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January 30, 2011"I enjoy competition. I don't care if we play tiddlywinks in the snow, I like competition."
- Wazzu track and field head coach Rick Sloan making sure everybody understands his position on competition.
"What I'm usually hoping is that everybody plays a part in helping us get past it."
- Wazzu men's hoop head coach Ken Bone explaining that he expects all members of the Cougar team to assist if teammate and current Pac-10 scoring leader Klay Thompson endures another Arizona-like game against rival Washington tonight.
"We are very appreciative that the Board of Regents shares our vision as we move forward with this project."
- Wazzu athletic director Bill Moos expressing his gratitude after the Board of Regents approved a five million dollar design work plan on football's Martin Stadium as well as other facilities.
"Why do people have to embellish? They're allowed to say they hated it. They're allowed to say they didn't find it funny, that it was tasteless, over the top or whatever. But why do they speculate and make stuff up? Don't worry, I know the answer - because it's more interesting than 'It went fine and some people won some awards and then went to a party'. But that's all that happened."
- British comedian Ricky Gervais, firing off a volley at Hollywood thin skins ruminating about his ultimate demise as host after his blistering humorous emcee performance at this year's Golden Globe award show.
Avarice can lead to a great deal of unhappiness - just ask any University of Oregon, Washington or Southern California fan and well-wisher when they do not get what they want - which should be interesting to chart tonight if the Huskies lose to Wazzu in the first installment of the Apple Cup of men's hoop. Washington currently leads the Pac-10 in a fairly dominating fashion and comes in as the prohibitive favorite in the game - to the tune of being a six-point favorite - over the inconsistent Cougars who are merely fighting for a chance to make it to the Big Dance. If Wazzu somehow manages to wrest a victory from the greedy little hands of the Huskies in Beasley Coliseum tonight, watch the child-like tantrums - followed closely by a litany of excuses - which will inevitably ensue [directly after hilarity]. In fact, if the unthinkable happens and the Huskies lose this game, the excuses have already been lined up - it will undoubtedly be due to all or one of three main reasons - the officiating, the Cougars playing their "best game of the year" or the Huskies' overconfidence. Only in a rare instance will it be due to the Cougars executing and playing a better game and if the unthinkable happens and that reason is trotted out - make sure to consider the source and check to see if the battery light is on the sarcasm alert device.
If emotion and greed did not play such large, blinding roles in the case of some college football executives and fans and well-wishers, the humor to be found in the college football bowl game system would be as glaring and unmistakable as the travesty that is the BCS Taliban system. One of the main reasons typically cited as a deterrence to transitioning to a college football playoff for the NCAA's [and we will refer to it as the NCAA's property even if it belongs to the BCS Taliban for a few weeks every year] top level of football is the loss of the bowl game system. The pomp, the pageantry, the week-long romping in the garden spots of the world that include El Paso, Boise, Detroit and Shreveport. The problem, of course, is that the majority of these bowl games are money-losers for the schools involved and the teensy-weensy fact that the matchups are, in many cases, pre-determined and unfair. Case in point - BYU, which recently "accepted invitations" to play in the 2012 Poinsettia Bowl and the 2013 Emerald Bowl [now called something else which we find disdainful] provided they are ineligible for a BCS Taliban bowl game. Yes, without playing a single game of either season - or even a game this season! - newly independent BYU has already managed to wrangle themselves bowl games for future years. Other than the glaringly obvious reason that they have yet to earn their spots in these future bowl games, there is the secondary problem that BYU can now legitimately claim and sell to their football recruits that they will indeed be going to bowl games in 2012 and 2013, even if they have a mediocre team, which, with the schedule BYU typically plays, is about as close to being carved in stone as it can get. On top of that, BYU fans and well-wishers can also plan their trips far ahead of time and take up all the best hotel rooms, event tickets, restaurant reservations and who knows, Ghirardelli chocolate bars in San Francisco and beach spots on the Strand in San Diego. How is this arrangement better than a college football playoff where select elite teams [read: not mediocre] have to not only earn their way to the game via results on the field but also be determined as the best team to be there? The answer - it is clearly not. When bowl game participants are pre-determined years in advance, how can bowl game proprietors - with a straight face - say they have devised the best possible matchup for their game to any of those fans and well-wishers, members of the local community or bowl game sponsors who do not also have their hands in the pie? This inequitable situation is what most college bowl games desperately strive to exploit in an effort to remain relevant in a constantly changing world that is speed-walking toward their eventual demise.
It is enough to drive one to drink - and that is why it is a good thing that three bottles of 19th century whiskey have recently been discovered buried beneath a hut in Antarctica [observant people will recognize that as one of the world's continents and an ideal location to send BCS Taliban officials]. The Scotch whiskey had been part of the stash brought along by famed explorer Ernest Shackleton brought with him on his 1907 expedition to the South Pole. The whiskey will be thawed, then "studied" and "tasted" in a lab for six weeks [party at the whiskey lab at 10pm tonight!].
