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February 7, 2010
The Cougar Lounge - Laughter-Packed Squalor
"I think as far as teamwork and being together, I think we've played one of our best games this season."
- Wazzu sophomore forward DeAngelo Casto after he scored a career-high 19 points in the Cougars' win over Arizona that gave Wazzu a sweep of the season series over the Wildcats.
"It was the Gatorade machine."
- Wazzu track and field recruit Kyle Boe explaining - jokingly - what the deciding factor was in his decision to pick the Cougars.
"The thing that attracted us as an internet company is that Super Bowl advertising has become as much of an event after the game as it does during the game."
- HomeAway [vacation rental company] CEO Brian Sharples, whose Super Bowl ad today will feature film stars Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo from the hit film National Lampoon's Vacation.
"I didn't know that eating pork improved sexual activity."
- Argentine first lady Cristina Fernandez speaking about the previously unknown virtues of pork.
It is time for the clichés to officially be terminated. Super Ad Bowl week is officially upon us and by the end of today, America will know who really had the best ad during the Super Bowl. The official tally in determining the Super Ad Bowl champ belongs to USA Today's ad meter, which will give us their results tomorrow and the Lounge will determine our results and present them next week but already there is some intrigue as to why CBS has decided to take the stance of being Super Prudes in 2010. CBS has taken the curious stance of allowing a controversial ad which takes a politicized view of a hot topic - abortion - which seems to have no place during a football game, while also banning an ad from Go Daddy which features a former football star now named Lola who was opening a lingerie shop and needed Go Daddy's help in creating a website and forcing Electronic Arts to change the original tag line of their ad promoting the upcoming release of their video game, Dante's Inferno, from "Go To Hell" to "Hell Awaits". It is as if CBS has decided to be Big Father and Big Brother at the same time - protecting the public's virgin ears and eyes from the filthy perverts and heathens while lecturing them on what they should be doing. That approach has never had much success with teenagers and yet many teenagers somehow grow up to be fine, upstanding adults anyway. Perhaps CBS might do themselves a favor and loosen the Puritanical purse strings and be more flexible and less preachy - or at least give the appearance of it - in the future.
Meanwhile, in non-Super Ad Bowl news, there was no surprise elicited from the general populace last week when it was announced that Stanford has the country's third-largest endowment at $12.6 billion dollars. Only Ivy League heavyweights Harvard and Yale have more moolah, and in the case of Yale, only slightly more at $16.3 billion [and when we say "slightly", we mean that in the most calm demeanor in which $3.7 billion dollars can be referred to as slight]. Harvard is currently the undisputed heavyweight champion with a whopping $25.7 billion dollar endowment.
In non-Super Ad Bowl [sorta] and non-whopping endowment news, Coke, taking a page out of Doritos playbook from last year, has devised a bracket of their own for next month's March Madness event. Behind the branding of their Coke Zero product, the company has created a website for their Dept. Of Fannovation where fans can submit ideas on ways to improve the fan experience at March Madness. When the real March Madness officially arrives next month, Coke Zero will announce their 64 best original submission ideas from fans and gradually pare them down as they do in the actual Big Dance. The Sweet 16 submission winners will all receive $1000 for their ideas, the Final Four ideas will receive a trip for two to the 2011 men's Final Four in Houston and the winning idea - announced on April 6 - will receive $10,000. Not a bad way to get good ideas for a minimal cost that your company can then turn around to potentially create millions of dollars.
We can only hope that these ideas will be significantly better than whoever's brainiac idea it was to print t-shirts emblazoned with the words "BACK ON TOP" commemorating the Kentucky men's basketball team's return to the #1 ranking in polls last week only to be upset by South Carolina on the very next day - dropping them to the third [ESPN/USA Today] and fourth [AP] spots in the national polls. Since that decision originated out of the minds of Kentuckians - and noting the previously mentioned endowments of some of the nation's top schools - the question of why they decided to do this in the first place, may answer itself.
Of course, it could be worse [worse than Kentucky?] - you could be a high school boys basketball player in Chandler, Arizona and have the misfortune of being on the bad side of the varsity boys hoop coach at Chandler High, Mike Ellsworth. Ellsworth, who evidently still subscribes to caveman-era motivational techniques, was suspended for the remainder of the season after posting a flyer referring to four players - by name - who had recently quit the team as the Chandler Quitters. Ellsworth's wife, who works as a teacher for the school, was quoted as saying that the school district "handled it poorly" - a sentiment to which the Lounge fully agrees - they should have posted a flyer about his suspension on the door to the gymnasium.
"I like this class - I don't think it is the greatest in 25 years - but I still like it," says Attila The Nun, about Wazzu's recent 2010 football recruiting class.
