football Edit

The Cougar Lounge - We Be Illin

"It was fun while it lasted."
- Former Wazzu defensive back Romeo Pellum, the self-proclaimed "best corner" on a team that gave up a 58% completion rate to the opposition [when they had to pass] who was suspended for a variety of illegal, unsavory actions [including theft from his own teammate] then left the team, on his way out the Palouse door – leaving the question of what, exactly, was the "fun" part and for whom was it fun?
"If it was someone else, I don't even think we'd be talking about it."
- Garmin race director Matt White attempting – feebly – to divert attention from his team's questionable late race tactics which robbed well-liked American rider George Hincapie of what is possibly his last reasonable chance at a stage victory in Stage 14 of the Tour de France.
"I really don't care."
- 17-year-old American sailor Zac Sunderland, making the typical teenage response to the possibility that his recent record as the youngest person to sail around the world solo could be broken by a British teen.
"I watched Perry Mason every week with my dad, my mom and my brother and we watched the clock and we knew when it was two minutes to the half-hour, that the real murderer would stand up and confess. It was a great show."
- Minnesota senator Al Franken recalling his youthful days watching Perry Mason and identifying the usual timeline routine [closer to the hour than half-hour, according to the Lounge's calculations] of each episode when the murderer was unmasked, during questioning in the Supreme Court confirmation hearing of Sonia Sotomayor.
The summer doldrums are officially upon us. This week is the most paltry of the year when it comes to the amount of collegiate athletics offerings to the ravenous public. School has not begun, the three main autumn sports – football, soccer and volleyball – have not yet begun their official practices and the games are even farther away. Soccer begins the 2009 season in 32 days, volleyball begins a week after that and football is last in line with a September 5 start – in other words, an eternity in each case. We can hardly stand it, but if we are experiencing the jitters, we know it is 10 times worse for the athletes and coaches – so we can at least find some relief in the fact that we are not those poor saps and on the verge of high anxiety in the middle of summer.
So, with so much time on everybody's hands, the first thing to do, of course, is to look back at last year and figure out how the Cougars did in the annual Apple Cup all-sports battle with the rival University of Washington and, uh, it was not so good. Of the 17 sports contested by both schools, Wazzu was able to get the upper hand in only five – baseball, football, men's indoor and outdoor track and field and women's golf – to go along with a tie in soccer. Baseball enjoyed a nice sweep of the Huskies on their way to their first NCAA appearance in 19 years, football had a horrible year but sweet and dramatic final win over the Huskies and track and field's wins were punctuated by the continuing impressive progressions of superstar Jeshua Anderson.
Past those three highlights, not much to see there, so, moving on, we come to some more uplifting news – the announcement that Wazzu is #7 in the nation in a recent gender equity study for Division I collegiate athletics. The report, based on five criteria [participation, scholarship, operating budget, recruiting budget and coaching salaries] is especially satisfying for the Cougars as WSU is not only one of 12 schools to garner an "A" grade in collegiate athletic gender equity for their athletic department but also are the top school in the Pac-10, top school on the West Coast and second-best BCS-conference school [behind Penn State] in the land. That list is impressive as Wazzu defeats every Pacific Northwest Division I school by comfortable margins– but especially wallop Oregon and Boise State - which come in at 106th and 107th respectively, out of 115 schools and receive "F" grades along with USC. As the top school on the West Coast, Wazzu beat out Hawai'i and Nevada, but perhaps most impressively of all, Stanford, which was ranked ninth, and recently won their 15th consecutive NACDA Director's Cup last month. Name the school on the West Coast and Wazzu defeated it - beating schools which had more money [Stanford], focused the vast majority of all their attentions to football [USC and Boise State] and, in some cases, both [USC].
UCLA, which finished 58th [and with a "C-" grade] is seeking to make up for that discrepancy by doing two things – having their men's basketball program require a $517,000 donation for a courtside seat in the renovated Pauley Pavilion due to be completed for the 2012-13 season. Gee, that sounds like a reasonable request in this economy and the Lounge is sure all those IOU recipients in the state of California will understand the wise usage of that money – most likely after they are dead from starvation. But, of course, the Bruins do not stop there, you have to have something for the ladies, otherwise, how is the ranking going to vault all the way to the "C" range? Why, UCLA has just the thing – auctioning off a ride [40 total] with Lance Armstrong and Tour de France television announcer Phil Liggett to benefit the Bruins' women's soccer program. Since it is soccer, we would think one might desire a trip to the Women's World Cup or the Finnish wife-carrying championships - something relevant like that, you know? But hey, a ride with Liggett is good for all the stories one can get.
