Amanda Blagg

Outside the Tines with Amanda


The rivalry between Arizona State University and the University of Arizona has a long history, as does the Territorial Cup football game. Sun Devil fans will tell you that a Wildcat loss is the next best thing to a Sun Devil win each week. People without allegiance to one of the Universities may not comprehend the degree of importance the Territorial Cup has for students and alumni. It’s about bragging rights first and foremost. In the age of social media, this is especially true with the winning team’s fans earning the right to trash talk on Twitter, Facebook and the like for the next year.

The first meeting in the Territorial Cup took place in 1899 when ASU, then called Arizona Normal, defeated U of A on Thanksgiving Day, 11-2. Over the years, the game is a kind of wild card game where anything can happen. The better season record going into the game really hasn’t meant much in terms of that team having a better chance of winning. This season, both teams have a 9-2 record. This will only be the second time in the series history with both teams ranked in the top 25. It’s always a big game for those close to the schools, but this year, the Territorial Cup means even more. If Stanford can pull out a win over UCLA, the Territorial Cup winner will earn the opportunity to play against Oregon in the PAC-12 championship game. Added to the usual ill-will between ASU and U of A is also the dislike between the teams’ current coaches, Todd Graham and Rich Rodriguez and other coaching staff members. For more on that, the ESPN PAC-12 Blog posted an in-depth article. In addition to coaches and players, this rivalry game brings out much emotion among ASU alumni and devoted Sun Devil football fans. So, what does the Territorial Cup mean to students and alumni?

The Territorial Cup is about school pride first and foremost for me. I am a stereotypical passionate Sun Devil who despises all things U of A and Tucson. Anytime we beat the Wildcats, it just feels good for Phoenix. The rivalry expands beyond the Universities and into the cities for me. When the Sun Devils beat the Wildcats, all seems right in Arizona and that win helps leave behind the legacy I want prospective Sun Devils to be a part of preserving.

To the Devils Den own Don Hansen, the Territorial Cup means, ‘One can walk their work hallways with their head high around U of A supporters and hearing, “We are a basketball school”.”

For Jesus Castillo, Class of 2015, the Territorial Cup means “Revenge for when they (U of A) danced on the pitchfork my freshman year.”

Having been to a few of the rivalry games, alum Melissa Gardner thinks “The most important thing about it is how it brings the whole school together with one common goal —Beat the Kitty! Beating U of A is one thing all Devils can agree on wholeheartedly!”

“The Territorial Cup is about city, family and state pride,” for Marc Blagg, class of 2002.

I think all Sun Devils can agree with these emotions about the Territorial Cup and of those interviewed, I think Phil Root sums up the rivalry feelings best. “The Territorial Cup was always about pride and legacy. Being part of something bigger than just us or the current team or current fans. We want to win those Cup games to leave that legacy,” Root said.

Friday’s game is possibly the most important Territorial Cup game in the history of the rivalry.  As this game and the Stanford vs UCLA game kick off simultaneously, no doubt all of my Sun Devil family will be rooting for ASU and Stanford with me. Unless of course, the dreaded happens and the Wildcats are victorious, in which case, Go Bruins.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you readers; I’m sincerely grateful for your support of Outside the Tines and the Devils Den site and podcast. Enjoy your turkey and traditions and then gear up for a big day of leftovers and the Territorial Cup tradition and huge Sun Devil victory on Friday.

About Amanda Blagg

Amanda Blagg

Amanda is a 2002 Arizona State graduate. When she began at ASU in 1998, so began her love of Sun Devil football. She and her husband, also an ASU alum, have had football season tickets since then and travel to road games every season. They are currently raising two little Sun Devils. Her eight year old son was born a Devil; he began singing the fight song before bed when he was two. Some of her son's happiest moments have been on the field at the spring games; when Coach Graham tweeted a photo of him and when he got to meet Coach Graham at the Utah game in 2013. The Sun Devil Pride & Passion runs deeply in the Blagg family and Amanda strives to share her passion with you in Outside the Tines.

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