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January 7, 2007"Gosh, this could be an opportunity."
- Fox Sports West communications director Jennifer Johnson, suddenly deciding to televise top-ranked UCLA's game against Oregon State two days after a Los Angeles Times article emerged containing expressions of "surprise" and "disappointment" from UCLA head coach Ben howland that his Bruins were not scheduled to be televised by the conference's primary television partner [Handy dandy Lounge translation for the time-crunched professional: "Gosh, this could cost me my job" or, in certain West Los Angeles dialects, "Gosh, there sure are a lot of angry people calling us names."].
"I've wised up since last year."
- USC sophomore forward RouSean Cromwell assuring everybody that you won't find his phone number on Facebook since a devious Oregon fan publicized it last year and also assuring everybody that he is getting an education while at USC.
"It turned into this weird bonding thing with the city. Now people think I'm actually from Detroit."
- Comedian Jimmy Kimmel, who made a joke about the city following the NBA finals three years ago that originally incensed the populace but has since been smoothed out.
All deliveries of nog have ceased for another year as the bowl games wind down and once again there is mass delusion and hoarding of what containers of nog remain. There are only two bowl games left and one of them - today's GMAC "Daddy" Bowl - definitely requires some nog fortification to get through. Tomorrow's championship game will also require nog to fend off the BCS Taliban bluster, but at least there is a reasonably interesting game to watch with that one. One of the problems Fox has been encountering this football season is that nobody much likes to watch their network for its college football coverage and listen to their generally eardrum-damaging announcers. The preliminary ratings for the four major bowl games are in and despite having the entertainment of the Fiesta Bowl, none of Fox's trio of the Fiesta [4.9], Sugar [4.8] and Orange [3.6] could come close to the Granddaddy - the Rose, televised by ABC/ESPN and garnering a 7.5 - which gives back to the Rose at least a little of the luster it has lost since the inception of the BCS Taliban.
The "other bowl game" - the Super Bowl - is right around the corner and everybody knows what that means - time to prep the brain for the major commercial watching expedition of the year. Commercials cost up to $2.6 million per 30-second spot this year and already the contenders are lining up. Anheuser-Busch has purchased 10 spots and Doritos is in the mix along with GM. Both those companies decided to take a user-generated slant this year with Doritos letting users create their own commercial on a site in conjunction with Yahoo, then five finalists will be chosen and a fan vote will determine the winner while GM will accept ideas from consumers but have an ad agency run the ad.
GoDaddy.com will be there too - although probably not causing as big a fuss as they did last year - but the people the Lounge has always anticipated since their entrance into the Super Bowl fray are those encouraging Norwegians and entangled nine-year-olds at Emerald Nuts. The Nuts will air their commercial in the third quarter this year - up from the fourth - and use notorious deadpan comic actor/singer Robert Goulet.
"Is this real? Is this really happening?" asks Coach Burberry, in garbled tones muffled by the partying going on in Pullman this weekend after the Cougars beat Arizona.
More and more the Cougar men's hoop season is becoming like some sort of parallel universe. Any day now, the Lounge expects images of the WSU logo to start appearing on crop circles or burnt pieces of toast that they sell on eBay. It was like Groundhog Day watching another swarm of students cover the basketball court after a big win. Last month it was Gonzaga and this month it is Arizona as Wazzu keeps racking up the big wins over opponents. The wins over Gonzaga and San Diego State were impressive but pale in comparison to last weekend's win over the Wildcats. Arizona is a traditional national and conference powerhouse that has toyed with the Cougars over much of the past two decades - and it looked like that was going to happen again after Arizona came back from a late 66-59 hole to send the game into overtime tied at 67. But the Cougars, who had beaten the Wildcats in Tucson two years ago but had not beaten them at home in 20 years, not only survived but did so with performances from expected and unexpected sources. Missing center Aron Baynes to an injury, sophomore Daven Harmeling unloaded on the Wildcats - to the tune of a career-high 28 points. That was all well and good for Cougar fans and well-wishers but when freshman Nikola Koprivica and senior Ivory Clark bumped heads, sending both to the bench for short periods of time, who stepped up but little-used [to date] Chris Mathews. Mathews calmly dropped in a couple treys that helped the Cougars finish off the Wildcats. Earlier in the week, it was sophomore Caleb Forrest stepping against Arizona State and putting up double digits to assist in the victory - proving Wazzu can go deep into their bench for quality contribution no matter the opponent - without suffering the debilitating Big Head Syndrome that afflicted some in the past. With the historic win over Arizona, the Cougars are now on the verge of something potentially monumental. They sit atop - that's right, atop - the Pac-10 conference peak with fellow conference mountaineers UCLA, Arizona and USC at 3-1 with a tough road trip coming up to the Bay Area. At 14-2, they are three wins away from assuring a winning season, probably five wins away from assuring an NIT berth and - conservatively-speaking - eight wins away from assuring an NCAA berth. That will depend greatly on their RPI, which took a gigantic stride with the win over Arizona from 31 last week to, most likely, the teens this week. The win over the Wildcats was the marquee victory the program needed to get and they will now find themselves in the Top 25 tomorrow and - more importantly - in the notoriously fickle minds of selection committee members.
