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The Territorial Cup, the oldest rivalry trophy in college football … Last year it decided who would win the Pac-12 South and play Oregon in the conference title game. Oh how times have changed.
With both Arizona and ASU’s disappointing seasons (to say the least) both schools look toward to that one game at the end of November to make their season a “successful” one. With Arizona currently 6-5 and ASU 5-5 the Territorial Cup can make or a break a poor season.
So, how did we get here? Arizona was expected to be a Pac-12 South challenger and ASU began the season ranked 15th in the nation. Now both are nationally irrelevant and ASU and Arizona are fourth and fifth respectively in the Pac-12 south.
ASU lost to Texas A&M in the first game of the season and its only highlight was a victory against UCLA at the Rose Bowl. Arizona began the season with dominant wins against inferior opponents and then the UCLA game took Arizona into a tailspin that the ‘Cats are finally coming out of, after a well played game against USC and the upset of the Pac-12 season against No. 10 Utah.
While last year’s game meant more in the big picture of college football, this year’s game might mean more for both programs. A successful season helps recriting in the offseason a poor season makes that a more difficult task. A win in this game, for both teams means some momentum going into the offseason and makes next year seem a little brighter.
What Arizona needs to do to be successful on Saturday is simply keep the momentum going on the offensive side of the ball. After struggling, Anu Solomon is finally finding his stride, throwing for 629 yards the past two games.
Nick Wilson still isn’t 100 percent after only playing a portion of the Utah game and not getting any touches in the USC game. Hopefully he will play against the Sun Devils but if not, he will be replaced by Jared Baker, who has averaged around 5 yards per carry in Wilson’s absence the last two games.
In your good-feeling story of the week, the Wildcats will have a little more motivation as The Arizona Chapter of Uplifting Athletes will be holding a touchdown pledge drive. Each touchdown Arizona scores will benefit the efforts to raise awareness and research for cystic fibrosis.
All in all, this has the making of a memorable game.
Nick Latta is an accomplished youth golfer from Tucson who follows high school sports and the University of Arizona closely. Currently on the golf team at The Master’s College in Santa Clarita, CA.