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October 4, 2009
The Cougar Lounge - Samba Wings
"The opportunity is now to extend the Games to a new continent. It's an opportunity for an Olympics in a tropical country for the first time, to feel the warmth of our people, the exuberance of our culture and the sensation of our joy."
- Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, after Rio de Janeiro was awarded the 2016 Olympics last week.
"I'll be the first one to tell you I don't have all the answers."
- Oregon head football coach Chip Kelly in his announcement last week that he will consider reinstating running back LeGarrette Blount. All the answers? No, the Lounge has those safely stored in a ceegar box in the attic where they cannot hurt anybody [or punch, in this case].
"We didn't expect to see such poor results using the BCS. It was surprising to see how little it took to do a better job."
- Assistant professor of mathematics at Pacific University in Oregon, who helped student Maggie Wigness develop an algorithm that was considerably more accurate than the ones currently used by the BCS to determine it's so-called champions in Division I football.
"If you don't want a sex tape on the internet - don't make one!"
- Hollywood attorney Marty Singer, after television star Eric Dane's attempt to sue a celebrity website for publishing a video depicting Dane in, shall we say, risqué business.
The world was escorted back to superficial insanity when Oregon brought out their Halloween costume uniforms again for a football game, but the real story last week was the International Olympic Committee deciding to award the 2016 Olympics to Rio de Janeiro. Actually, there were many stories within a story involved in the decision, but the primary issue was how the South American city defeated both expected favorite Chicago with both Barack and Michelle Obama making the trip to Copenhagen in support of the American city's bid or sentimental favorite Madrid, which barely lost out to London for 2012 and has now lost again for 2016? Tokyo was the fourth contender but was widely considered a long shot to come home with the trophy - but Rio was not. The main reason being that the Olympics has never - in their 113-year modern history - held a Games on South American soil. But there has been a reason for that. Over those 113 years, most countries in South America have either been embroiled in some form - financial, political, social - turmoil which has prevented a serious bid to be considered by the IOC. This time, while Rio was undoubtedly a serious bid to consider, the problem was that both Chicago and Madrid were both seemingly better options for a variety of reasons - primarily, Chicago for the money it would make for the IOC and Madrid for the location [an easy, less expensive travel location for the majority of the world]. Then there were the human factors - Chicago had the Obamas stumping for it while Madrid had former IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch pleading to give his native country the Olympics before he dies [he is 89]. So there you have it - an emotional three-way tug-o-war between international popularity, near-deathbed poignancy and a sense of fairness - all couched in a BCS-style voting process [why it takes four rounds of voting instead of one after contenders have already been systemically eliminated along the way, is extremely curious]. But when human emotion is involved, well, you tend to get things like Oregon's football uniforms - and the awarding of the Olympics to Rio. It is not that Rio is not a good location for the Olympics - the Lounge would certainly send a carnivale entourage there if the appropriate lottery could be won to finance such a trip in seven years, but it seems this decision was based solely on emotion rather than common sense - after all, Madrid did win the first vote outright. Still, either way, the people win and Rio in the South American summer will probably be quite a bit of fun in 2016.
Of course, the other big news last week was either that David Letterman had sex or that somebody was trying to extort money from him for that reason. The Lounge is like most people in this regard - with the idea that we could never really envision Letterman having sex - much less with his own female staffers. That seems, to the Lounge, to be the classic definition of desperation. Now, do not get us wrong, we like Letterman as a funny guy, but playing horizontal hockey with him - job opportunities for females in New York City have to be really rough for that to be an option. Even more desperate was the 1950s-era maneuver used by the extortionist - the old Perry Masonesque I-know-something-bad-about-you-and-will-go-to-the-media-with-it-if-you-don't-pay-me-off ploy. While that did get Letterman to admit to having sex [again ewww], it was not exactly a bombshell of, say, Rio getting the Olympics. A celebrity having sex in inappropriate ways? Shocking. [Well, it was a little, in Letterman's case].
The big news week continues and this time it is far more exciting news as the IFC [Independent Film Channel] cable television channel announced that they will be airing a new Monty Python documentary series - Almost The Truth: The Lawyers Cut - a six-part series detailing a start-to-finish timeline which is due to air in two weeks although Pythonite Terry Jones does not feel the crushing burden of viewing obligation ["This is the documentary I always hoped would be made - something so complete and so faithful to the truth that I don't need to watch it."]