Attila, demonstrating an admirable trait - ignoring hyperbole - which tends to be rampant in football recruiting circles has made a wise blanket assessment. Wazzu's 2010 football recruiting class is not spectacular by any measure of comparison with classes from other schools but it appears to be - on paper - a significant improvement from past years' recruiting classes. The true test, of course, will always come on the field over the course of the next two to four years, but Cougar fans and well-wishers can get legitimately excited about the prospect of seeing linebacker C.J. Mizell and defensive lineman Brandon Rankin play at Martin Stadium [yes at Martin Stadium - that's in Pullman - because all home games are actually at home next year] provide they both come into Pullman in shape and can stay in shape and out of trouble, both academic and otherwise. Beyond Mizell and Rankin, the 2010 class has a few others which can cause heart palpitations for Cougar fans and well-wishers, specifically defensive back Deone Bucannon and offensive lineman Wade Jacobson. It was no secret that the Cougars needed massive help on the offensive line in the last two years and Jacobson's arrival will provide immediate help - or at least head coach Paul Wulff hopes - for that unit while Bucannon can add to what could be a strong defensive secondary unit with the return of promising athletes from last year who car coming off injuries. Overall, the Wazzu defense should be a much-improved group next year and while the cynical may say that is because they have the most improvement to make, it may also wind up to be enough to begin putting the Cougars into positions for winning a few conference games.
"Now that's what I'm talkin' 'bout!" says a stimulated Fred The Oyster who always gets excitable whenever the Wazzu men's hoop team wins a game, but especially when it is a Pac-10 game.
After losing three consecutive games - all of which were winnable - the Wazzu men's hoop team finally came alive and played a mostly complete game with nearly all members of the team contributing. Four players were in double figures in scoring for the Cougars against Arizona and if senior Nikola Koprivica had hit one more bucket, it would have been five players in double figures - the epitome of a team win. Not only did the Cougars play well as a team in the victory over the Wildcats - something they will need to consistently do for the remaining seven games of league play - but Casto and freshman Brock Motum gave signs that they will be promising contributors for those games. Casto emerged from his recent funk with a career high in points and Motum is clearly getting more confident with each passing week and emphasized that with a throw-down dunk in the win over the Wildcats. Slowly- painfully slow for some Cougar fans and well-wishers - but surely, the Cougars are improving with each week and four to five more wins should secure an NIT-worthy claim for the fourth consecutive post-season berth but if Wazzu can continue progressing with each week and do so with enough proven ability that they are able to defeat California and Washington and finish in the top three of the league - they could have a chance for a Big Dance invitation with either a top three finish or a legitimate shot at the automatic bid in the conference tourney. But how much currency the Arizona win is worth will be on display this week when they travel to the Bay Area to take on conference leader California and Stanford - which has yet to lose a conference game at home.
The official tally in determining the Super Ad Bowl champ belongs to USA Today's ad meter, which will give us their results tomorrow, but for the attention-span challenged who cannot wait that long, SuperAdBowl will tabulate their results today.
Meanwhile, the Lounge Scientists are partying for their own reasons today and it has nothing to do with the Colts, the Saints or the Super Bowl ads but everything to do with the fact that Pluto is making a comeback. The tiny planet [that's right, we're calling it a planet - you got a problem with that?] that was dissed by the worldwide astronomers a few years ago and reduced to so-called dwarf planet status, is now exhibiting distinct signs of atmospheric changes - proving that Pluto is not merely a ball of frozen rock and ice or a giant asteroid - but rather an actual planet with actual planet-like aspects. In this case, images from the Hubble Space Telescope have shown that Pluto has been undergoing seasonal atmospheric changes which have produced several colorful changes to its atmosphere - most notably, a heavy reddish tint over the last two years.
"Around the solar system, the only things whose surfaces change by a notable amount are Earth and Mars," says Lounge Scientist #9, Mike Brown, a scientist at the California Institute of Technology who is using the scientific version of the term "things" in a sentence and, who, reputedly has purchased stock in Pluto.
This, of course, proves only one thing - if Pluto can have atmospheric changes like Earth and Mars then the Cougars can go to the Big Dance this year.
+++++++sponsored by Greg Davis Sports Photography+++++++++
The new year is here and you know what that means It's time for a whole new season of Cougar Athletics! Men's & women's basketball, baseball, track & field and tennis, just to name a few, are coming up right around the corner. If you need "game action" photographs for your newspaper, magazine, web site, blog, etc., then Greg Davis Sports Photography should be your choice for all things "Cougar" and "Pac-10 Conference"! Coverage for specific athletes or upcoming events is also available. Check out the images from games, practices and events from last season, and be sure to come back often for uploads from all of this season's action.