The Cougar Lounge - Full Of Beans

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"It turned out he killed us."
- Assistant coach for the Oregon boys' team Nick Robertson, lamenting how Washington's best player, DeAngelo Casto – who has verbally committed to Wazzu – brought them down in the annual Northwest Shootout.
"But everybody, all they want to talk about is our free throws."

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- Memphis head men's hoop coach John Calipari getting annoyed a week before the Big Dance because people already knew poor free throw shooting was going to cost the Tigers somewhere down the line.
"I had a BMW station wagon. Who gets a BMW station wagon? It's the dumbest car in the world. Why would you buy a $75,000 station wagon?"
- New Oregon State head men's hoop coach Craig Robinson – who was highly successful in private business before attempting collegiate coaching – coming clean about some of his impulse buys. But sorry Craig, the title of Dumbest Car in the World, Station Wagon Category, would have to go to the Mercedes Benz checking in at a paltry $86k.
"On a personal note, I'd like to say that I've long been a fan of Mr. Peabody as well as his boy Sherman."
- Comedian Stephen Colbert, in regard to winning a Peabody Award [awarded to the best in electronic media].
Truth made an appearance in the Lounge last week as yet another Wazzu team joined the long line of Wazzu teams dominating the Huskies lately – but before we get to the women's rowing team and their third consecutive win over the Huskies – there are a few odds and ends to clear up with the Big Dance. While everybody was busy watching the Kansas Corn and Memphis Elvii [plural of Elvises, stop pretending like you didn't know that and nobody gets hurt] play hot potato in the national championship game last week - before the Elvii decided to give us all an awesome display of their free-throw shooting prowess - CBS was busy making money, the proverbial boatloads of it, some of it from advertising. Aw hell, who are we foolin'? Much of it from advertising. Some of that advertising money came from companies that produce – horror of horrors – beer! Beer has this secret ingredient in it to which we will refer to as Ingredient X but which others will brazenly call alcohol. As we all recall from the Cliff Notes from the lecture in Upstanding Moral Values 101 class, Ingredient X is responsible for crime, disease, war, sex and Billy Packer and/or Seth Davis [football aficionados feel free to insert Trev Alberts in this slot A, then bend tab into slot B and toss into the lake]. Since Ingredient X is so obviously to blame for virtually all of society's ills, it made complete sense – at least to the approximately 100 college presidents and athletic directors who signed off on a diatribe to NCAA president Myles Brand - asking him change the NCAA policy allowing beer company advertising during the March Madness telecasts because it sent the "wrong message" to impressionable youth. Currently, the policy limits Ingredient X advertising to products that do not exceed – heavens to Betsy! – 6% Ingredient X content and allows that advertising to take place in only one minute per hour of any telecast. Here is the funny part. According to Nielsen ratings for this year's Big Dance, 88% of the viewers were over 21 and the median age was…wait for it…47.
Meanwhile, in the NOTY - aka, the Name of the Year contest – Davidsonesque darkhorse 10-seed Spaceman Africa [who the wily Lounge had selected as our darkhorse] has already gone beyond where Davidson ever did and appears headed toward a national title showdown, possibly with Steeve Ho You Fat. But wait! The NIT of weird names has already been decided and that winner is Iona Knipl.
In the soap opera that has become the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, there have been several episodes since we last checked in. First, there was the episode called "The Case of the Coughing Marathoner" in which Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie - the reigning world men's marathon champ and arguably the world's greatest distance runner in this generation, decided he would rather skip the marathon than cough up a lung in Beijing's infamous pollution. Gebrselassie will run the sprint known as the 10,000 instead. In the next episode, "The Case of the Invisible Heptathlete" – Sweden's Carolina Kluft – the reigning world heptathlon champ and arguably the world's greatest heptathlete in this generation, decided she, too, would rather skip the heptathlon - cutting back and focusing on the long jump and triple jump instead – although, her curious explanation is that she has lost the "hunger" of competition and does not mention anything about China's human rights atrocities or gritty pollution affecting her decision.
In "Episode Three: The Empire Strikes Back" the three-ring circus known as the Olympic torch relay, after encountering unruly opposition in London and Paris, successfully made it through San Francisco when the IOC [International Olympic Committee] and China along with the help of San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom, saw the 10,000 people assembled to protest the torch relay on the official route and instead, played a game of Where's Waldo? with the torch, escorting it surreptitiously through the city sometimes by vehicle for private screenings with residents of Van Ness Boulevard, the Marina District and the Presidio – which would be wealthy blue hairs, seagulls and transients. Finally, in the most recent episode – "Revenge of the Stitch" – in a stunning announcement that had fashion mavens everywhere plucking their eyebrows out, the USOC [United State Olympic Committee], bucking a trend of everything being "Made in China", made it official and declared Polo Ralph Lauren as the official apparel designers for the team in both the opening and closing ceremonies.