This discovery was all the talk amongst the prairie dog community. As it turns out, if you are a professor at Northern Arizona University long enough, you can research prairie dog language and find out what those rodents have been saying all these years while us humans blunder around starting wars and polluting the planet. The Lounge tuned in for a listen last week and to the best of our knowledge, it turns out they only want some whiskey [hence, the interest in the recent Antarctic discovery], a good Cuban ceegar and for people to stop staring at them from behind the shrubbery.
With tax refund time just around the corner, the crack Lounge research department has determined which adult residents like to travel to different places and the results are in - people in Austin, Texas, like to travel to other places, followed closely by those in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and South Bend, Indiana. It is no surprise that most places in the Top 10 are not places people generally want to travel to and coming in at #9 is Detroit. Since they want to leave Detroit [who can blame them?] guess they will not be going to any bowl games in Detroit any time soon.
"This is a big game for Wazzu," says Sloppy Joe, stating the obvious for the Wazzu men's hoop team as they prepare to host rival Washington in the first installment of the Apple Cup of men's hoop in Pullman tonight.
The game against Arizona last week was probably larger - from a Big Dance perspective - for the Cougars because it was a game where, had they won it, could have been a game looked at by the NCAA selection committee toward their NCAA-worthiness. This game is big because of the obvious reason - any game against a rival is big - and although it carries the extra weight of Washington being a ranked team and a Wazzu victory potentially propelling the Cougars back into the 50s in the official NCAA RPI, the larger games will come against teams that the Cougars are realistically expected to beat - like Arizona at home. Washington enters tonight's game as a four-point favorite after opening as a six-point favorite - but that is not to say that Wazzu is not realistically expected to defeat Washington as anything can happen in a rivalry game. The Cougars will have to be consistent as they were in previous wins over Gonzaga and Mississippi State and there will be three keys to the game for Wazzu - junior forward DeAngelo Casto will have to have as good of a game as he did last time out against the Huskies, team defense and rebounding will have to be on an NCAA tournament game level and perhaps most importantly, junior guard Klay Thompson - Wazzu's star player and the conference's leading scorer coming into this game - cannot have an Arizona game. In short, they will have to be in a trance of excellence, a zone - one might even call it a Coug zone.
"I think they can get this one," says Billy Hill, The Headless Hoarse Man about the Wazzu women's hoop team's chances against rival Washington in Seattle this afernoon.
There is no doubt that Wazzu has a good chance to win this game, Billy. The key is down to whether they will be shooting the ball well from the perimeter and they cut down on their turnovers - these have been the two major keys needed by the Cougars this year in order to claim victories. As long as they are not playing winless conference teams [Oregon State] Wazzu generally wins the game if they shoot north of 40% for the game and have low turnover numbers. But if they shoot under 40% and turnovers creep toward the 20s, the chances become slimmer and slimmer as the game progresses. Washington has not lost to the Cougars since 1995 - an almost unbelievable stretch of 30 games - and it has been even longer since the Cougars won on the road against Washington, last accomplishing that feat in 1993. For head women's hoop coach June Daugherty, it is somewhat personal as Washington fired her before she became the Wazzu head coach - but she still has yet to claim her first victory in six tries against her former tormentors.
With all the foofaraw over Ricky Gervais' supposedly incendiary remarks during his hosting of the Golden Globe award show earlier this month, we decided to present the Top 10 of Gervais' jokes for all to judge for themselves - as long as one of the judges is not Mel Gibson. The Lounge's current favorite is the Hef.
The Lounge Scientists are all atwitter [in a good way, not that other way] about the upcoming showdown between man and machine [cue dramatic symphonic music here]. Well, okay, that was just PR hype. It is not really man vs. machine in a world-altering sense, but rather man vs. machine in a Jeopardy sense - which is still big. Ken Jennings - who won 74 times in a row on the game show in 2004-05 and Brad Rutter, who won $3.3 million on the show, will challenge a supercomputer built by IBM called Watson, which has been programmed to understand and interpret the subtle nuances of human language - though humor, evidently, still is a challenge for Watson. Watson won the first practice round - barely edging out Jennings - and the real competition will take place over three days - February 14-16. IBM already defeated chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997 with their Deep Blue computer, but claims the ability to understand human language makes Watson far more advanced.
"We have created a computer system which has the ability to understand natural human language, which is a very difficult thing for a computer to do," says Lounge Scientist #44, John Kelly, a scientist at IBM who, reputedly, was unable to get on Jeopardy because he could not answer in the form of a question.
What is the Coug zone?
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