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October 16, 2011
The Cougar Lounge - The Phantom Shaver
"It's real simple. We come back and play our style of football and we'll win by three touchdowns."
- What Stanford head football coach David Shaw says he told his team after the Cardinal were only leading the Cougars by three points at halftime. He was off by a touchdown.
"I think every team in the Pac-12 is beatable on any given night and I don't know if our players are approaching it that way right now."
- Wazzu head volleyball coach Jen Greeny, after the Cougars were swept by Stanford, which has not been beatable by the Cougars in the Pac-12 or Pac-10 since 2002.
"Rob was distraught at having to come clean."
- Newcastle [U.K.] marathon race organizer Dave Roberts commenting after race participant Rob Sloan was caught in his attempt to board a bus at Mile 20, then re-emerge later and attempt to claim third place. Several witnesses outed Sloan in his attempt.
"I suppose at the upper end of social."
- The response given by Johnny Depp about his drinking habits in his role as a journalist in 1950s Puerto Rico in the upcoming film The Rum Diary, based on a Hunter S. Thompson novel.
Shortly after Stanford cut a scorching second half swath through the wheat fields of the Palouse in completing their assignment - because that is what it seemed like with the Cardinal treating it as a classroom project - of finishing off the pesky Cougars with a 34-7 second half slaughter [with the Trees' and Pac-12 officials applying the mercy rule of not going for the extra point after scoring their final touchdown on a 96-yard kickoff return], the Lounge clientele began the arduous task of breaking down amongst themselves where they, as Wazzu fans and well-wishers, figure the Cougars should have been standing at the midway point of the season. Only genuinely delusional people similar to Martini in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, thought the Cougars would be either 6-0 or 0-6 at this point of the season. Only Father Lotto fits that description in the Lounge, but he was born in a vat of nog. Since those people are hopefully not mingling in the general populace, it makes no sense to dwell on their mental afflictions and the treatments available to them. At 5-1, however, just one step removed from that mental condition come what have been referred to elsewhere, in the politest terms, as the Pollyanna group. Those finding themselves in this group felt that Wazzu was only a couple plays from being 5-0 going into this game, that last year's loss to the Trees was not a blowout and neither was the Cougars' earlier 18-point loss to San Diego State. Their glasses are perpetually half-full, sometimes to the exclusion of reality. At 4-2, there come what has colloquially been defined as the Kool-Aid Drinkers - a reference to the liquid used in the infamous 1978 Jim Jones cult suicide [which seems a little harsh, the Lounge prefers little furry woodland creatures like lemmings to describe groups easily swayed] - and this group consists of those who felt that Wazzu was going to defeat both Colorado and UCLA on the road after entering the season with one road win in four years under head coach Paul Wulff. It was not completely warped logic as the Buffaloes were susceptible but it also required UCLA to get worse [since the Bruins had essentially beaten the same team by 14 points least year in Pasadena] and also a magic voodoo doll curse lifter on Bruin head coach Rick Neuheisel. Ingesting copious amounts of Kool-Aid, it was figured, would somehow alleviate those factors in favor of Wazzu.
At 3-3 come the vast majority of the sane people still following the Wazzu football program. These people are still purportedly in possession of their sanity despite the travails of the football program in the last decade and saw a split of the Colorado/UCLA games, figuring Wazzu, with one of the easiest schedules on not only this planet but also all other planets of the solar system, would use their momentum from projected easy wins over Idaho State and UNLV to collect a win from one of those two games - most likely Colorado - afterward. This was reasonable thinking - but despite this display of reason, the Sane People have suffered persecution in the Lounge clientele from the vociferous Pollyannas for not seeing the situation as they do and doubtful but subtly aggressive Kool-Aid Drinkers. At 2-4 are the Skepticons. They saw the possibility of being 3-3 but based on past results, did not feel it would happen and that the trend would remain the same. The Skepticons are moderate in size but a slightly smaller group than the Sane People. Finally, at 1-5, there are the people who most obviously do not like Wulff [the Lounge does not like to use the term "haters" as that does not accurately reflect the group and the term has been abducted for use by aliens not familiar with its meaning]. The only people who thought Wazzu would not defeat both Idaho State and UNLV in the Lounge clientele were people who did not like Wulff and allowed too much fruitcake to enter their bloodstream during past holiday seasons so that brain cells were either lost or not functioning properly.
With the Wazzu football team now securely placed in the embrace of the Sane People, the Lounge can now feel free to extend a hearty "Welcome to the Pac-10 Boys and Girls!" fruit basket to Colorado and Utah. At the midway point of the football, soccer and volleyball seasons - the three main sports of the autumn - Colorado and Utah are a combined 7-32-1 in those sports since joining the conference and making it the Pac-12. In fact, Colorado is currently winless in all conference contests so far this year in those three sports - too much marijuana, perhaps? - going 0-19-1 so far [that lone tie came in soccer against Arizona, who last year, was the worst team in the conference]. Utah has fared only slightly better. The Utes are winless in conference play in football - making Colorado and Utah a combined 0-7 in that sport - but they do have three wins in volleyball [including a win over the Cougars] for a 3-8 record and they are most successful in soccer, where they are 4-2 in conference play including last week's big win over Oregon State. Colorado is looking like they will go winless in football since they have the bad luck of not playing Oregon State [though they might have an outside chance against Arizona in Boulder in a few weeks] so the best hope for the Buffaloes' first Pac-12 win in one of those three sports will come today in Boulder when Colorado hosts Oregon in soccer.
