January 3, 2010

The Cougar Lounge - The Specter Of Incompetence




"We couldn't get the ball inbounded because they were on the court."

- Oregon head men's hoop coach Ernie Kent, stretching the truth to, literally, unbelievable proportions after Pac-10 officials gave his team a holiday gift of a victory over the Cougars last week.




"We [called] a technical foul for bench personnel running onto the court during a live ball, without beckoning onto the court."

- Pac-10 lead official Mike Littlewood, explaining his technical foul call that gave Oregon the opportunity for a gift victory over the Cougars last week, then going on to cite a rule that indicates if the offending situation does not cause a delay, then it should be ignored and a warning should be given before a technical is called. Neither was done by Littlewood or his Pac-10 crew.




"Last Sunday's decision by the Indianapolis Colts to rest key starting players - which many believe led to a victory by the New York Jets - has shown quite clearly some of the direct effects of the NFL playoffs on the sport's regular season and post-season. There's no question that playoffs diminish the regular season…."

- BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock, beginning to show the telltale signs of desperation after last week's release of the Quinnipiac Poll showing overwhelming national support for a college football playoff and comparing two completely different sports - professional football and college football - in a flailing attempt to bolster the BCS Taliban's non-playoff system while unwittingly attacking all the other playoffs for every other sport in which the NCAA administers playoffs. So, for the record, Bill thinks playoffs diminish all NCAA sports - and that would include NCAA Division I-AA [now FCS], Division II and Division III college football - except Division I football. Good, clear thinking there, Bill.




"Oh, it's hard, very hard indeed. But not as hard as doing comedy."

- Famous Hollywood actor Edmund Gwenn, who won an Oscar for his portrayal of Santa Claus in Miracle on 34th Street, on his deathbed in 1959 responding to actor/comedian Jack Lemmon on whether or not dying was hard.








Twenty10 is here and that means utopia has arrived, right? The Earth will cleanse itself, people will stop fighting with each other, animals and plants will prosper, diseases will be cured and Pac-10 officials will call basketball games correctly. Well, about that last one…perhaps it requires a little more time. Pac-10 officials got a jump on breaking in the new year and since it is the Year of the Tiger in the Chinese calendar, they came roaring in to announce themselves last week on New Year's Eve by bestowing a holiday gift to the University of Oregon's men's basketball team and allowing them to have the opportunity to win a game in Pullman last week. The Pac-10 has already fostered a well-deserved reputation for hoop officiating mediocrity over the years and this officiating crew did their level best to uphold that tradition with inconsistent calls throughout the game. But the real treat was left for the last minutes of the game when they inserted themselves squarely into the spotlight and made it clear that they - with some delicate prodding from the benefactor of their calls, Oregon head men's hoop coach Ernie Kent - would decide who would win this game rather than the athletes on the court.


Now, we know what you Oregon fans and well-wishers are saying, you are saying, "Huh? There was a basketball game? When? I was at the Rose Bowl watching my team get stiff-armed by Terrelle Pryor," - so do not bother writing in to the Lounge. We also know that the few of you Oregon fans who could not afford one of the 72 seats on one of the three airplanes leased for $56,000 apiece to fly boosters down to the game last week to watch the team get stiff-armed by Pryor, and stayed home and watched the game will now take the opportunity to blurt out something witty such as, "Does that include the extra Wazzu athletes on the court?" The Lounge is way ahead of you. Let us all agree that there were extra Cougar hoop players on the court after sophomore DeAngelo Casto converted a layup with three-tenths of a second remaining in the game. Since that is the foundation for the technical foul, we will gracefully concede that fact - you may now discuss amongst yourselves which of four compromises you wish to make for that call - A] the Pac-10 officials calling a technical foul on Kent for any of the approximately - and this is a rough estimate - 173 times he came out of his box and onto the court while there was live action on the court; B] the Pac-10 officials calling a technical on Kent/Oregon for attempting to call a timeout when they had none left; C] the Pac-10 officials calling a foul on Michael Dunigan on Casto's layup [it would be consistent with how they called the game up to that point - need we remind you how many times Klay Thompson went to the line in that game?] or D] the Pac-10 officials issue a warning to the Wazzu bench for the extra Cougar players on the court? Take your time.

All that controversy took our minds off the ongoing travesty that is the BCS Taliban. It got so bad that the BCS Taliban's executive director tried comparing professional football with collegiate football in a wildly desperate attempt to divert attention from the lameness of the current BCS Taliban's non-playoff system. Now we know why USC has gone so long without being penalized by the NCAA - the people the NCAA associates with are watching professional football and comparing it to college football instead of listening to what the fans want - which, by a wide 63%-26% margin - is a college football playoff, according to last week's Quinnipiac poll. By why argue with facts when you have speculation and improper parallels at your disposal? After all, paid professional athletes competing in a league are almost the same thing as college ball players. That benchwarmer for the Colts earning six figures is damn near equivalent to the freshman from Bug Tussle who sits on his college team's bench - so much so, in fact, that it warrants a correlation to playoff systems. Maybe that kind of logic is worth an extra percentage point in next year's poll.

