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August 28, 2011

The Cougar Lounge - The Giant Haboob Mystery [Solved]



"Unfortunately, with such a young team, we will probably rely on her a lot this year."

- Wazzu head volleyball coach Jen Greeny after "Monster Meagan" [senior hitter Meagan Ganzer] mashed yet another group of teams at the Seattle University volleyball tournament and jumped into the Wazzu Top 10 for all-time kills.




"This is very important. I want to really feel good, feel like I can still run."

- Wazzu distance racing legend and world champion Bernard Lagat, who will be trying for another world championship in the 5000 meters at this week's World Track & Field Championship in Daegu, South Korea.




"Personally, I want our team our team to go out with a bang - whether that's going to a bowl game or just improving our season."

- Wazzu senior offensive lineman B.J. Guerra as the Cougars prepare to open the 2011 football season against Idaho State this week.




"Golf is the only four-letter word I don't say when I'm playing it."

- Actor, musician and amateur golfer Justin Timberlake, assessing his golf game [he has a six handicap].









The sign in the sky was obvious. It had "haboob" written all over it…in giant letters, some of which closely resembled irritated porcupines. Now, whether or not this habooby sign is a favorable or unfavorable omen for the rapidly [it is only days away now] Wazzu football season, the Lounge is not prepared to say. Mostly because we are too busy calming down the Lounge clientele who could not keep their composure when Father Lotto blurted out "Haboob's A-comin' Ma!" in his best hickbilly voice. The Lounge clientele is an odd mixture and one which can both appreciate the humorous and serious nature of a haboob [an Arabic word for dust storm]. Well, let us just say that they try really hard to take it seriously when they hear "haboob".


All haboobs aside - settle down back there - this is a crucial season for the Wazzu football program. Never mind the sniping that has split the fan base [and some portions of the Lounge clientele] about head coach Paul Wulff. In the big picture, the near future of the program could be in jeopardy. The Cougars' last bowl game appearance was in 2003 when Wazzu memorably defeated Texas under the stewardship of then-head coach Bill Doba. Since that time, Doba's beloved wife, Judy, passed away and as Doba was emotionally and mentally occupied during Judy's death throes, his staff let him and the program down in their most desperate time of need. The result was several years' worth of sub-par recruiting assisted by an over-reliance on risky non-West Coast players and Doba's old-school belief to wait until late in the process before offering. These last two factors were particularly damaging as the combination of taking risks on far-flung players who did not always pan out academically, athletically or in character - Chima Nwachukwu being the outstanding exception to this - combined with the late waiting recruiting tactic causing the Cougars to miss out on potential solid players meant that Wazzu had to take even more risks on the field and in the coaching decisions. Needless to say, those risks did not pay off and although there was some talent when Wulff arrived on the scene four years ago, it may have been enough to get a .500 season, but it was not enough to get the Cougars back to a bowl game - although in today's watered-down college football environment, a bowl game is typically more representative of mediocrity than a superiority.

Not surprisingly then, Wulff's tenure so far has been marked mostly by losses - 32 of them so far - though Wazzu fans and well-wishers have objected to the depths of some of those losses [most notably the 2008 69-0 loss to USC in Wulff's first year in which the Cougars essentially had a game plan designed to run clock and lessen the Trojan damage and then-USC head coach Pete Carroll obliged by not running up the score into higher digits]. But in 2011, after three seasons and four years' worth of rebuilding, Wulff has perhaps his final chance to woo Wazzu fans and well-wishers back to the program - and that is important since nearly two cycles of students [otherwise known as future alumni or potential donors] have passed through Pullman without having witnessed a team capable of achieving even the mediocrity of a lesser bowl game. Never mind the droves who have abandoned their season tickets after having to make difficult decisions in the tough economy of the past three years. To put it bluntly, Wulff has to win games this year or else the program is in danger of sinking further into the abyss. Fortunately, Wulff has managed to accumulate bits and pieces of talent here and there for the 2011 squad - particularly quarterback Jeff Tuel, receivers Marquess Wilson and Jared Karstetter on offense and defensive lineman Travis Long and linebackers Sekope Kaufusi and C.J. Mizell on defense. So there is a chance - after the Cougars get done throttling overmatched opponents Idaho State this week and UNLV next week - that a .500 season or better could possibly happen and a mediocre bowl game [which is better than the nothing of the last seven years] could be in the waiting. The future success of the program may depend on it.

When the Cougars finish demolishing Idaho State on Saturday - it may or may not make the USA Today newspaper - since their weekend edition comes out early and it is a holiday weekend. But the parent company Gannett, will still make their money as much as $82 million because they charge some hotel guests for a free newspaper. This is similar to the BCS Taliban telling us their system works and is better than a playoff - especially like last year when it paired two cheating teams against each other in the so-called national championship game. That worked out well.

"That was a good start!" says Night Al, of the Wazzu soccer team's first two matches of the 2011 season.

Yes, Al, it was a relatively good start for the Wazzu soccer team as the Cougars defeated Hawai'i in their season opener on the islands, 3-1, behind a hat trick from sophomore Eileen "Bunny" Maes and then followed that up with a close 1-0 loss to the fourth-ranked Portland Pilots in Portland. Even though the win over the Wahine was expected, it is always good to come through on expectations and the match against Portland - though a loss which will not make head coach Matt Potter pleased - was still a good effort against a strong program. Both results should help the Cougars come NCAA tourney selection time if they are at or above .500 by that time of the season.

"That was a little better than I expected," says Mr. Stinkster, after Wazzu started their volleyball season with two wins in their first three matches at the Seattle University tournament.

Head coach Jen Greeny has probably the toughest job of all Cougar coaches this year - and certainly the toughest rebuild of any team in the last decade and a half, going back to Sherri Murrell's situation coming off the head coaching tenure of Jenny Przekwas. Greeny had only four players returning with playing experience from last year and that included no setters or middle blockers. Yet, so far, she has been able to get the Cougars winning two of their first three matches - against Santa Clara and host school Seattle. Although they were upset by Eastern Washington in the tourney, the fact that they could get wins over a traditionally strong Bronco team and the host school is a positive foreboding for the future. The 2011 season may turn ugly when the Pac-12 portion of it arrives, but so far, Greeny has the Cougars going into the right direction.


Because we at the Lounge know that you literally cannot get enough haboob coverage we are contractually obligated to show you that even aliens are attracted to haboobs as this article clearly shows UFO's flying out of a giant haboob. Well, okay, it could be some clouds, or some spaceships taking away Moammar Gadhafi or maybe the re-appearance of the StayPuft marshmallow man - but it is definitely a journalistic bonus whenever you have a chance to use the term "giant haboob".

The Lounge Scientists are seething mad because here they had this week all lined up to announce that they had discovered Gadhafi hiding out on one of the two moons they discovered circling the Earth [the ones the alien spaceships were flying to, obviously, duh] and then the haboob shows up. Well, now they had to amend their story to say the Earth once had two moons and one crashed into the other, leaving the current single moon lopsided like one of those lawn bowling balls - only with a dent in it.

"It's a really new idea that puts a completely different take on the origin of the lunar dichotomy," says Lounge Scientist #2 Robin Canup, a planetary scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder who, reportedly, has two versions of how he thinks the Buffaloes season is going to go as well.

Yes, but it is no giant haboob.




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