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October 30, 2005
The Cougar Lounge - Based on What?
"There are bigger, faster guys on defense in this league. The depth of the defensive talent is bigger in the SEC than the Pac-10."
- Current Kentucky and former Oregon head coach Rich Brooks. Well, let the Lounge just put that theory to the test, shall we, Richie? There were two Pac-10-SEC match-ups so far this season - Arkansas/USC and LSU/ASU. The average number of points those bigger, faster defensive guys from the SEC shut down those Pac-10 schools to? 50.5 points per game - and that was only because USC was being kind and not running up the score to triple digits against the swine.
"That's chump change for some people."
- UTEP athletic director Bob Stull, explaining how former Cougar head coach Mike Price's buyout clause of $250,000 could be easily paid by Oregon's Powerball winners, Bono or pretty much any NCAA Division I athletic department that feels they need a new head football coach.
"I'm not mad."
- Mark Burnett, producer of Martha Stewart's flailing reality show that NBC has moved into a time slot in an attempt to ding, dong, ditch it, who then details how he doesn't understand the move [but he isn't mad].
The entire Lounge clientele dove headfirst into the vat of nog Father Lotto had meticulously prepared for just such an occasion - when USC scored their fourth touchdown in the first quarter [yes, no typo there - that is not first touchdown in the fourth quarter - that is fourth touchdown in the first quarter] to ensure that the Cougars went 0-for-October. We cannot bring ourselves to revisit that game just yet - give us a few paragraphs at least - please have more mercy than Pete Carroll did by keeping freight train LenDale White in the game to run over the hapless little garden gnomes of the Cougar defense!! The Geneva Convention clearly states there is a 17-sentence rule before having to submit to discussing heinous blowouts and we are invoking that rule. That is perfect, because it gives us the opportunity to discuss the Cougars' next opponent while the vat of nog is being sanitized and refilled. That opponent would be Arizona State. The Sun Devils have a new long-term revenue sharing broadband video partnership deal for new and archived sports footage with a company called New Tier, that California already signed their LOI with and WSU will likely have as well - as soon as Cougar fans and well-wishers are clamoring to see archived footage of the 2005 season. Okay, so maybe it won't be the 2005 season they will want to see, but they will probably want to see all of that 1997 season. Well, almost all - they probably don't want to see the ASU game that year. They might want to see that 2002 Rose Bowl-clinching season-ending game against UCLA. Probably the Holiday Bowl win over Texas. Who could forget all those Apple Cups? Well, most Cougar fans and well-wishers were hoping to forget all those Apple Cups between 1998 and 2003.
The good news [or a painful reminder for Cougar fans and well-wishers] is that Saturday is National College Football Day. So, as soon as you have unloaded all your candy stash [except, of course, for that extra bag of Reese's peanut butter cups you intentionally bought even though you knew you would only get 11 trick-or-treaters, tops] and all the little ghouls and goblins have vacated the premises, tear down those skeletons, smash those pumpkins and begin putting up your decorations for - insert regal trumpet blare - NCF Day! The Lounge will have a special festive vat of nog to celebrate - wait, what is it we're celebrating again? - oh yeah, the fact that bored college students in New Jersey [but just the ones from Princeton and Rutgers], looking for a way to forget about all that depressing slavery and Civil War jazz and probably doing what college students do best - procrastinating before a big exam - decided to play the first game of college football in 1869. Rutgers won, 6-4, and immediately, straggling survivors in the South claimed the Scarlet Knights played in a weak conference and were all offense and no defense. They fenced off two pig pens, made a ball out of one of the pigs, threw it in the middle of the slop and declared the winner between Georgia's Good Ol Racist Boys and Alabama's Good Ol Racist Boys to be the nation's [even though they did not especially cotton to this new nation with it's so-called anti-slavery gimmick - after all, how's a wealthy plantation owner's ego going to be massaged without demeaning another human being in the process?] real best college football team. And so the mentality for the BCS Taliban began - exactly one day after college football was in its pristine state - just for fun. Is it 17 sentences already? It is now? Damn.
"What a frightening display of needlepoint that was oh, you mean that was football the Cougars were playing?" says Chester "Get Your Hand Off My Thigh" Johnson, who also points out that he is no longer despised by society ever since he gave Bode Miller public relations advice.