The Lounge is not sure if the firing of Arizona football head coach Mike Stoops will be a good thing for Colorado when that football game comes to Boulder in a few weeks, but we do know that the conference is much better off with Stoops having spewed his last spittle on conference officials, his coaching staff, his players, opposing players, photographers, cheerleaders, mascots and innocent blades of grass. His sideline frothing tantrums were never a good public relations image for the conference. However, there is concern amongst the clientele that Arizona's athletic director may have made a shrewd move in the upcoming football head coach hiring carousel by firing their head coach in mid-season and therefore getting a jump on contacting the expected pool of head coaching candidates and possibly getting a desired candidate locked down before other programs decide to make similar moves. We will find out in a few weeks when the coach hiring parade officially begins.
"That was awesome!!!" says Mr. Buenos Aires, of the Wazzu record crowd of 1,652 who showed up to watch Wazzu tie powerful UCLA at Cougarland Field last week to give Wazzu sole possession of second place in the Pac-12.
The Lounge has said it before, Mr. BA, and although we feel we cannot say it enough, there is no harm in saying it again - Matt Potter is, quite simply, one of the best coaches in any sport not only at Wazzu - though rowing coach Jane LaRiviere is probably above him due to NCAA appearances - but in the conference, on the West Coast and perhaps the nation. Yes, that last one is slight hyperbole, but there is no denying the extraordinary work Potter has done in his time at Wazzu and best exemplified this year by Wazzu's last five matches where Wazzu has skunked four out of the last five opponents - California, Utah, Colorado and UCLA - and came within a few minutes of skunking mighty Stanford as well. There just are no words that can convey the feat that is with the youthful team that Potter entered the 2011 season with - but, as the saying goes, actions speak louder than words and Wazzu fans and well-wishers spoke loud and clear with their actions of showing up 1,652-strong on Friday at Cougarland to propel the Wazzu defense to stymie the Bruins. Make no mistake about it - both Stanford and UCLA have more athletically gifted athletes - but Potter made sure that Wazzu had the better team play, especially on defense, in both those matches as well as the other three matches in the last two weeks. What Potter and his team have done now, is put themselves into sole possession of second place and a chance to make the NCAA Tournament again. That is not so surprising - Potter has been there before - but this time, he has done it with a youthful team in one of the nation's toughest conferences. Although there are five matches remaining on the schedule - all on the road - is there any doubt among Wazzu fans and well-wishers that the Cougars will come through with the result they need on match day? No.
"Ditch the all-Gray unis! They're 0-1 with a 30-point loss!" says Monty Carlo, about this weekend's walloping of the Cougars by Stanford after Wazzu came out donning all-Gray uniforms.
Well, Monty, they worked for a half then the Nike sweatshop stitching began unraveling and, well, it all went downhill from there. The Lounge clientele consensus was not in favor of the all-Grays [though at least they were the school colors and not red or white or black], much preferring the all-Crimson look of years of yore But the all-Grays were not responsible for the loss, that was more due to the Trees being dominating, efficient and mostly mistake-free [though Stanford head coach David Shaw and quarterback Andrew Luck would disagree on that count]. While Wazzu was competitive for a half, they were not in the second half and that has Lounge clientele members concerned as they were promised that the blowout losses were going to stop in the fourth year in Wulff's tenure - especially at home - for Homecoming. So far, however, one-third of the easiest schedule in college football history has resulted in blowout losses and Oregon on the road in a couple weeks is another blowout loss waiting to happen. Wazzu should get an easy win over a hapless Oregon State squad [ranked #115 - even worse than Colorado!] this week in Seattle and then it will be back to reality in Eugene the following week. By that time, we expect the all-Grays will be retired - or only bring them out against the Oregon States of the world.
Since Stanford has had their way with all Cougar teams so far this year, it seems only fitting that a research study emanating from the Farm has determined what everybody already suspected to be the case - that Facebook and others know lots of personal things about you and share them with companies [usually for advertising purposes]. The list of the offending companies is astonishing and all-encompassing - Facebook, Google, Wall Street Journal, NBC, Bleacher Report, Classmates.com. Sign up on any of these companies and you automatically become a very popular person with dozens of other companies who know where you live, what your age is, how many pets you have, your education level, your drinking and drug [nog] use frequencies and, of course, how you feel about Wazzu.
The Lounge Scientists were intrigued by that Stanford study but wanted to know about the asteroids that were supposed to be ready to hit the Earth in the coming years and after many hours of looking through a telescope followed by many hours of punching buttons on their calculators, they have concluded that no major house-size [the kind that were dinosaur killers] asteroids will be bothering to crash into Earth in the next several centuries.
"We know where most of them are and where most of them are going. That really has reduced our risk," says Lounge Scientist #90 Amy Mainzer, a scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab who, reportedly, has not been hit by an asteroid since 1995 [and it was not a very big one].
Now the Lounge would like to commission a study to find out how to get an asteroid to strike the Oregon football team - since it is too late for Neuheisel - before the Cougars' game in Eugene in two weeks.
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