So, as we were saying, in addition to the Cougars beating the Huskies again in women's rowing – joining men's basketball, soccer and football in defeating the Dawgs this year – there was also the matter of free doughnuts and free pizza while the tennis team was recording their 14th and 15th wins of the year over State schools from Montana and Portland. Doughnuts and pizza – it does not get any better than that – and free is a very good price.
"It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out – they were stuck in a rut," ironically says Anne Elk, of the decision not to play a men's hoop game in Spokane this season.
Well, Anne, the numbers spoke for themselves and they spoke loud and clear to athletic director Jim Sterk and head men's hoop coach Tony Bennett. In the 10 games played in Spokane during the current five-year Bennett Era, the average attendance has been 3,705. The Lounge clientele was willing to cut Spokane folk some slack for the first year, when Spokane's two games [UCLA and USC] averaged around 2900, because everybody in the clientele – even the iron-gutted stalwart Father Lotto - was still experiencing a severe Paul Graham hangover. Because we are a benevolent Lounge, we will even forgive Spokane folk for clinging tenaciously in Year Two of Spokane games [Stanford and Cal – approximately a 3,250 average], to their love affair with Gonzaga. After all, that makes perfect sense as the Zags had more mojo than the Cougars at that time. But by Year Three of the Bennett Era, it had become apparent that Wazzu was the horse to ride in this race and while Spokane folk were slow to arrive to that conclusion, they did eventually, see the light [3138 for BYU that year, followed by 6684 for Arizona]. Or did they? Last year – as Wazzu began their initial NCAA run – only 3128 for the Boise State game and then, this year, coming off a Big Dance appearance and destined for another one which would turn out to be a Sweet 16 showing – only a pathetic 11,618 for three games [Montana, Mississippi Valley State and Air Force] WSU gave them – and the Delta Devils wound up being a Big Dance opponent [The Lounge will refrain from judging the worth of MVSU as an opponent – but they were in the Big Dance and The Citadel was not – and there were also games against Montana and Air Force for fans to attend in Spokane]. The Cougars got almost the same attendance [11,120] for the Oregon game in Pullman this year. Needless to say, Seattle's KeyArena, was more kind, attracting 12,471 in virtually the same time frame and with an arguably lesser opponent [The Citadel]. In retrospect, no rocket science required here.
"I like how the offense is looking!" says Attila the Nun, speaking about the just-completed spring football practice.
Spring football has always been a mysterious animal, lurking in the jungle like a tiger, waiting to pounce on an unsuspecting man-cub, then retreating to fight with a bear and get his tail lit on fire…wait, that sounds familiar. Well, anyway, the Cougar offense is beginning to have the look of a tiger with its tail on fire, especially if we are to judge by the final two scrimmages of the year where incoming Cougars #1 quarterback Gary Rogers has been having stellar numbers as has his backup, Kevin Lopina and as have the various receivers and running backs. This is all the work of new Cougar head coach Paul Wulff and his staff as they begin installing the framework of what will become the no-huddle offense that was so successful for them at Eastern Washington University over the years. It may not be an exact indicator of future football success on the Palouse – there are many experienced faces missing now due to injury and academics as well as many new faces arriving in August that can alter the picture – but it does appear to be a solid foundation of what Cougar fans and well-wishers can expect.
We feel the pain of the Memphis Elvii…well, no, really we don't because we did not have them in the final game in our pool and neither do many others who know how to make their free throws, including this fictional 10-year-old girl. But the next time a team has trouble making their free throws, you can be sure there are probably only two areas to place blame – the media or Ingredient X.
Finally, the Lounge Scientists, inspired by last week's study of internet addiction, have discovered the basis for why Husky fans feel the way they do – pain, anger, resentment - when a team of Cougars wins an athletic contest against them. Laboratory mice at UW were intentionally injected with the drug methamphetamine to see what areas of the brain were affected and it was learned that interneurons were responsible for dictating excessive dopamine release in conjunction with the drug injection. But the drug initially releases one type of dopamine then suppresses it later, giving credence to the theory of drug addiction that addicts must have drugs to restore their brain's normal operation [which is an abnormal state of dopamine release]. Thus, similarly, when interneurons are running brain matters of UW fans in such a manner, they can only be in their normal mental state when the Cougars win and the Huskies lose.
"That's really where the [addiction] switch is," says Lounge Scientist #31, Nigel Bamford, a researcher at – where else - the University of Washington, who is reputedly trying to work on finding a way to inject mice with a chemical that will make them win against Cougars.
There is no confirmation that this chemical has been referred to as Chemical X.
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