the 2012 football season will begin and it will officially be time to put on your pirate face [and hopefully keep your pants dry].
"What does this mean for Wazzu football - can I start feeling good again?" asks e. e. sneezelle, about future giddiness plans he would like to make.
You officially have the Lounge's permission to begin feeling not good - but great - again, e.e. You have nine months of feel-good time coming to you that you have built up over the last four years and, now that you know Leach's defenses are not as horrific as this year's defense, it means you actually have a decent stab at a bowl game next year, so set aside some money for that. Also, while you are setting aside wads of cash, make sure to set aside some doubloons for the Wazzu football program in the event of plundering attempts from pirate bands around the country once Leach begins his winning ways [the ways which brought him a bowl game invite in every one of his years as head coach at Texas Tech - even that one bad defense year].
Now that Wazzu has hired Captain Leach to take control of the Wazzu Pearl, it is time for Wazzu fans and well-wishers to begin acting like pirates and that means they will have to begin going to Pirate School - where they will be expected to take rigorous classes in Pillaging, Plundering, Chandelier Swinging, Sea Shanty Singing, Treasure Burying, Pirate Beard Maintenance and, of course, Rum Drinking.
With the hiring of Leach, the Lounge Scientists wanted to find out what it would be like for future opponents to try and defense the offense of Captain Leach and - well, it did not look pretty. The Scientists have determined that a typical defense trying to stop a typical Captain Leach-run offense will wind up smoking, exploding and eventually becoming extinct - much in the same way as the mass extinction that killed off the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. In order to give people an understanding of what that would be like, the scientists offered a chilling - or rather, fiery - example.
"Imagine drying out the Amazon and burning it up it's not going to be terribly pleasant," says Lounge Scientist #25.2 Douglas Erwin, a paleobiologist at the Smithsonian Institution who, reputedly, has already tested out his theory on ants and miniature replicas of the Washington Husky defense.
Captain Leach, pirates - all this and nog too? Too much for the Lounge clientele to handle.
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