A Look at the Arizona vs. AZ State NCAA Football Odds Rivalry

Posted by Alex Murphy on June 5, 2015 in

If you’re a College Football betting aficionado that wants a break from the rigors of trying to cash in consistently, then you’re in for a treat thanks to this insightful look at the annual Territorial Cup match up between the Arizona Wildcats and Arizona State Sun Devils.

A Look at the Arizona vs. AZ State NCAA Football Odds Rivalry

The Beginning

Often called the Duel in the Desert, the annual gridiron match up featuring the Arizona Wildcats vs. the Arizona State Sun Devils is the oldest rivalry trophy match up in college football, having been created way back in 1899. While the Territorial Cup rivals squared off on a semi-regular basis after their initial meeting in 1899, the match up did not become an annual part of this in-state rivalry until 1946. The two schools now have a fierce rivalry that encompasses a whopping 20 varsity sports.

Territorial Cup History

When it was created, the Territorial Cup rivalry was part of the Arizona Territorial Football League Championship. The championship consisted of a four-way series that also included Phoenix Indian School and Phoenix Union High School. Arizona and the Normal School met on November 30, 1899 for a Thanksgiving Day match at Carrillo Gardens Field in Tucson. The two schools played each other intermittently over the next several decades and have played almost every year since 1925 when Arizona State became a four year state college. The rivalry became particularly heated in the late 1950’s, but it was in 1968 that one of the most notable games in series history took place. That season, the two schools would meet in a match up that was expected to decide which team would go on to the Sun Bowl.

Before the game however, Arizona head coach Darrell Mudra issued an ultimatum to the Sun Bowl committee that his team would not play in the bowl unless they were selected regardless of who won. The committee then selected Arizona – and the Wildcats then got pounded in a stunning 30-7 loss to Arizona State in game that became known as the “Ultimatum Bowl”. Those events led to the eventual creation of the Fiesta Bowl as a default bowl game for Arizona State should they receive no other bids. The annual bowl game would ultimately go on to become part of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) and is now part of the new, College Football Playoff system.

More Recent History

Since their modern began, the perennial Territorial Cup meeting has most often been played on the day after Thanksgiving. In recent times, the game has been scheduled for the Saturday after Thanksgiving to accommodate today’s ever-expanding network television coverage. Beginning with the 2009 season, State Farm became the presenting sponsor for the Territorial Cup Series.

In addition to football, the Territorial Cup series also encompasses each of the 20 varsity sports at the schools. Each sport is worth 1 point in the year-long competition. The school that wins the most head-to-head competitions is awarded the new Territorial Cup Series Trophy. Arizona leads the Series 4-1 according to the original rules although this statistic is disputed by Arizona State, which recognizes the score as 3-2.

Territorial Cup

In the inaugural 1899 meeting and every year since 2001, the winner receives the Territorial Cup. This ‘traveling trophy’ refers to the fact that Arizona was a U.S. territory at the time it was created…not officially becoming a state until 1912. The Territorial Cup was actually lost for decades, until it was found in the basement of a church adjacent to Arizona State’s campus in 1980. The cup was later authenticated as the original cup by the NCAA, again, making it the oldest rivalry game trophy in college football.

In 2000, Arizona contacted Arizona State about displaying the cup on their campus. The following year, then ASU President Lattie Coor ordered that the Territorial Cup be shared as a traveling trophy, to be displayed by each year’s winner.

Game Results

Arizona leads the series 48–39–1 and got off to an overwhelming 20–2 start 1899 to 1948. The two rivals did not play each other every year until 1946. Since that season, Arizona State has compiled a narrow 37–31–1 lead over the Arizona State. Since both teams moved from the Western Athletic Conference to what is now the Pacific-12 Conference, Arizona leads the series 20–16–1.

By the Betting Numbers

Arizona State has won six of the last 10 match ups overall while going 5-5 ATS over the stretch. However, it was No. 11 Arizona that won the last season’s match-up 42-35 in a thriller that helped the Cats cash in as 2-point home faves to snap a two-game SU and ATS skid against the Sun Devils.

The Pac-112 rivals will square off on Sat, Nov 21 in a 2015 meeting that promises to be another fantastic match up seeing as how both programs will likely be nationally-ranked for the second straight season.