The evening of February 3, 2013, will see most Americans glued to their televisions for one of four things: some football game that’s happening, the expensive commercials surrounding the football game, the Destiny’s Child reunion happening in the middle of the football game, or, for the rest of us, there’s Animal Planet’s 9th-annual Puppy Bowl, in which adoptable puppies from shelters around the country frolic, wrestle and waddle around on loop for hours, all while hedgehog cheerleaders and other fluffy beasts entertain from the sidelines.
Today, Animal Planet announced the lineup of 34 adoptable pups who will be taking the field for Puppy Bowl IX, and in honor of this momentous occasion, like any sporting event, we offer our 2013 Puppy Bowl Power Rankings. (NOTE: These rankings are all subjective, the Puppy Bowl is not an actual competition, and yes, the dogs are all adorable and you can go awww at them here.)
Butterscotch, Puerto Rican Sato, 12 weeks (Last week: 2): As her name implies, her playing recently has been smooth, and all too sweet.
Cash, Pit Bull, 15 weeks (Last week: 1): The cult favorite becomes a headliner with displays of agility and those big sad eyes that just make you wanna cuddle him to pieces.
Tuck, German Shepherd/Pit Bull, 10 weeks (Last week: 5): That big, dopey grin. I can’t.
Jenny, Pit Bull/Hound, 13 weeks (Last week: 4): If there’s a dark horse… er… dog to watch in this competition, it’s Jenny. Tennis balls are no match.
Shadow, Catahoula/Lab Mix, 9 weeks (Last week: 9): As his fans declared on social media, Puppy Bowl IX is Shadow’s time to shine.
Winston, Miniature Pinscher, 9 weeks (Last week: 12): Just look at that face. That’s a game face if we’ve ever seen one.
Magnolia, Chow Chow/Labrador, 11 weeks (Last week: 3): Although her prowess in Puppy Bowl prelims proved productive, her real passion, as she told reporters, is curling. Will a crisis of career catch up to her?
Eli, German Shepherd/Pit Bull, 10 weeks (Last week: 6): Fans love his confident smirk and floppy ears, but can he hold on when the tug-of-war competition gets tough?
Daffodil, Chow Chow/Labrador, 11 weeks (Last week: 10): In a sad-eye-off between her and Cash, it’s anyone’s game. Who will bring home the title?
Aurora, Husky/Retriever Mix, 10 weeks (Last week: 7): Enthusiastic and ready to take on her competitors and LOOK AT THAT SMILE WHO’S A HAPPY DOG? ARE YOU?
Agatha, Miniature Pinscher, 9 weeks (Last week: 8): She loves to be the center of attention, and her bold plays in the divisional championship have gotten fans paws-ing to admire.
Fitz, Catahoula Mix, 10 weeks (Last week: 15): Always looks a little nervous on the field, but it may be those big, bawwwwing eyes of his.
Marta, Schnauzer/Beagle (Last week: 14): Always vamping for the camera, like a little Rory Calhoun.
Pearl, Catahoula/Lab Mix, 9 weeks (Last week: 11): A solid contender fights for endorsements and belly rubs.
Gunther, Pit Bull/Hound, 13 weeks (Last week: 13): One of the oldest pups in the pack, Gunther’s experience in the competition still makes him a threat.
Biscuit, Puerto Rican Sato, 12 weeks (Last week: 18): Claims her “mom is Julia Roberts,” but after the week in sports scandals and heroes disappointing, we’re not sure what to believe anymore.
Arlo, Labrador/Collie, 10 weeks (Last week: 16): This South Carolina native has been called the Jadeveon Clowney of dogs. He doesn’t know what that means though. Because he’s a dog.
Daisy, Yorkshire Terrier, 12 weeks (Last week: 25): Easy to count her out because of her small stature, but remember, it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.
Koda, Boston Terrier/Catahoula, 4 months (Last week: 13): New York, meet your hometown pup, who we hear Rex Ryan is already recruiting to replace Mark Sanchez.
Harry, Dachshund, 12 weeks (Last week: 11): Described as a “terror” by Puppy Bowl commissioners, Harry has gotten away with a surprising amount of unsportspuplike conduct.
Althea, Australian Shepherd/Catahoula, 9 weeks (Last week: 12): Her wandering off at a critical moment to bark at her reflection proved costly, as did a call for excessive fluffiness.
Juniper, Great Pyrenees, 12 weeks (Last week: 19): I have nothing to say about this dog other than I’m really happy that there’s an organization actually called Big Fluffy Dog Rescue. We’re gonna be okay, America.
Willis, Long-Haired Chihuahua Mix, 4 months (Last week: 20): Always looks that incredulous, even at peak game moments.
Chestnut, Labrador/Australian Shepherd, 9 weeks (Last week: 22): His ancestors may be based in the British Commonwealth, but he has the look of a two-time all-American.
Masquerade, Catahoula Mix, 13 weeks (Last week: 23): Her Puppy Bowl performance might be a toss-up, but based on past performances, we can’t wait for her offbeat and strangely eloquent press conference quotables.
Sally, Dachshund/Basset Hound, 12 weeks (Last week: 33): Is it possible to call penalties for excessive ear flops?
Simba and Nala, Japanese Chins, 8 weeks (Last week: 24): The greatest canine sport sibling rivalry of all time comes to a head at the Puppy Bowl, but will drama get in the way of more important puppy fun action?
Blitz, Terrier Mix, 11 weeks (Last week: 31): Sanctioned by the higher-ups of canine athletics league due to her profanity-laced tweets about a rival team pup who called her “Chewbacca.”
Elias, Pit Bull, 12 weeks (Last week: 28): Perhaps more commendable for his work off the field as an ambassador for the much-misunderstood Pit Bull community.
Copper, Dachshund/Pit Bull, 9 weeks (Last week: 17): Got distracted during a crucial moment of the division championships by a napkin that fluttered onto the field. Costly mistake.
Bessie, Catahoula Leopard Dog, 13 weeks (Last week: 30): According to her bio, she “always keeps people pinned,” so her stock on the defensive line may be rising.
Trinka, Beagle/Schnauzer, 10 weeks (Last week: 32): Once a fan favorite, now embroiled in a scandal involving performance-enhancing pugs.
Lenny, Catahoula Mix, 12 weeks (Last week: 34): Ain’t never caught a rabbit, ain’t no friend of mine.
But honestly, who cares about the power ranking, because they’re puppies, and they’re all adorable, and therefore, are all winners. If the current lineup isn’t enough cute for you, you can watch highlights from last year’s Puppy Bowl below.