With the 2012 Super Bowl less than a week away, fans can barely wait to see the New England Patriots face off against the New York Giants. The Super Bowl XLVI is not, however, the only highly anticipated game scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 5. Animal lovers across America will be thrilled to hear that Animal Planet is bringing the Puppy Bowl back for its eighth-consecutive seasonal game on Super Bowl Sunday.

Animal Planet has released the starting line-up for its very own Bowl. The players are adorable puppies ranging slightly in size and breed, but each is undeniably cute. The line-up includes a range of pups from Aberdeen, the 10-week-old Australian Shepherd mix, to Gracie, the 12-week-old Chihuahua/Dachshund mix.

Fifty-eight canine athletes will face off in a miniature stadium filled with chew toys, water bowls and mini footballs. The full line-up, including photos and bios, can be seen on Animal Planet's web site.

The Puppy Bowl was immensely popular last year with reportedly 9.2 million people tuning in for the event. This year the Puppy Bowl VIII will begin at 3 p.m. EST on Sunday, Feb. 5 before the Super Bowl on Animal Planet.

10 Must-Know Behind-the-Scenes Secrets of the Puppy Bowl VIII:

1. A model blimp will float over the Puppy Bowl as modeled after the Goodyear Blimp. Inside the model blimp's control room, a hamster crew will play.

2. All the competitors are rescues, but many of the pups will have been adopted by the time the Puppy Bowl airs on television on Feb. 5.  

3. @MeepTheBird will be live tweeting the Puppy Bowl this year. Follow the Twitter feed for live play-by-play analysis of the event.

4. In 2012, five pigs will be the cheerleaders for the Puppy Bowl, known as the Piggy Pep Squad.

5. Most of the pups are no more than 10 weeks old, but what they lack in experience, they make up for in enthusiasm.

6. The first five Puppy Bowls were narrated by Harry Kalas, a longtime play-by-play voice of the Philadelphia Phillies. After Kalas' death in 2009, Jeff Bordner has provided the Puppy Bowl commentary.TV reporter and animal advocate Jill Rappaport will also provide play-by-play commentary throughout the show.

7. The game will also feature a Kitty Half-Time show for 30 minutes, featuring kittens playing with lights, laser pens, balls of yarn, a scratching post, flint sweepers and other toys. Twenty kittens will be part of the 2012 Kitty Half-Time Show.

8. The Puppy Bowl is filmed in a miniature stadium that is 19 feet long and 10 feet wide.

9. The show normally takes three days to film, generating over 50 hours of footage of the puppies playing. Roughly 30 staff members are needed to produce the show.

10. Unlike the Super Bowl XLVI, the Puppy Bowl will not be live. The show is filmed in advance a few months before it is aired. 

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