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Puppy Bowl VIII Starting Lineup Released — Fans Prepare for “Awww”-Inspiring Sports Showdown

Meet the pooches who will score points on the field and in your hearts on the day of the big game

Ready to see the fur fly on the football field?

The starting lineup for Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl VIII has been released, revealing which pooches will be vying for the pigskin in the miniature stadium this year. They include Aberdeen the Australian Shepherd Mix pictured here, who hails from the Sullivan County SPCA and is "saving up to buy a sailboat," according to his stats.

Hmm; hopefully he won't follow in the paw-steps of several Minnesota Vikings, who got themselves in hot water with their nautical shenanigans a few years back.

From its humble beginnings in 2005, the Puppy Bowl has grown to become quite the Big Game alternative, amassing 9 million viewers over the 12 hours it aired last year. Compare that to the 5.03 million total viewers who tuned in to CNN for coverage of the South Carolina primary last week. (But then again, is Ron Paul anywhere near as cute as this guy?)

Puppy Bowl VIII will kick off on Animal Planet on Feb. 5 at 3 p.m. In the meantime, head over to the network's web site to assess this year's roster of canine gridiron gladiators.