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October 17, 2010

The Cougar Lounge - Nog Ahoy!


"Stanford showed us why they are ranked so high nationally."

- Wazzu head volleyball coach Andrew Palileo, after the Cardinal easily swept the Cougars in three sets.




"Look at this game from last year. We were behind Washington State until the 87th minute. We almost lost it."

- Stanford defender Annie Case comparing last year's miracle Stanford escape win in overtime in Pullman to last week's 5-0 slaughtering of the Cougars in Palo Alto.




"I think we will find ways to score. My biggest concern is defense and rebounding."

- Wazzu head men's hoop coach Ken Bone talking about the upcoming 2010-11 season.




"Don't move me - these tiles are beautiful."

- Rolling Stones band member Keith Richards recalling what the Beatles' John Lennon said in his house one day - whilst lying by the toilet.








The repetition of sounds can be said to have a musical effect and in this case, it is music to the ears of the Lounge as the very first nog of the season officially hit the grocery store shelves this week. Nog, beautiful nog, was everywhere in the dairy cases and there is never a lovelier sight than when the nog arrives on a pleasant autumn day. It might have been better for Cougar fans and well-wishers had the nog arrival coincided with a few athletic victories, but alas, all the primary Cougar athletic teams in the fall - football, soccer and volleyball - lost again this week, sometimes in spectacular fashion, sometimes in mundane fashion. After another week of trying, the soccer team remains as the sole Wazzu autumn athletic sport holding a Pac-10 victory [by virtue of last week's win over Arizona] - though they might have a sporting chance at an upset today against California.



The most intriguing news of the week is due to arrive on Thursday - after nog, we point out, have to keep priorities straight - when Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott is due to announce all the big announcements that he and the Pac-10 presidents and athletic directors have been mulling over for much of the month. Most notably - the revenue sharing deal amongst the soon-to-be 12 [with Colorado and Utah] conference members, the alignment of the conference for football [rumored to be leaning toward a North-South split that would put Wazzu in the North with the three other Pacific Northwest schools plus the two Bay Area schools] and perhaps most intriguing of all - the future site of the football championship game [with San Diego as a favorite and Las Vegas as a darkhorse candidate]. It all comes out in the open on Thursday - no more speculation [just rampant critique].

Meanwhile, the football race is appearing to be a three-team race between Oregon, Stanford and Arizona [with USC possibly playing a spoiler role] after UCLA was unceremoniously dumped by California two weeks ago. The Bruins were never a serious threat for the conference title but gave that impression briefly with improbable wins over Houston and Texas. Still, the Bruins may still make themselves a factor in some way because, beginning with this week's game against Oregon, UCLA is pulling out some high tech compression jerseys from apparel sponsor Adidas. The new jerseys are said to "make the athletes faster" [though in the case of Bruin backup quarterback Richard Brehaut that may just be the equivalent of moving up from go-cart speed to scooter speed] with their tighter fit.

Meanwhile, with only one Pac-10 win in 14 tries amongst their three autumn sports so far, Cougar fans and well-wishers may be thinking it cannot get any worse than that. Oh yeah? Try being the organizer of the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India. The Commonwealth Games, for those blissfully unaware, is like a special Olympics for nations that were colonized [to use a diplomatically generous term] by the former British Empire. This year's Games were held in India and, well, let us just say they did not go well. First, there were the usual cost overruns in preparation for the Games - but that is almost an expectation in large-scale sporting events these days - then several countries complained about the athletes' village having leaking toilets and building debris still in residential rooms. Minor nuisance. But then a teensy weensy problem - a footbridge collapsed a couple weeks before the Games were to begin - creating a thorny transportation issue. Upon arrival, some athletes found snakes in their rooms and other athletes complained of sickness after the swimming competition, blaming the less-than-standard pool water as the source of the sickness. Accusations of corruption and building code violations were being flung around and an inquiry is reported to be commencing - a symbolic, international representation of how the BCS Taliban works. In other words, the exact opposite of how it went for South Africa with the World Cup this summer. The Games wound up last week without incident - no flaming stadium collapse or anything - but the Lounge is figuring that India may be seeing the last of any major international sporting events for quite some time.

