Arizona State University Sun Devils

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Deep in the heart of the desert lays a bustling town called Tempe, Arizona. Out there in the wild west a is rivalry football game which is among the oldest in the nation, dating back to before Arizona was admitted as a state. This game is known as "The Big Game", "The Duel in the Desert", or simply the battle for the Territorial Cup.

Established in 1899, this is the bitter rivalry between our beloved Sun Devils and the wretched University of Arizona Wildcats. The NCAA recognizes the Territorial Cup as the oldest trophy awarded. The first game was played Thanksgiving Day, November 30th, 1899 at Carillo Gardens field, in Tucson, Arizona. In front of only 300 screaming fans, Arizona State (then known as Tempe Normal School) took home the cup. The whereabouts of the trophy from then until the '80s is a still mystery to this day.

In 2001, ASU President Lattie Coor mandated that the Territorial Cup would be shared with the University of Arizona in the last game of the season. The winner has since taken the trophy home for the next year until a new winner is decided. At the end of each game the winning team is presented with a replica of the Territorial Cup, which is placed in the University President's office. For security reasons, the real trophy is only allowed to be transported by the police, under the watch of university archivists, to be displayed in the Hall of Fame for that school.

Imagine being amongst the Co-eds at Arizona State and hiking Sentinel Peak in Tucson, Az to repaint the University of Arizona's "A" maroon and gold - while University of Arizona students and Tucson, Az police stand watch. Or imagine standing guard at Hayden Butte in Tempe, when Arizona students come to town. This happens every year during rivalry week. Being at the game you can feel the hatred between these two schools -students and players alike.

What fuels this hatred? In 1937 the then Arizona State Teachers College convinced 3 Arizona players to transfer to their team. In response, Arizona refused to play ASTC again until those players graduated. In 1958 Arizona State applied to become a university only to have Arizona alumni get them turned down. Arizona State then fought to get their cause on a voting ballot where proposition 200 granted them university status. In 1968 "The Duel in the Desert" winner was to appear in the Sun Bowl. Arizona Coach Darrell Mudra forced the Sun Bowl committee to grant Arizona the bowl berth regardless of the outcome by threatening not to play in the Sun Bowl. After this ASU stomped UA 30-7. This wound up sparking the birth of the Fiesta Bowl so that when ASU was shut out elsewhere they would have their very own bowl game. The Fiesta Bowl went on to become one of the 4 major BCS bowl games for deciding National Champions.

In 2001 after beating the Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium, Arizona players began dancing on the ASU symbol and taunting the players, chanting "bear down!", which sparked a mid-field brawl. In 2008, Arizona Coach Mike Stoops made comments at a signing day conference saying that Arizona State was becoming a Junior College. He stated that recruits had told him it was easier to get into Arizona State and attacked the academic requirements ASU uses to recruit. In all actuality ASU and UA both have to adhere to the same state requirements. Stoops then had to release a statement retracting his words and apologizing. This came after a highly touted recruit Tailback turned down Arizona in favor of Arizona State. This is a long-standing, heated feud and will always be.

Freddie Brister is a big fan of the Arizona State Sun Devils. Check out his Arizona State Shop or his Arizona State Shirts at SportsFanTreasures.

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