These are all so-called "Olympic sports" [a curious label, seeing as the sports are competed outside of the Olympics] and whenever the word "Olympics" is mentioned these days, NBC spits out their lemonade because they are so mad at the United States Olympic Committee for going ahead with plans to create an Olympic channel with Comcast and thus barring them from showing syrupy features and hours upon hours of riveting figure skating coverage. NBC can atone for their bad televising reputation in Vancouver in 2010, when their Winter Olympics' coverage begins and we will see how much time they devote to the drinking man's sports of curling, snowboarding and ski jumping to accentuate the classics like hockey and downhill skiing.
The problem with NBC and its Olympics coverage is that they have adopted the teenage attitude that mandates that they know everything – wait…that sounds suspiciously like the BCS Taliban. The world – in case they forgot - was introduced to this mindset last week when a British teenager revealed his friends' media habits and – surprise, surprise – announced that teenagers do not read newspapers [no time for "pages and pages of text"], can barely make time for television and most definitely "do not use Twitter", which, if you believe some people, is akin to admitting to not using underarm deodorant.
That is bad news for Comedy Central, which just ordered 10 episodes of an untitled sitcom starring comic actor Jon Heder as an unemployed IT specialist who returns to his hometown and moves in with his parents. Will Ferrell is also involved and could make appearances. It seems like we have been waiting forever for the obvious sequel from Heder - Napoleon Dynamite Goes To College - so this will have to do during the interim. Meanwhile, teenagers could stand to learn a thing or two or 12 from new U.S. senator from Minnesota who pulls out the Perry Mason reference this week. Mason is one of the Lounge's all-time favorite shows and anybody who admits to watching Hamilton Burger get slammed every week but keep coming back for more will always get our vote.
"How will the Cougs recover from losing Jewett!?" screams a discombobulated Chester "Get Your Hand Off My Thigh" Johnson about the recent loss of baseball assistant coach Travis Jewett to Arizona State.
It was a tough loss, no doubt, but get a hold of yourself, Chester, head coach Donnie Marbut will do just fine. First and foremost, Jewett deserves the opportunity to raise his profile and moving on to ASU certainly does that with the indisputable success the Sun Devils have had over the years. It comes at a time when Wazzu is on the verge of creating some post-season momentum, so not the best of timing, but should Jewett be replaced with Gabe Boruff or some other equally worthy candidate, the Lounge consensus is that Jewett has earned all the good things that come his way and the Pac-10 just got that much tougher in 2010. We just hope he will not be involved in staging any fake fights during ASU's future NCAA tournament games.
"Can she get past her unsavory past?" asks Lola Peppers of the new Wazzu women's golf coach Kelli Kamimura.
Lola is speaking, in hushed tones, of the fact that Kamimura becomes the new Wazzu head coach after getting a degree from, gulp, the University of Washington.Yes, the one that finished 56th in the gender equity study. That one. Well, as the Lounge understands it, Kamimura is a good person who may have been conked on the head by a tee shot on the day she was choosing the college of her choice. Either that or she was bitten by a rabid squirrel. Regardless, Kamimura had to cease donations to UW AD Scott Woodward's athletic department the day she was hired in order to become a true, albeit naturalized, Coug and the consensus is that she will make a fine addition and join the stable of good coaching hires made by athletic director Jim Sterk over the course of the decade. Additionally, Kamimura's hire will allow Walt Williams to concentrate on men's golf instead of splitting his body in half and handling both sports over the last few years.
Kamimura's hiring along with Wazzu's gender equity ranking is a cause for celebration and thus, we dispense the entertainment in the form of the Evian Roller Babies. No burping required.
Meanwhile, the Lounge Scientists, fresh off figuring out the sweat formula last week, are now making a return trip to Las Vegas because they have proven that winning jockeys in horse races are winning because of their posture. A study discovered that the jockey's crouch significantly enhanced the speed of the horse – and therefore its chances of winning.
"The jockey adds weight but not inertia to the horse," says Lounge Scientist #1890, Andrew Spence, a researcher at the Royal Veterinary College in Britain, who reputedly was in a crouch during his research.
However, scientists are now trying to determine how it was that Perry Mason lost his only case to Burger in "The Case of the Deadly Verdict" and until that time – the jury is out.
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