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November 12, 2006

The Cougar Lounge - Auto Pilot Error

"Football is really good here."

- Washington athletic director Todd Turner, when reportedly giving his hiring spiel to executive associate athletic director Jeff Compher. ["Did I say "football"? I'm sorry, I meant volleyball." is what the Lounge reputedly heard was uttered later in human resources.]

"Everybody said this is a slam dunk."

- Air Force senior associate athletic director Mike Saks, who was partially responsible for setting up the infamous Air Force "home" game for the Huskies in Seattle last year and who may want to re-define his version of "everybody".

"It's not like that now."

- Washington chief fundraiser Scott Barnes speaking about the olden days when some people actually cared about Husky football enough to pay money to watch a game.

"It's just not the shopping experience we want our customers to have. Walls are cracked and grocery carts run away from you the second you let them go."

- Grocery store mogul Mike Zupan, talking about the closure of a shopping store but inadvertently giving the perfect 2006 Apple Cup experience symbolism.

Have you ever wondered what the bowl game committee members from the Las Vegas, Emerald, Hawai'i or Poinsettia Bowls wear? Sure, it is some sort of blazer but what decorations are on them? Will the Hawai'i bowl game guys even dress the same as the guys in the contiguous United States? [this is one of them thar rhetorical questions and the answer is no, because milk costs $92 a gallon there]. These are the types of things that occupy the minds of the Lounge clientele after the last two brutal weekends of football play. It is a good thing the Cougars, as well as most of the Pac-10 does not have to worry about an NCAA selection committee, like they do in women's soccer, because after last week's scintillating performances by the most of the conference's upper-division teams, it is highly likely they would take the UCLA, Arizona and Stanford - even with the Trees' only win this year.

Some of those bowl games are going to be on ESPN and that is good for most sports fans because a recent report says that is where most sports fans go, over newspapers, to get their daily sports fix - well, unless they want to catch the Boise State-San Jose State game. But that is because some of them are concerned about a replay system glitch from last year's Rose Bowl that may have changed the outcome of the game. Wait, was that "replay system glitch" and Pac-10 mentioned in the same thought? Hmmm….well, it turns out that the Pac-10 was off the hook on this one since they were not in charge of the replay system at their main bowl game, wait a minute….

It is Apple Cup week and the Lounge clientele is predictably subdued. Two teams are going to be playing after debilitating losses - why, if ESPN were in charge, they would cancel television coverage. But there is one important factor to take into account for Apple Cup. The NCAA released graduation success rates last week and only two schools in the Pac-10 - Wazzu and Oregon State - have graduation rates for their student-athletes higher than the student body population who are yelling at them from the stands. At Wazzu, their student-athletes are third in their success at graduating [behind only Stanford and UCLA] and nine points above the Huskies.

The game is being held in Pullman this year and as the Lounge understands it, Fox is scheduled to televise it but they have not televised many Wazzu football games this year despite the fact that the Cougars are bowl eligible, so they may not be familiar with how to get to Pullman. Just so Fox does not get confused from their lack of coverage of Wazzu football games this year, the Lounge did a community service and Mapquested the game for them to let them know that will be Pullman, Washington - so they do not mistakenly show up in to Pullman, Michigan or Pullman, West Virginia - both fine places, we are sure, but neither home to the Apple Cup this weekend.

"When should we begin to be worried about the football team?" asks Miss. Fortune with a legitimate concern etched into her forehead [really, the tattoo artist made a mistake and "legitimate concern" is right there on her forehead].

Right about….now - if we are judging from the infallible Lounge consensus. It was one thing to be outplayed by Arizona but a completely different thing altogether to be ground to a pulp by Arizona State as the Cougars were last weekend. That game signified that it is officially okay for Cougar fans and well-wishers [as well as bowl game committee members] to be sufficiently concerned with the state of affairs. The loss was so complete that it does not even warrant an acknowledgement, except to toss it in the receptacle of wretched performances. During the years that he has been a starter at receiver for the Cougars, Wazzu has not won a game that Jason Hill has missed. That has been only two games, but it has been ugly both times [Stanford last year and Arizona State this year]. Even if Hill plays in the Apple Cup, he will not be at 100% - fortunately for the Cougars, they won't be playing Stanford.

