The "ASU Sports Things More Important Than Fretting Over New Sparky" Bracket

(Photo: ASU)

Or...How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Sun Devil Sports

I get it. I really do. On a lot of the points, I agree with you.

Many of you don't like the "New Sparky". Like, really, really, don't like it. That's fine.

In a world tailor-made for subjective opinions, stances, and tirades, any change to the look of a team or a mascot is bound to open up the floodgates. When the school rebranded prior to the 2011 season, many fans were angry about the new pitchfork logo and the introduction of black as a prominent color.

However, most of them got over it in time.

Nearly three weeks after the new Sparky unveiling, the fervor hasn't receded yet. Many fans are angry, attacking the school for a lack of transparency, starting online petitions and Facebook groups, and claiming they will not support this move.

Again, that's fine. I'm not fighting you there. It's your right as a fan and an American to complain all you want. That's not the issue here. That kind of reaction shows that a fanbase largely labeled by most outsiders as "fairweather" at best and "apathetic" at worst has a pulse.

Yet somewhere over the course of the last three weeks, the attachment to the old Sparky has overshadowed things going on with ASU sports that are far and away more worthy of a fans energies than a mascot makeover.

For starters, most fans seem to miss the fact that the beloved Sparky logo is staying, and the odd little cartoony version is just aimed at the Spongebob demographic and not a representation of what he will be or currently is.

As for the guy patrolling the sidelines? Yeah, it's a little weird. But it's not as if ASU was messing with a timeless look. I mean, c'mon, look at this version of Sparky...with his shirt neatly tucked in. And a belt. This one is simply terrifying, and not in the good "he's a Devil" way.

Perspective is needed, folks. The recent talk in some fan circles of pulling support and boycotting is ludicrous. When the Sun Devils score a touchdown this fall, will you not be counting Sparky's push-ups because of the head he is wearing?

If your answer is "yes", then hopefully your drive back to Tucson is a safe one.

So while this is indeed a valid point of discussion, it should come several bullet points down that list. We're all Sun Devils here, and there are a lot of bigger, better and more pressing items at play here.

In the spirit of the times, we put them in a bracket, because these are things that, quite frankly, are more pressing and important. Let's get to it.

The Bracket

(click to expand)

The Field

Let's review the 16 contenders for the crown of what is highest among the many things that matter so much more than the look of a mascot. For this (pointless) exercise, I did not bother to assign seeds, since there will be no advancing. So here goes:

Finding some go-to WRs

Last year, ASU's wide receiving corps was mostly dreadful, and now, the bulk of what they did produce last year is gone. Coach Graham is bringing in five new players in the recruiting class to augment the talented but unproven guys already here. If a few guys can step up, this offense will be mighty. If not...trouble could be brewing.

Is Jahii coming back?

Pretty straightforward here. Jahii Carson has become one of the nation's best guards. Will he be in the NBA or in Tempe next season?

Baseball's pitching staff

We know Trevor Williams is a stud, but the Sun Devils staff has had some ups and downs so far, most recently a big down in giving up 27 runs to Washington State over the weekend. Can they hold together for the long haul?

Signing up for Pat's Run

Because you really should, or do some shadow runs wherever you are around the country.

Water polo winning a title

After their win on Sunday, the water polo team is 16-4 and ranked No. 3 in the nation. Can Alicia Brightwell led the squad to a national championship?

Getting the Pac-12 Network

Damn you, DirecTV.

ASU in the NIT

No, they didn't go dancing, but ASU won 21 games and is a No. 3 seed in the NIT. They'll be hosting Detroit on Wednesday, with eyes on advancing to Madison Square Garden for the NIT title.

Retooled offensive line

ASU loses two starters on the offensive line, and have an intriguing choice to make with the versatile and talented Jamil Douglas. Where he plays impacts the rest of the line, so this definitely bears watching.

Is Sendek the right coach?

As the Devils fell out of NCAA Tournament contention, the chorus of fans calling for his job returned. There's no doubt Sendek is a good coach, but is he the right coach for ASU?

Replacing 3 starters on defense

ASU's defense was among the best in the nation last year, but they lost three starters in Brandon Magee, Keelan Johnson and Deveron Carr.

Can softball win the WCWS?

The ladies were national champions two years ago, and made a trip to the Women's College World Series last year. Despite losing some key pieces, the team is 29-2 and among the elite once again.

Going to games

The Sun Devils have attendance issues, we all know this. It's time to pack the houses.

Praising Jordan Clarke

He is a beast. He is a mountain of a man. He is a FOUR-time national champion. He is Sun Devil shot putter Jordan Clarke.

New defenseman to replace seniors

ASU hockey was ranked No. 1 in the nation throughout much of the year, and made a run to the ACHA Final Four. However, they are losing two key defensemen in Brian Parson and Darcy Charrois. Who will step up?

Can volleyball take the next step?

The Sun Devils have some talented pieces in place to build upon last season's 20-win team.

Sun Devil Stadium renovations

The plans were unveiled last year, and they are ambitious. Part of the revenue generated from new Sparky could go to help finance the estimated $300-million project.

OK, now fire away with your angry comments below.

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