Well Chester, taking a little over two minutes and not even breathing heavily, USC waltzed down the field on their first possession to take a 7-0 lead. The Los Angeles County coroner officially listed the time of the Wazzu football team's death at 9:12 left in the first quarter. That is when the Cougars scored their first touchdown - and promptly got their extra point blocked - to pull within 7-6 and made the Trojans really mad. Really, really mad. From there, USC proceeded to go on a 41-0 run that made the Cougar defense look like a collection of Oompa Loompas playing against the San Antonio Spurs [translation of that analogy into more literal, polite terms: USC offense - "We are going to score points and gain yardage - both in massively large quantities." WSU defense - "We condemn your remarks with the utmost firmness!"]. It was comical at times as Cougar defensive players could not track down the USC speed demon quarterback Matt Leinart on the rare occasions they were able to flush him from the pocket, bounced off him when trying to tackle him or were covering invisible Trojan players in the defensive secondary. By the time Carroll finally called off the dogs, it was beyond repair - the Cougars couldn't even stop the 7th-team running back from getting into the end zone for a final touchdown. The only good individual news for Cougar fans and well-wishers was on the offensive side of the ball where All-American candidate [well, he should be All-American candidate after this week's performance] running back Jerome Harrison ran for 147 yards on a Trojan defense that, previously, had only been allowing 95 yards rushing per game to whole teams. He did not do it in garbage time either - Harrison racked up 124 yards in the first quarter when the Cougars were still - albeit briefly - in the game.
"That was nice of the USC defense to let WSU keep their national scoring streak alive!" says Lola Peppers, trying desperately to root around in the mud for some positive element to the game that saw it deteriorate into an entertainment promo spot for Snoop Dogg by the early second quarter.
Good catch, Lola! That was probably the only good team news because while the defense was installing its top secret ploy of hoping the USC offensive players legs got tired from running downfield so much and the offense was coughing up the ball to allow USC to cover the spread by halftime [no, again, not a typo], the Cougars did at least get to hold on to some tiny, microscopic speck of dignity. The Lounge clientele consensus is that it was a fortuitous alignment of the planets that prevented the Trojans from getting that extra hour this weekend or else they might have scored 135 points. After the Cougars were already down by three touchdowns, ABC ran a promo graphic in the second quarter - "Coming Up Matt Leinart and the USC offense" - to try and keep viewers interested in the rout instead of doing their laundry, raking their yards or getting a head start on their 2005 taxes.
Our contractual obligation fulfilled, the Lounge will now refrain from further Trojan utterances while we attend the sentence management seminar in Las Vegas and fling ourselves into another vat of nog. Meanwhile, the clientele was clamoring for something - anything - that didn't have to do with USC this week and the Lounge came through in the clutch with the all-time Top 40 magazine covers of the past 40 years as determined by the American Society of Magazine Editors. Congratulations to anyone who can remember more than half of these magazine covers because that probably means you live in New York now or lived there a very long time and can attest to the New York-based ASME proclaiming New York to be the center of the universe with this list. But past that, the Lounge clientele was hard-pressed to recall more than 15 of these covers that the ASME is proclaiming as ground-breaking and nearly breaking their arms while patting themselves on the back to do so -and an Alfred E. Neuman-derived cover but not Alfred himself? C'mon! Let's see, the Lounge agrees with the National Lampoon, Vanity Fair, ESPN, Entertainment Weekly, one of the Life's, two of the Time's and both National Geographic's. After that, it's a crapshoot of American society. From this group, the best magazine cover the Lounge never saw? What appear to be three New York socialites giving the "black power" salute from the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.
Finally, the Lounge Scientists are contributing their own assessment of the Wazzu-USC game [special dispensation has been given by the International Order of Scientists for the Scientists to mention the game at this juncture in the column] by comparing prominent Western worldly views with those of East Asia. Essentially, the scientists say, people in the West are all about achieving goals whereas people in the East put more emphasis on harmony and how things relate to the whole enchilada. Psychologists conducting a study of American and Japanese families have noted similar findings.
"An American mother will say - 'Look Billy, a truck. It's shiny and has wheels.' - The focus is on the object," says Lounge Scientist #88 Richard Nisbett, of the University of Michigan and who the Lounge suspects, may have never had a truck with shiny wheels. "By contrast, Japanese mothers stress context by saying things like - 'I push the truck to you and you push it to me. When you throw it at the wall, the wall says 'ouch.'"
It was not reported that the Cougars said "ouch" last weekend - but a consortium of scientists have agreed that they were, indeed run over by a shiny new truck with wheels that said "USC" on the license plate.
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