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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    A few reasons to hate ASU sports

    As the resident veteran of the Wildcat sports desk, I’ve been charged with compiling reasons to hate ASU athletics.

    The candidates are numerous, of course, but I won’t waste time with the immaterial ones. Let’s go to the tape.

    It’s ASU

    I should get the obvious out of the way first. But really, it’s important I start here. This phrase will be your only true constant after you enroll here, the ageless, cellulite-proof stock answer to anyone who questions why Sun Devils and Wildcats can’t just get along.

    Consider this brief exchange a primer:

    Pitiful, misguided soul: Why are you pelting all those yellow-shirted fans with leaky batteries?

    You: It’s ASU.

    Still confused? It’s OK; fortunately for you, the feeling’s only temporary. It’s a way of life at the onetime Tempe Normal School, buoyed by way too many keg stands and a heat index just high enough to sweat out IQ points.

    ASU’s mascot is a gay dog

    Well, not exactly. Sparky the Sun Devil only shares the same name as Stan Marsh’s homosexual pup from

    “”South Park.””

    In reality, one shameless fool a year gets to don a maroon costume depicting Satan and Mario’s troubled offspring.

    I can only venture to guess what the pitchfork is meant for.

    Former athletes

    Two words: Barry Bonds. If ASU and this universally maligned malcontent don’t make the perfect match, I don’t know what does.

    In fact, many Sun Devils have gone on to reflect nearly every shade of undesirable human character: anger (Bonds); egotism (Reggie Jackson, but certainly Bonds, too); weakness under pressure (Phil Mickelson); and even the willingness to murder (Loren Wade).

    Contrast them with such former Wildcats as Annika Sorenstam, Lorena Ochoa, Tedy Bruschi, Trevor Hoffman, Terry Francona and Jennie Finch, all of whom have been among the most admirable figures in their respective sports.

    Maybe it’s just me, but I think I’ll take smash over flash (and steroids).

    State Press softball

    It was a glorious day in May 2006 when the Wildcat hosted our “”rival”” rag for a nine-inning softball game. The road team traveled two hours to meet us, and, true to their readership, they came in cocky and feeling entitled to victory.

    Then we hung 14 runs on them in the first inning – stopping only when we agreed to put in a “”go twice through your batting order and that’s it”” rule.

    To my dismay, we won only 26-7 (I wanted a 20-run margin, but, hey, winners can’t be choosers). It would have been worse if some of us decided not to play soft defense and let them get on the board a few times in remorse.

    Don’t believe this happened? Check out this YouTube clip of a State Presser at bat. I think it sums up our schools’ relative athletic prowess quite well.

    Crappy men’s hoops team

    I tried to think of a more accurate term to capture the ignominy that is ASU men’s basketball. Unfortunately, I’m trying to keep this clean for the parents.

    But seriously. Point out how underwhelming Arizona’s been the last few years – only another four NCAA Tournament berths – but at least it made the Elite Eight two years ago.

    The Sun Devils managed a whopping two wins in Pacific 10 Conference play last season and dropped both of their games to the next-worst team (Oregon State). Through 14 of 18 contests, all losses, ASU was on pace to become the worst team in conference history. Officially, anyway.

    Unfortunately, there’s a downside to that. Year after year, the Wildcats field a team that has at least a fighting chance at a national championship, and yet our instate rivalry is more one-sided than Fox News.

    Supposedly, ASU is nursing a lot of talented youngsters, who aim to be much improved this season and not lose to NAU (aka “”Not a University””). I, for one, hope so. I want “”Wait ’til hoops season”” to be just a little less automatic.

    Last year’s Cup game

    I include this more for the veteran students who have soldiered through any or all of the John Mackovic/Mike Hankwitz/Mike Stoops era the past three years. Lately, Arizona football has been the stuff of masochists.

    Except for last year, that is.

    Last year, the Wildcats rolled off three straight November wins, including two over nationally ranked opponents, to reach 6-5 and get in position for the program’s first bowl game since 1998.

    The mojo was going as never seen this century; all Arizona had to do was beat an underachieving ASU team, also 6-5, and the postseason would finally be nigh.

    But no. The Sun Devils trampled that dream with 21 first-quarter points – karma from the State Press beatdown? – en route to winning 28-14. In the second quarter, they benched UA starting quarterback Willie Tuitama with an injury for the second year in a row (intentionally this time, I’d say). The Wildcats were hopeless from there.

    Covering the game, I watched from the ASU sideline for the final 10 or so minutes, then stuck around while the team (led by the inimitably despicable Dirk Koetter, thankfully gone to the NFL) grandstanded on a stage with the Territorial Cup trophy. Thousands of “”ASU! ASU!”” chants ricocheted off the evacuated metal bleachers at Arizona Stadium. (Here’s a clip that hints at the awful festivities:

    Pretend you’re having a family reunion, and out of respect, your least favorite aunt and uncle are invited. They attend, but unbeknownst to you, they’ve decided to bring along the whole clan: carloads of brothers, sisters, relatives-in-law, cousins first, second and third. They’re ex-convicts, child molesters, dogfighting enthusiasts. All spitting on your lawn and pouring Everclear in the punch bowl to get your younger sister nice and supple.

    Take the feeling that emerges and magnify it by a thousand: then you have what it was like to witness that scene.

    With the win, by the way, the Sun Devils got an all-expenses-paid trip to the Hawaii Bowl in Honolulu.

    If that doesn’t make you hate ASU, you might want to consider a transfer.

    Tom Knauer is the copy chief of the Arizona Summer Wildcat and a senior majoring in journalism and creative writing. That means he can read. Take that, Sun Devils! He can be reached at

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