Not overfull of delighted cackles at Arizona State’s new Muppet Babies-inspired Sparky costume? You are not alone, as it happens! Voting is open through Sunday at sparky.asu.edu to choose a re-revamped mascot. Your choices are pictured above. They are all different, but the Clark Gable mustache is apparently here to stay. A true classic never goes out of style, at least not in plush form.
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By Zac Ellis
On Tuesday, news broke that Notre Dame was adding Florida State to its upcoming ACC schedule for 2014. The Irish are joining the ACC in every sport except football, but will still play five football games against ACC teams in their inaugural season.
Alongside that news came word that Notre Dame might be dropping Arizona State from its 2014 slate. According to Fox Sports Arizona, neither team has made anything official, so as of now the two programs are still slated to face off in Tempe on Oct. 25, 2014. But Sun Devils athletic director Steve Patterson didn’t let that stop him from opening up on Notre Dame’s apparent disinterest in keeping his program on its schedule.
In an interview with Phoenix radio station XTRA Sports 910 AM, Patterson went after Notre Dame’s manner of handling business:
For those of you toiling in East Coast offices who missed Friday’s Arizona State rebranding announcements, this gallery of the evolution of Sun Devils mascot Sparky is worth your time. The latest iteration of the plush Sun Devil is a lot more plush and a lot less devil; if this trend continues, expect to see a version of mascot Muppet Babies hitting the Disney Channel within our lifetimes. (The Oregon Duck is Animal.)
The 2012 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl is just hours away. We’re sure you have so many questions. We’re here to help. You might also be hungry, which unfortunately we cannot help you with. Maybe try Kraft. (For an X’s and O’s breakdown, click through to Matt Dollinger’s game preview.)
• What’s all this, then? The 11th edition of That Bowl That’s Played in San Francisco, which began life in 2002 as the San Francisco Bowl and then spent a few years as the Emerald Bowl before acquiring its Kraft sponsorship (and hunger-fightin’ powers) in 2010.
• Where will this game be played? AT&T Park in San Francisco, Calif., home of your reigning World Series champion San Francisco Giants. That’s not a football team. No, it is not. So this game is held in a baseball stadium? Yup, with the south end zone along the first base line and both teams gathered on the same sideline. There’s a barrier separating them at the 50, presumably to prevent any signal-stealing, intersquad “I’m not touching you” battles or other unsportsmanlike conduct. Why are both these baseball-based football games occupying a single midday timeslot? So even when ESPN is on commercial break, you can see linebackers churning up basepaths on ESPN2? Seriously, we got nothing.
• When is it on television? Coverage begins at 4 p.m. ET. Dave Pasch and Brian Griese will be in the booth, with Jenn Brown on the sideline, presumably the one occupied by people.
And we’re back! Items of interest you may have missed whilst holidaying:
• Start ‘em early. The Palm Beach Post‘s Jason Lieser works to instill a proper reverence for prep work in our nation’s youth:
We made some flashcards to teach our 1-year-old about our upcoming trip to the Sugar Bowl. twitter.com/PBPjasonlieser…
— Jason Lieser (@PBPjasonlieser) December 24, 2012
• Roster blotter. And now, a whole bunch of players who are being held out of bowl games for assorted reasons: Stanford’s Terrence Stephens (secondary NCAA violation), Oregon’s Nick Cody and Axel McQuaw (academics), Minnesota’s Andre McDonald (the ever-popular-and-mysterious Violation Of Team Rules), Texas Tech’s Cornelius Douglas, Chris Payne and Leon Mackey (VOTR), UCLA’s Tevin McDonald (VOTR), Syracuse’s Adonis Ameen-Moore and Max Beaulieu (VOTR) and Marquis Spruill and Steven Rene (partial suspensions only) … Illinois’ Akeem Spence has declared for the draft … Duron Carter has dropped out of FAU … Cody Vaz will start at quarterback in the Alamo Bowl … Oklahoma’s Stacy McGee was arrested Monday.
• No. 15 Texas A&M 29, No. 1 Alabama 24. We are reminded tonight of how Kevin Sumlin’s first round of interviews went at last summer’s SEC Media Days. No reporter actually stood up, shoved a mic in his face and asked, “HEY COACH, YOU SKEERED?” but something like that wasn’t all that far from happening by the time the Q&A ended. Sumlin dispensed with those questions back in July with gracious humor, some quips and a few dagger stares. Tonight, his Aggies dispensed with the No. 1 team in the country.
Heading into Week 11, Alabama had a perfect record in 2012, one loss in nearly two full seasons of football and a unanimous lock on the No. 1 spot in the AP Poll. And tonight, in Tuscaloosa, the Tide were rudely introduced to a Kliff Kingsbury offense that put them in a 20-0 hole, at home, by the end of the first quarter. ‘Bama answered with two touchdowns and a field goal over the next two quarters, but it surrendered nine more points to the Aggies in the fourth. The Tide pulled to within a five-point, 29-24 deficit on a 54-yard AJ McCarron-to-Amari Cooper score halfway through the final period and held A&M to a three-and-out on the subsequent possession. But a costly McCarron interception inside the five-yard line on what could have been the game-winning drive, plus a ‘Bama offsides penalty with A&M set to punt in the final minute, sealed the stunning upset.
• Baby Mangino, you had a hell of a run. You achieved internet glory and are surely a robust and take-no-prisoners schoolchild by now. We wish you all the best, and must now pass your mantle to another:
— D. Scott Fritchen (@DScottFritchen) October 18, 2012
• No. 2 Oregon 43, Arizona State 21. Stewart Mandel took in last night’s carnage in Tempe:
For exactly three plays Thursday, No. 2 Oregon looked mortal. On second down of the Ducks’ first possession, the quarterback fumbled. One play later, Arizona State quarterback Taylor Kelly threw a 28-yard touchdown.
“I don’t know if there can be a worst start,” said Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti. “And then we decided that maybe, possibly we wanted to play today.”
Two FBS football games grace your Thursday night television schedule. We’re sure you have so many questions, and that one of them is, “Can we see that Duck Gangnam Style video again?” You sure can!
Houston @ SMU
• What information do I, the discerning consumer, require in order to consume this game? The Cougars and Mustangs kick off at 8 p.m. ET in Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas. The game will be televised on FSN.
• Why am I spending my Thursday night watching a 2-4 team play a 3-3 team, one of which has already lost to Texas State and one of which has lost to Tulane? Far be it from us to tell you what to do with your free time, but the hours between now and that 9:00 p.m. Pac-12 kickoff loom long. (If you must watch at least one winning team, take in some FCS ball. North Carolina Central hosts Hampton at 7:30 p.m. on ESPNU.)
• Sailors would guide entire journeys by it, but the joke was on them. Are we ever so happy as when another school comes out with a football-themed rap video? We really think not:
The best part of this particular contribution to the field of college football-themed music videos is that it’s school-sanctioned, and cannot therefore be written off as the actions of a mere fringe group. We like to think the bewildered-looking girl functions as a kind of silent Greek chorus here. We’re right with you, honey.