"It looks like it's hoop season now!" yells e.e. sneezelle, who is not prone to emotional outbursts, but suddenly found he had some excited molecules in his body after the Cougars' season-opening pair of wins [as of Lounge "press" time].

It's hard for the Lounge clientele to suppress joy when men's basketball season has usually meant a joyless world for much of the past decade - so even though a season-opening win over the University of Alabama-Birmingham and UW-Milwaukee [and possibly Radford] might not indicate good things to come - it is hard to keep those thoughts off the back burner, so the Lounge will not try. Two positives came out of the Cougars' opening hoops games - first, that they won them and second that they won them without the services of injured center Aron Baynes, who is expected to rejoin them in two weeks for the latter portion of the Cougars' four successive home games. UAB may or may not be an NCAA-caliber team - that will remain to be seen - but to win out of the gate when the program has not exactly been a regular winning machine lately and to additionally do it without a key contributor - well, let's just say Father Lotto's goose pimples are the biggest to have been reported on record since the big win over UCLA in Pauley Pavilion. It is still early but there is plenty of room for those goose pimples to grow.

"What is the deal with soccer!?" asks a clearly bewildered Mr. Smarmy Whelk.

Don't even get us started, Smarmy. Okay, just a dash of leftover disgust sprinkled with a pinch of aghast. The NCAA messed up - big time - in leaving Oregon out of the post-season tournament and, to a lesser degree, Wazzu. The Ducks finished second and the Cougars finished fourth in the Pac-10 this year and the NCAA selection committee jumped over both and selected the fifth and sixth-place teams out of the conference. To make matters worse - rather than own up to the mistake straight up, the NCAA selection committee members offered first, no response, then a manufactured, factory-issued response that was perhaps the limpest understatement in the history of mankind [or at least in the top three] - that the Ducks were "close" to making it. Close, eh? So if the NCAA selection committee were in charge of dispatching information to the public in World War 2, we would have expected to hear that the Japanese were "close" to hitting Pearl Harbor.

In order for the NCAA selection committee members to better find their feelings and get closer to reality, the Lounge performs yet another community service - we are in a very giving mood this week, must be all the good holiday nog cheer - and provides the Therapist Finder. If anybody needs this kind of help, it is the NCAA women's soccer selection committee.

Finally, the Lounge Scientists found some software that provides a more useful array of emoticons for humans to use - ones that are based on those of the actual human's facial expressions and not some weird contortion of the yellow ball smiley face. The new emoticons can even portray up to six emotions - from anger to happiness [although bemused indifference is still on the drawing board] They spent a lot of time on this - so cut them some slack.

"If I enter an online environment, I've got no idea what kind of mood you are in. We think it could be an improvement on the crude emoticons instant messaging programs use now," says Lounge Scientist #9, Anthony Boucouvalas of Bournemouth University in the UK, who reputedly uses an emoticon representing a gawking, smitten 12-year-old.

This might be good for those bowl game blazer guys to use but the Lounge clientele thinks the Vegas blazer should still have a pair of dice on the lapel and a little remote control button to "roll" them and have different numbers come up when people ask them about a team's bowl game chances, such as in this actual fictional re-enactment - Team Booster: "So, Mr. Bowl Game Buddy, old pal - what's the chances of my Fightin' Amoebas getting' into your bowl?" Vegas Bowl Game Committee Guy: "Well, let's see [rolls dice] - snake eyes!"

+++++++sponsored by Clark's Restaurant+++++++++

Attention COUGAR Fans! Autumn is here! Time to feed that appetite. How can you afford to go one day further without some tasty morsels from Clark's Restaurant in Grays Harbor - home of the Best Hamburger in Twin Harbors for seven consecutive years? Come in for the burger, fresh homemade fries and milkshakes concocted from homemade ice cream. Go ahead, we dare you to try and pass up more than 12 varieties of hamburgers to choose from, full dinners, lunch and full breakfast served daily. Clark's Restaurant 360.538.1487. Seven miles south of Aberdeen, Washington on Highway 101. Proud supporter of CougZone. Mention this ad for a free small hot chocolate.

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