With 2009 in the rear-view mirror, it is time to address people, places and things that we will, sadly, no longer see or hope to no longer see. The dead celebrity roll call for 2009 includes Walter Cronkite, Dom DeLuise, Ed McMahon and Ricardo Montalban. This does not include the dead celebrity roll call under weird circumstances - that list consists of Michael Jackson, David Carradine and Billy Mays. The Lounge feels genuine remorse for losing Cronkite, DeLuise and Montalban [Fantasy Island aside, Star Trek movies would never have been successful without the wrath of Khan]. Then there are those other 2009-prevalent things that the Lounge would be happy to see leave this planet forever. They include Twitter and tweeting, any and all Kardashians and Snuggies.

"What can be done about the Pac-10 refs?" asks Mr. Smarmy Whelk, after the debacle in Pullman last week.

Well, Mr. Whelk, unfortunately, there is nothing which can be done about the game itself. What should have been a win for the Cougars was instead snatched away by a series of questionable decisions by the Pac-10 officiating crew working the Wazzu-Oregon game. Since the game cannot be forfeited to the Cougars, it will have to be recorded as a loss. The Pac-10 can reprimand the crew working the game but there are two things wrong with this approach - it does not give retribution to the Cougars for costing them a game in the conference standings and if a reprimand allows the crew to continue working Pac-10 games with no demotion or significant change in their status, it essentially becomes a wrist-slap penalty and therefore, of little consequence. The Pac-10 commissioner, Larry Scott, along with director of men's basketball officiating Bill McCabe will have a crucial decision to make in the coming days and Cougar fans and well-wishers hope it is a better decision than the Pac-10 men's hoop crew made in Pullman last week.

"Do you really think Jeshua can break the record?" asks The Fisheyed Foo about Jeshua Anderson's upcoming three-month assault on the Pac-10 men's 400-meter hurdle record.

Well, Foo, that is a toughie. The current record is 47.72 set by UCLA's Kevin Young in 1988. Anderson's current Wazzu school record mark is 48.47, set last June while he was winning his second consecutive NCAA title in his specialty. Making up three-quarters of a second is not impossible, especially for the junior Anderson, who has already knocked off more than a full second off his early times running as a freshman. But as Anderson closes in on Young's mark, the tenths of a second are more difficult to clip off. However, now that Anderson has given up football and is concentrating solely on his track and field career this year, he can drop the football bulk and become a leaner, meaner hurdling machine that may be enough to give him that extra three-fourths of a second he needs to claim that 22-year-old record. Past that, Anderson's focus on the race should give him a better chance to make the USA team for next year's track and field world championships in South Korea and, subsequently, a better shot at making the USA team for the 2012 Olympics in London. If, as expected, this is Anderson's last year in a Cougar uniform, he can spend next year earning money, competing and training on the world track and field circuit to prepare for his place on the American teams for both events. In short, Cougar fans and well-wishers should take as many opportunities as they can to catch Anderson in action before he leaves Pullman for worldwide fame. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing construction of the Martin Stadium renovation project, there is only one tentatively scheduled Pullman date in the outdoor track and field season - on May 1 for the annual Apple Cup Meet with rival Washington - but if Cougar fans and well-wishers happen to find themselves in Los Angeles on March 19-20 or in Austin, Texas from March 31-April 2, they may catch an Anderson sighting. If not, they will have to settle for Berkeley on May 15-16 for the Pac-10 championships, May 27-29 back in Austin for the NCAA West Regional [please do not ask us why Austin is considered West instead of Midwest] or June 9-12 in Eugene for the NCAA championships.


It is a new year and here you are stuck without a calendar. What if internet service is down? Then how will you know when Ted and Sue's birthdays are? How will you know when the next propaganda statement will emerge from the BCS Taliban? Do not be like Tiger and get caught with your pants down, go to Red Bubble and click on calendars for your cool calendar needs. We endorse the abstract - particularly the orange sunrise for July - we are looking forward to that.

Meanwhile, the Lounge Scientists know you may have had your fill of alcohol-related talk after last week's big party, but it is never too early to begin thinking about the future and the scientists in the LS mixology lab are all over that. They have been busy concocting different cocktails and methods of making old favorites different for different occasions - including the"mojito of the future" - which involves freezing certain essential mojito elements with liquid nitrogen and creating spheres of floating mini mojitos suspended in a carbonated liquid.

"We update and modify old recipes. We like to do classic drinks, but push them to see where they're going," says Lounge Mixologist #55, Tony Conigliaro, a mixologist in London, who reportedly has been frozen in time more than once.

The Lounge has discovered that the Pac-10 will look into the possibility of freezing Pac-10 officiating crews before they can they the opportunity to make poor decisions.




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