"Did you have trouble finding the place?"
"Nah," Wilbur Wildcat says as he approaches Sparky Sun Devil, who is standing outside the Krispy Kreme doughnut store at Arizona Mills mall. "As long as I've been coming up to Tempe, I know my way around this place."
The two mascots walk inside the building and watch the doughnuts roll off the assembly line.
"I remember talking to Mike the Tiger after this store opened," Sparky says. "I told him what a stir it created. Long lines. Police patrol. I told him late one night I saw a guy in a Rolls Royce ordering a dozen at the drive-through. Mike gave me a Cajun laugh, and said ‘welcome to civilization.’ "
"We can get 'em in Tucson now," Wilbur says as he opens a quart of milk to wash down a hot, glazed doughnut. "This was a good idea to meet here."
"That milk isn't going to wash away that 36-4 series behind-whipping Murph laid on you guys."
"You're right. But these doughnuts will sho' nuff get the taste out," responds Wilbur. "Man, I wish I'd bought their stock when they went public."
"So what was the reaction to John Mackovic's talk before the scribes in which he blamed outside forces, including an unnamed former coach of causing the player revolt?"
"We couldn't believe it," Wilbur says. "We're out trying to sell tickets and he brings that up again and dishes out the blame to everyone else but himself. I know some people who decided after they read that they weren't going to buy tickets. I mean, we were trying to look forward. I know ASU people don't want to believe it, but we thought we had a pretty good recruiting year, much better than we thought possible considering the revolt. And then he says that. McKale Center went nuts."
"Sounds like he hasn't changed," Sparky says.
"Clarence Farmer was right. He hasn't. We're just trying to ride this thing out, beating ASU, of course, until a change is made."
"Any rumors about that?" Sparky says
"Two names. Mike Price and Ricky Hunley."
"Well, we plan on adding to your misery. Andrew Walter's going to light up your new 3-4 defense next year. We'll help you send Mackovic packing!"
"Has ASU recovered from losing Onachew . . . uh, that African dude, the cornerback?" Wilbur asks.
"To tell you the truth, we were surprised when he signed with us. Dirk said he was icing on the cake, that we got the two corners we wanted in Chris McKenzie and Chad Green."
"There were some coaches in the Pac-10 who were comparing him to our great corner Chris McAlister. Now that's rarified air. If he's that good, where was he in his school? I mean everyone had heard of McAlister when he was in high school."
"I was wondering that myself," says Sparky. "One of my friends who religiously follows recruiting told me he wasn't among SuperPrep's list of 130 prospects in California and Hawaii."
"He must have been a really late bloomer."
"That wasn't it," Sparky says. "Dude was on the same newspaper all-star team as Cal star Lorenzo Alexander. He told a Bay Area paper his career goal was to be an electrical engineer. The reason he wasn't on the list was he had a 1.22 GPA. Transcript was such a mess he was unrecruitable. And to think I wasted time practicing pronouncing his name."
"How'd you like the newest UA star, Arte Moreno?"
"That dude is rich. He could have been your version of Phil Knight to underwrite the athletic department."
"Believe me we tried," Wilbur says.
"He was always in the highest category for donations. But obviously he had other plans for his cash: buying a major league baseball team. He could have personally solved our financially troubles. And with football struggling, we've got plenty of them."
"You know about our deficit. We've got awful lot riding financially on football this season. Basically, Dirk's got to erase the deficit and give us some money to fund another woman's sport."
"We still haven't be able to bring women's water polo on line because of our financial situation," Wilbur says, polishing off his fourth doughnut.
"We least we've got some hope for getting fans in the stands. After Walter lights up NAU and Utah State, we'll be packing 'em in Sun Devil Stadium. "