So that was officially the worst Commonwealth Games ever but how many Americans genuinely cared about it? Answer: not as many who care about what they think is the worst television ad of 2010 in America. The voting results are in and the winner is Staples for their television ad featuring a loud, obnoxious customer yelling "Wow! That's a low price!" followed closely by Quiznos and their singing kitties. Now Staples and Quiznos can have that meeting with their ad agencies and decide amongst themselves if any advertising is truly good advertising.

"Well, I suppose it was slightly better, but it is still another loss" says Fred the Oyster after the Cougars' loss to Arizona in football.

Well, Fred, it is difficult to keep finding new ways to put the pleasant sugar coating on the week's losses as they continue to mount for the football team - nog helps though, Fred. This week's sugar frosting dosage comes in the form of an improved defensive performance - sort of. For the third consecutive week, the Wazzu defense had the luxury of going against the opposing team's second string quarterback and every little bit helps a defense that is, statistically, one of the worst in the country. This time, after Arizona quarterback Nick Foles had his leg rolled from behind on a hit from Wazzu defensive end Travis Long, the Cougars played the majority of the game against Wildcat backup Matt Scott. The dropoff from Foles to Scott was not of the sheer cliff variety but it was noticeable as Scott exuded decidedly less confidence in the pocket and the Wazzu defense mostly took advantage of that by recording a season-high six sacks. That is the good news. The bad news is that the Cougars returned the favor by giving up seven sacks of their own as they continue on pace to break the school record in sacks allowed set by the 2009 squad at 53. Even though they allowed Wildcats to consistently set up a tent in the Cougar backfield, Wazzu was still able to get a touchdown in the game and that is better than a big, fat zero - a numeral which the Cougars have seen all too frequently in recent years. But three turnovers - two interceptions by quarterback Jeff Tuel and a botched punt snap by punter Reid Forrest combined to offset any potential momentum they could get from the offense. In the end, it was another double digit defeat - their 15th in a row - to a Division I opponent and with the number of opponents and opportunities to get a win dwindling, time is beginning to not be on the Cougars' side.

"I am pretty sure we will be dancing in March," says The Village Idiot, about the Wazzu men's hoop team after their Midnight Mayhem display last week.

We know that is not the nog talking, VI, because with the amount of experience that Wazzu has coming back on the team, there is certainly a good chance that Wazzu can see some type of post-season action - whether that be in the Big Dance or the Little Dance [NIT]. The real keys are health - the Cougars must stay healthy to have any shot at post-season play - improvement in all facets of the game, but most noticeably on defense, consistency in those improvements and a good RPI. With the type of non-conference schedule Wazzu has lined up - games against Kansas State, Gonzaga, Mississippi State and potentially Baylor - it appears that the Cougars will have a decent RPI once they enter the Pac-10 wars. Last year, the Cougars entered those battles and promptly got beaten up over the course of the season, but nearly every returning starter is carrying more weight in the form of muscle this year and head coach Ken Bone expects that the Cougars will now be able to sustain the repeated weekly poundings that come with usual Pac-10 play. If the Cougars can withstand that kind of pounding and stay consistent - both mentally and physically - throughout, the consensus of the Lounge clientele is that post-season play is in their future.



The losses keep adding up but the Lounge sees no valid reason why the clientele must fixate on the losses and instead, maybe they should have some sort of distraction - outside of nog, that is - to keep them busy in these days of impending holiday festivities. Nothing says "distraction" better than the sexual mating techniques of animals as portrayed in two-minute snippets by Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated actress Isabella Rossellini in Green Porno. We never knew the cuttlefish could be so subtle and sneaky - not like those bedbugs, ducks and snakes.

Do you find yourself wracked by guilt because you are unable to remember the last time a Cougar football team won a game against a Division I opponent from a BCS conference that was not winless? Well, the Lounge Scientists have come to your aid. What you need is an enzyme blocker - specifically a drug called UE1961 - which blocks the memory-destroying enzyme found in humans called 11-beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 [HSD1, for short]. Now the scientists just have to figure out a way to have the drug be safe without any side effects like extra ears growing out of your head or remembering things that you did not want to remember - like that time you spilled the coffee on the laptop.

"It shows that normal memory loss through aging is not irreversible as many people assume," says Lounge Scientist #1961, Jonathan Seckl, a scientist at the University of Edinburgh who, reportedly, is unable to remember where he left his car keys.

A drug to help restore memories might be useful for a variety of society's ills - people can use it to remember what is was like to have Hollywood make good movies, where the best nog came from or what the world was like before the arrival of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube….ahhhhh.




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