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Impossible for ASU to win 2012 Territorial Cup Series?


March 12, 2012

Column by Nick Prete, ASU News

This year, UA is kicking ASU's butt in the Territorial Cup Series. After a three sport victory run for the Wildcats, the score is 7.5-3.5 in UA's favor. They've taken a commanding lead and with the end of the school year coming around, how likely is it that the Sun Devils will come out on top? 

The rivalry between the two schools started before Arizona was even a state. At first it was just a rivalry between the cities of Phoenix and Tucson. Since the University of Arizona and Tempe Normal School (now ASU) were founded the tensions have continued to grow.

The Territorial Cup Series isn't quite as old as the entire rivalry, as this is only its third year in existence. The cup focuses equally on 18 different sports and hopes to bring a greater awareness to sports less religiously followed, compared to football or basketball. To make every sport equal, each series equals one point in the competition. For instance, if the baseball teams play each other three times, whoever wins two out of the three games will get one point awarded to their school. In cases of a tie, the point is split between the two schools resulting in .5 points each. The series focuses on the message that “every game counts” and concludes with the winning team receiving a big silver trophy and bragging rights.

In the series thus far, UA has taken the trophy from ASU, 10.5-7.5 in the 2009-2010 season and 11.5-6.5 last year. Arizona leads the all-time series against ASU in football (47-37-1), men's basketball (142-80), softball (97-85) and baseball (226-193-1). ASU leads the series in women's basketball (46.5-25.5). Volleyball is currently tied at 40 games a piece. The cup does not count wrestling, which ASU was dominating the Wildcat's 28-8 until they discontinued their wrestling program.

The series doesn't only focus on sports, it also sponsors a "food fight" that is a competition between the two cities to collect food for those in need. In years past, the competition has collected over 30,000 meals for local food banks. It also has a program called the "good neighbor team" that picks out an athlete from every sport who exemplifies achievements in athletics, community service and academics. That athlete gets an award and a donation in their name to their school's general athletic scholarship fund. Each athlete gets about $1,100 donated in their name, so each school gets $20,000 a year donation to their general athletic scholarship fund from that program. 

The "good neighbor" scholarship is about as far as this competition goes with academics though, as not even a single point goes to the school with higher academic accolades. This is possibly because of the difficulty of accurate reporting agencies or an unclear basis of what to judge on. Either way, last year ASU would have taken that point as the Academic Ranking of World Universities put the university two spots ahead of UA. Also in 2011, ASU had 5 academic All-Americans and UA only had 1 in the Capital One, ESPN academic All-American rankings. Plus, ASU is winning the food fight and also receives no points for that aspect of the cup.

For the 2011-12 season, all hope is not lost for the Sun Devils. While they are down by four points, the series still has seven points up for grabs. Softball, women's tennis, women's golf, men's golf, baseball, men's and women's track and field are all sports that either team can take home. ASU has some tough work ahead of them though, because all UA has to do is reach a score of 9.5 to put the series away. That being said, Sun Devil sports need all the fan support it can get for these vitally important games. Fan attendance could be the difference between a win and a loss in the cup for this year. Make sure you attend these games and help the Sun Devils finally take home the series!

April 17 – Baseball @ Packard Stadium, 6:30 p.m. 

April 20 – Tennis @ Robson Center (UA), 1 p.m.

April 27-29 – Men's Golf @ Pac12 Championship, all day

April 27-29 – Women's Golf @ Pac12 Championship, all day

April 28 – Men's and Women's Track and Field @ Drachman Stadium (UA), all day

May 16 – Baseball @ Packard Stadium, 6:30 p.m.

Mary 25 – Baseball @ Hi-Corbett (UA), 6 p.m.

May 26 – Baseball @ Hi-Corbett (UA), 6 p.m.

May 27 – Baseball @ Hi-Corbett (UA), noon

Go Devils!