Campus Guide: Origins, facts of UA vs. ASU rivalry
An Arizona fan sits in the Sun Devil Stadium surrounded by ASU fans during Arizona’s 58-21 loss against ASU. UA holds a 47-39-1 advantage in football over ASU in the all-time series.
Editor’s note: This article is part of the Arizona Summer Wildcat’s 2014 Campus Guide. The Campus Guide is a special issue that runs every year to help introduce incoming students to the UA and campus life.
While Arizona leads the series against ASU in football, men’s basketball, baseball, softball, hockey and indoor volleyball, the rivalry still has plenty of intrigue.
Quest for the Cup
The Arizona/ASU football series isn’t the oldest rivalry game in the nation, but it does boast the oldest trophy.
In 2001, the Territorial Cup, designated by the NCAA as the oldest trophy, returned to the rivalry.
The Territorial Cup dates back to 1899 when the football series started with a 11-2 win by the school that would come to be known as ASU.
The name comes from Arizona’s status in the 19th century as a territory, not a state. Arizona became the U.S.’s 48th state on Feb. 14, 1912, the last state in the continental U.S.
Both schools were founded in 1885 and after being called Tempe Normal School, Tempe State Teacher’s College, Arizona State Teacher’s College and Arizona State College, that school up north became Arizona State University in 1958.
While the Territorial Cup was lost, other trophies were given out: the Governor’s Trophy, a “Victory” sculpture by artist Ben Goo, was given from 1953 to 1979, and the Saguaro Trophy, made by artist Dora Perry, was given in 1998. The Goo trophy was awarded from 1979 to 1998 to the winner of the game, and in 2008 became the Bob Moran Most Valuable Player award.
The Territorial Cup sits in the hall of fame of the school that has the most recent bragging rights, with a replica sitting in the school’s president’s office. While Arizona leads the all-time series 47-39-1, the Wildcats have won the Territorial Cup five times since its return and ASU eight times, including the last two.
The 2014 edition will be in Tucson, where Arizona leads the all-time series 29-19 and 22-18 at Arizona Stadium. The Territorial Cup game will be held on Black Friday at 1:30 p.m. on Fox and ZonaZoo members will need to reserve a spot before the end of August.
Marking their territory
The actual Territorial Cup isn’t the only Territorial Cup trophy that the old rivals fight for.
Arizona and ASU also compete in the Territorial Cup Series, a yearly competition between the two schools’ athletic departments that started in 2009.
The Wildcats have dominated the series, winning the first four, but ASU won it in 2013-14.
The first time the rivals go head-to-head is Sept. 24 in Tucson in indoor volleyball, in one of the tighter series. The UA holds a slight edge, 43-41, in indoor volleyball and the two schools split their two matches last year.
The most visible sign of the Arizona/ASU rivalry may not be on a field.
A few miles from campus on Sentinel Peak, UA students built a giant block “A” on top of the mountain to celebrate a football win in 1915. In 1918, Tempe Normal students borrowed the idea and built an “N” on Tempe-Hayden Butte.
After the Tempe, Ariz., school became ASU, they made their own “A” Mountain and it became a tradition to paint the other school’s “A” your team’s colors.
Last year, Arizona fans painted the ASU “A” Mountain red and, presumably in response, Sun Devils fans spray painted Wildcat statues on the UA campus.
“It’s clearly in retaliation to the ‘A’ prank,” said Morgan Abraham, 2013-14 president of the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, after the painting. “But I don’t think it was appropriate at all. … This was literally vandalism of artwork.”
—Follow James Kelley @JamesKelley520