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10 Fun Facts About... Arizona State

The series continues with 10 fun facts about the famed sports and party school.

Thank heavens there will be no Vontaze Burfict facing the Badgers.
Thank heavens there will be no Vontaze Burfict facing the Badgers.
Norm Hall

This game is expected to be where the Badgers step up in weight class. Arizona State has a great quarterback in Taylor Kelly and two strong pass rushers who could give a non-jelled offensive line fits in Carl Bradford and Will Sutton. It's going to be a closer match-up. So why is this necessary? You have two schools filled with fanbases that enjoy adult beverages and you have a high chance of incident.

So in the spirit of the hard partying...

1. Arizona State is one of the traditional powers in college baseball. Over 100 alumni have made the major leagues. Its most famous one? Barry Bonds. And currently, Arizona State has three second basemen that are now among the best in the American League in Dustin Pedroia, Jason Kipnis and Ian Kinsler.

2. Continuing on the baseball theme, Arizona State is also credited with being a part of just how terrible the Brewers were in the 1990s. Sal Bando played at Arizona State and with the Oakland A's. But he is most known among Wisconsin baseball fans as a Brewers GM of great and terrible deeds. Basically the only good move he made? Drafting Ben Sheets.

3. The early development of MMA has a lot to do with the work of Dan "The Beast" Severn. The Arizona State alumnus laid the groundwork for a series of fighters in the UFC and other promotions. Fighters like Ryan Bader, Don Frye and Dan Henderson are all former Sun Devils. In fact, current UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velazquez is a former Sun Devil.

4. One of the most underrated stretches of an NBA player's greatness came from Sun Devil graduate Lafayette "Fat" Lever. In a four-year stretch from 1986-87 to 1989-90, Lever averaged 18.9 points, 8.9 rebounds, 7. 5 assists and 2.5 steals per game. Amazingly, Lever only managed two All Star appearances during this stretch. He was dealt to Dallas after that final offseason, had to have surgery on his right knee and was never the same again.

5. Arizona State also has some of the more embarrassing reality show stars and producers to its credit. You may have heard of a show called "Oh Sit." It was probably sold in the room off the cute pun, but it was televised musical chairs. It was produced by Arizona State graduate Richard Joel. Then there's the host of the show "Can't Get a Date," a reality show on the always classy VH1. That's Arizona State man Stefan Springman. Then there's plastic surgeon and "Dr. 90210" star Robert Rey.

6. Arizona State is also known for its sons of famous political figures attending school there. Barry Goldwater Jr. and Michael Reagan both made their college years in Tempe. Their fathers were both pillars in the formation of the modern Republican movements.

7. The comedy world has been mostly enriched by people who spent time in Tempe. Steve Allen was one of the all-time greats from back in the day. Throw in Brody Stevens, David Spade and Jimmy Kimmel, and you have some great comedians (and talk show hosts) who spent time on the Tempe campus.

8. One of the most famous locations on the Tempe campus is the Tempe Butte, aka "A" Mountain. Arizona State first placed a "TN" on the mountain in 1918, back when it was still known as the Tempe Normal School, and from 1938 onward (outside of a three-year stretch where vandals destroyed it, as well as some archaeological sites) there has been an "A" that is visible facing the south side of campus. The Lantern Walk, another famed tradition, ends there.

9. The most famous alumnus of Arizona State? I would say it's Nick Nolte. Great actor, came to Tempe on a football scholarship and one of the all-time great celebrity mug shots. Nick Nolte's the sort of gravelly-voiced soul that a university can be proud of.

10. But the alumnus they might be most proud of? Temple Grandin. She's an advocate for animal welfare as well as autism. She may be best known as the subject of the 2010 HBO movie. But the interesting thing is that she's the rare omnivore that has managed to be honored by PETA.

There are some facts that I would have wanted to share, but I didn't, because I figured these were common knowledge (the NFL player-turned-soldier Pat Tillman graduated from Arizona State) or because they were more of my interests than yours (famed '80s auteur John Hughes graduated there, as well). I suppose you got 12 today.

You're welcome.