In less exciting news, Sports Illustrated, along with everybody else with a brain and functioning kidneys on the planet, thinks there should be a college football playoff and provides a 16-team bracket free of charge for the NCAA to use and, for some odd reason, according to our marketing research zombies, people in the Seattle/Tacoma area seem to like yogurt more than anybody else in the country. Yes, even Philadelphia.
"I feel a lot better about the Cougs now," says Ms. Dee Ceased, after the Wazzu volleyball team went 3-1 in their first four matches in Pac-10 conference play.
Not only did Wazzu impressively shut out both Oregon State and Arizona in the first two weeks of conference action, but they have lost only 10 sets all year long at this point [43-10]. That means two things. First, that they are not barely squeaking by - they are legitimately improved and confident of their play. Second, that they are now on their way to reasonably expecting an NCAA berth barring a complete collapse. However, the Pac-10 schedule does get noticeably tougher in the next few weeks with matches against Stanford, California, USC, UCLA and Washington - but if they can get two wins out of those five matches, that should secure an NCAA berth if they win the remaining matches they will be expected to win. At this point, the Lounge sees an 8-10 finish as most likely but a 9-9 or even 10-8 finish as likely, as well. Getting beyond 10 conference wins will probably entail some efforts that were unforeseen by anybody - including members of the coaching staff and team - but it is not entirely out of the realm of possibility. But even the most dire yet reasonable projections should get the Cougs at least seven conference wins and that is still bubble territory that would most likely favor Wazzu in an NCAA selection process due to the strength of the conference as the toughest in the land..
"What the hell happened?" asks Unrecognizable Johnson, no doubt, about the football team's implosion in Eugene on Saturday.
Well, UJ, we could use that now time-worn cliché and say that "[excrement] happened" but that would not really be genuinely indicative of the situation. The Cougars were missing their best running back, receiver, their defense has the depth of a third grader, their kicker has suddenly developed amnesia and they are starting an offensive line consisting of a sponge, two cans of Spam and a feather. With all that going for them, they still had some semblance of hope going into this game because true freshman quarterback Jeff Tuel gave them a spark of hope last week in an inspired performance against USC. Unfortunately, that inspiration did not last long enough to make it to Eugene for the offensive line, who allowed Tuel to get sandwiched in the first quarter and knocked out of the game with a hip injury. It was reminiscent of last year when Cougar quarterbacks were fresh meat for virtually any opposing defense. With Tuel out, the struggling redshirt sophomore quarterback Marshall Lobbestael was no match for Oregon's first string, much less their second string defense. Only a stroke of luck that produced a couple of seconds of Nike stupidity on special teams gave Wazzu the opportunity to score and avoid a shutout, which were so prominent in 2008. If Tuel is out for any significant amount of time or the year, the Lounge consensus is unanimous that the Cougars' prospects are once again doomed for 2009. If Tuel is able to play again, then there is still a slim ray of hope since the most daunting part of the schedule is behind them and the Cougars can have more reasonable shots at some of the remaining teams on their schedule if they are healthy enough to field a team. But that is only if Tuel is healthy enough to play.
After having to see Oregon's ugly uniforms make a re-appearance, the Lounge had to get out of the house - and preferably the state, country and continent, if necessary. But we did not have enough money to do that since we did not win the lottery like somebody in Florida. So we have to do the next best thing, which is go out for a drive and the nice folks at Volkswagen have made that possible to do from your computer keyboard. Wunderbar!
The Lounge Scientists were busy from 2001 to 2006. Busy doing what, you may ask? Busy dissecting 125,000 football plays and three million baseball pitches. What, besides having to take many trips to the bathroom, did they discover during this time span? The revelation that pitchers throw too many fastballs and football teams run more than they pass and both tend to be too predictable in these regards. Unfortunately for the scientists in charge of the study, there were no situational factors included [third down and a yard requires a run, generally, while third down and 15 requires a pass, generally] - just run and pass, that was it for the choices.
"The objective of a team is to win the game. At the end of the day, they don't care if they win by five points or 10 points," says Lounge Scientist #15, John Wooders, a scientist at the University of Arizona, who reputedly was very predictable in his response.
Oregon's uniforms, Rio getting the Olympics, David Letterman having sex and being blackmailed [cue Monty Python skit here ] hmmm all very unpredictable behavior. Maybe they should all throw more fastballs.
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