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November 14, 2010

The Cougar Lounge - Postponed Pudding


"That's what we talked about as a team. If we're going to be successful, we need to be unselfish and win as a team."

- Wazzu head men's hoops coach Ken Bone, after the Cougars had four players in double digits in scoring in a blowout 86-47 win over Southern University last week.




"Washington State does a great job, they're a much-improved team from last year."

- Saint Mary's head women's hoop coach Paul Thomas after the Gaels defeated the Cougars, 73-69, in the 2010-11 season opener at Moraga, California.




"I thought we put ourselves in position to give ourselves an opportunity to win at least two sets in Game Two and Game Three."

- Wazzu head volleyball coach Andrew Palileo after last week's sweeping loss California, keeping the Cougars winless in conference play.




"The Irish, we'll take anything. When we go to a restaurant, if the food is [expletive], we don't complain. Will we send it back? Never! I wouldn't give them the satisfaction! I'll eat it all and throw up at home."

- Irish comedian Joe Rooney, explaining how his native Irishmen handle adversity as opposed to the French who "burn cars and throw sheep" every time their government even thinks about reforms.








Cougar fans and well-wishers were understandably estranged from the Washington State University football program this season after their many quarrels. The Cougar fans and well-wishers were demanding wins [actions speak louder than words] and the football program was responding with improvement, pina coladas and long walks on the beach. After yet another week of broken promises and lipstick on their collars with the California game last week, the Wazzu football program finally fessed up and said they could have won all along and were just waiting for the right moment to break the big news. That moment came on Saturday when the Oregon State Beavers lined up as the victim and Wazzu proceeded to, well, to put it diplomatically, took their rodent tail and slapped them around with it - to the tune of 31-14 [officially a "blowout" margin of victory according to the television announcers - which will be duly noted for further future discussion]. There were so many good things associated with this victory that it would be too difficult to list them all here at this time. Suffice it to say that the biggest element to this Wazzu win was that - strange as it may sound - it was not against the Washington Huskies.

Make no mistake about it, Cougars and Cougar fans and well-wishers always like beating Huskies into a pulp [just ask the soccer team] - but when the only Pac-10 wins in the last three years are against a pair of hapless Husky teams, it does instill a healthy amount of doubt as to whether or not Wazzu could actually beat any other of the eight teams currently in the conference. Until Saturday, that answer had been a rather convincing "no" but quickly turned into a resounding "yes!" as Wazzu not only opened up a large lead [21-0] last seen, historians surmise, when dinosaurs roamed the planet, but kept that lead intact long enough to win the game. Not only that, Wazzu did not let the Beavers even come close to threatening their lead and winning the game. The Cougars won this game, fair and square. Well, okay, the Beavers helped a little by missing tackles, fumbling and throwing interceptions - hmmmm….that sounds familiar - but you will hear no complaints nor reservations from the consensus of the Lounge clientele. This was the kind of game - minus the Cougar fumbles, of course - Cougar fans and well-wishers were expecting back in September. It is two months late in arriving but, thankfully for the mental stability of the relationship between Cougar fans and well-wishers and the program, it arrived and now the marriage counselor, over the next three weeks, can work out the subsequent details of what to do about the 2011 season.



Meanwhile, speaking of Husky haplessness, Washington athletic director Scott Woodward made a disparaging remark about Oregon academics last week that brought humor in from all angles. First, it was funny because it was mostly true that Oregon focuses large amounts of money on the superficial notions of branding and marketing images rather than educating its students - that is not exactly ground-breaking news. Second, it had to be considered humorous that criticism for this was coming from an athletic director who originally came from LSU - a school currently ranked 124th in the latest U.S. News and World Report college rankings [as opposed to Oregon's 111th ranking] and not known for - ahem - adherence to stringent academic ideals within its athletic structures. Basically, in SEC athletics, the unspoken rule is, - if you think you can get away with it, go for it! But perhaps the most humorous portion of this story was when Woodward made what was clearly a transparent apology after the remark and then was symbolically grabbed by the ear and pulled back to the figurative podium like a 10-year-old little boy by interim school president Phyllis Wise, and told to apologize again [this time like you mean it, young man!].

But academic prowess could be overrated. Take the curious case of Stanford running back Anthony Wilkerson and head coach Jim Harbaugh. With the Cardinal leading 17-13 and sitting at the Arizona State 23-yard line with 1:38 remaining in the game and the Sun Devils out of time outs, Wilkerson was handed the ball and ran around the left end where he was faced with a clear path to the end zone. Wilkerson ran 19 yards down that path untouched until - with nothing but air standing between him and the goal line - he inexplicably sat down on the four yard line. After the game, it was revealed that Harbaugh had instructed Wilkerson to not score even if he had the opportunity as he wanted to merely run out the clock with a four-point lead rather than give the ball back to the Sun Devils with no worse than a 10-point lead with under 90 seconds to play. Of course, that created a ruckus in Las Vegas casino sports books as bettors who had Arizona State to cover on Stanford's 4.5-point spread were ecstatic with Harbaugh and Wilkerson's tactic while those who had the Trees were, not surprisingly, less-than-enthusiastic about the concept.