"Hey, Butch won that mascot thingymabobber!" notes Burgermeister Meisterburger, amidst the hoop euphoria.
Yes and the Lounge clientele is generally happy for WSU, in between their indifference. It's always good to win something but the Lounge is not sure of the rigged competition. Capital One was the sponsor of the mascot thingymabobber and since they have a bowl game to promote, decided to establish rules that eliminated hundreds of schools by making only Division I and I-AA schools that had football programs eligible. That automatically eliminated what would have been the sure winner - the Banana Slugs of UC-Santa Cruz - as well as the likely runner-up, the Anteaters of UC-Irvine and the Lounge would have waited patiently to see what Division III Meredith College would have come up with before taking a vote. The sole remaining contender to the creativity crown is the Tree at Stanford, but the Tree suffers from a muddled public relations image complicated by the fact that it keeps getting drunk and falling down - something you don't see a Tree do much of in the wild. So among this watered-down field, it is no surprise that Butch easily out-distanced lame competitors such as Aubie from Auburn [academic questions swirling around Aubie's inclusion] and Mr. Wuf from North Carolina State. Mr. Wuf?!? - are you kidding? Bucky the Badger would have seemed like a good competitor but something from Wisconsin should really incorporate cheese and that may have confused some people - and judging by the mere existence of reality shows and the BCS Taliban - people are easily confused.
Confusion, apparently, still reigns in the Pac-10 and it's all commissioner Tom Hansen's fault. There is no more evidence of that than from the proprietors of Fire Tom Hansen where we get a short list of perceived wrongs that have been thrust upon various members of the conference during football seasons past under his watch. But the really interesting bit of information is not that somebody wants Hansen fired badly enough to create a website for it but that this website originates in the United Kingdom through a registration in Amsterdam. We never knew there was so much clamoring among the British and Dutch to get an American [although, from his last name, the Lounge surmises he might be one of those notoriously suspicious Scandinavians] college football commissioner fired. How do the Belgians feel about this? Because if they give their stamp of approval, the Lounge might be prone to look at this as a genuine international movement.
Finally, the Lounge Scientists, inspired, undoubtedly, by the success of the Wazzu men's hoop team, are testing out luminous basketball vests [singlets] that display a player's stats through a small [about the size of an iPod] computer strapped to each player's body which are connected wirelessly to the courtside system. The system was tested out in Australia in small 2-on-2 settings with coaches and a small crowd.
"TV spectators have all sorts of complex on-screen graphics and charts or graphs. We wanted to empower the local spectators with this same information," says Lounge Scientist #18, Mitchell Page, from the University of Sydney, who developed the system and reportedly likes to watch himself foul out.
Uniforms with stats, just imagine the type of madness this would further instill in March. The only thing missing seems to be personal movie and music reviews on the player's jerseys, which could then result in philosophical discussion in the paint - "Ah, I see you like 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' - that was a great movie. How do you feel about state mental institutions? Do you think the state hey look! Johnson just dunked the ball! He's such a show-off."
+++++++sponsored by Clark's Restaurant+++++++++
Attention COUGAR Fans! Winter is here! Now you're hungry. 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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