The Lounge was intrigued to see the latest BCS Taliban standings. Oregon remains atop the standings - though we will be interested to see if the Nikes are punished for only beating California by two measly points - but the interesting portion comes with TCU and Boise State, the two interlopers amongst the so-called bigger conferences. Barring an unforeseen collapse, Oregon is going to finish out the 2010 regular season as the undefeated Pac-10 champion, but who will they play in the national championship game? Currently there are three undefeated teams vying for that spot and if Auburn stumbles in their silly conference championship game setup, then it could be reduced to TCU and Boise State. A remote chance [after watching Oregon State this weekend] even exists that both Oregon and Auburn could lose and TCU could play Boise State for the national championship. Imagine the huffing and puffing that would incur. Anyone for a playoff, yet?

The crack Lounge research department was back on the case last week and discovered that 66% of Americans have a daily cup of coffee and perhaps most interestingly, 40% of the youngest coffee drinkers [18-24 year olds] believe drinking coffee improves their already microscopically-short attention spans [Lounge researchers estimate this improvement is represented in milliseconds - from .59 to .78 milliseconds of bonus concentration]. Instead, younger adults tend to put more credence into energy drinks for concentration enhancement but are unable to remember why until after the crash.

"Finally!" exults Tuff Dittle, about Wazzu's first football win over a Pac-10 opponent in 17 tries.

Everybody in the Lounge clientele breathed a sigh of relief on Saturday as Wazzu finally tossed a large piano off their backs with the upset win over the Oregon State Beavers - which seemed ironic given OSU's history of futility - and now the big question remains. Is it good enough to justify another year of employment for head coach Paul Wulff? That is a question that will be answered in a few weeks, but for now, the clientele will enjoy the victory as, for once this year, they watched another team make more mistakes than the Cougars did. To be sure, it was not a completely pristine victory for Wazzu, but who is quibbling when it is the first win in three years over a Pac-10 team that is not the Huskies? Now the Cougars can rest with a well-deserved two-week bye and prepare for that team called the Huskies when they come in for the Apple Cup in Pullman on the first Saturday of December. If a coaching decision is made by athletic director Bill Moos between now and then, it is expected to be announced before the Apple Cup.

"That was fairly uneventful," says Fester G. Willikers about the men's hoop win in their regular season opener.

Yes, it was not the most scintillating of victories nor opponents, Fester, but what would you rather have - a close win over a questionable opponent or a loss to a better opponent? Wazzu won by a large margin as expected and made everybody happy. But probably the best part of the win according to the Lounge consensus is that JC newcomer Faisal Aden is proving to be consistent about not being shy with his offensive production. Aden led the Cougars in scoring again - after leading them in scoring in the exhibition win over Lewis-Clark State - and even if the opponents are not Pac-10 caliber, it is still good for Aden, the Cougars and head coach Ken Bone to see that they have some potential offensive productivity outside of their known extremely large offensive weapon named Klay Thompson. If Aden can produce double digits when the opponents get noticeably tougher along the way, then all that remains to be seen is if Wazzu can improve enough defensively to the point where they are consistently holding opponents under 60 points per game. If that occurs, the Big Dance will beckon with open arms.



It is a known fact of life that social media contributes to short attention span and prolonged irritability as people monitor their FaceTwitBook pages so often that they forget how to respond to real life people except in facial configurations mirroring emoticons or in 14 words or less. Which is why it is so important to pay attention with all your might to Lamebook - a parody of Facebook which displays some of the lamest of the actual site - and there is, of course, enough lameness to support the site into eternity - even without the "what kind of asian are you?"-type posts.

The Lounge Scientists have to live up to their names occasionally [it is in their contracts], so this week's research focuses on cocktail efficiency [such as one might be expecting in a lounge] and toward that end, scientists have produced the world's bestest-ever cocktail making machine. Previous attempts have been foiled by having chilled ice create blockades inside pipes coming from beer-like dispensing taps. But no more! Scientists have invented and perfected a machine which, through the use of "trade secrets" keeps the ice from damming up the pipes and the cocktail freely flowing into the glasses without creating an ordering logjam at the bar - cocktails can be created in a mere 30 seconds.

"Even a big group of, say, 15 friends can get served in a reasonable amount of time. But I'm a scientist, so I don't have 15 friends," says Lounge Scientist #15, Eric Wilkinson, a scientist with Cambridge Consultants [the machine's inventing firm] who, reportedly, has 14.5 friends.

The first customers for the new machine? All the losing bettors on the Stanford-Arizona State game.




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