Updated Nov 19, 2012 - 5:03 pm
ASU's Graham knows importance of rivalry game
It took Arizona State head football coach Todd Graham less than 45 seconds at his weekly Monday press conference to use those words when describing the Sun Devils' game against rival University of Arizona on Friday.
A Rose Bowl or BCS appearance isn't on the line, but this year's game takes on a different meaning.
You have two schools in Arizona State and Arizona that are in almost identical situations. The teams' previous regimes -- with Dennis Erickson and Mike Stoops -- were disappointing, both peaking with Holiday Bowl bids when more was expected.
It's the beginning of a new era for Graham at ASU and Rich Rodriguez at the University of Arizona. Both teams are 4-4 in Pac-12 play and the Wildcats have seven wins overall to the Sun Devils' six.
Friday night brings an opportunity for both coaches to set a tone for their program going forward.
This rivalry game wasn't something from which Graham shied away. He made it clear he knew and understood the importance of winning this game.
"You can be 11-0 and if you don't win this game you had an unsuccessful season," Graham stated. "This is what college football is all about, rivalry games, and none that have more passion than this one."
In these parts, that is all understood. Games between UA and ASU will always be meaningful no matter what the records are. The question is, will this game be the start of the Territorial Cup taking on a bigger presence nationally? Will Graham and Rich Rod live up to their words and their respective schools become relevant on a bigger stage?
Friday night will either be the start of something special or another beginning to the end of failed promises and expectations.
- High Octane Hour with Arizona State's Graham begins next week
- ASU unveils new uniforms; is it still cutting-edge when everybody's doing it?
- ASU linebacker Marcus Washington: 'I just love hitting people'
- Arizona State Sun Devils unveil alternate football uniform
- ASU Sun Devils ranked No. 19 in AP preseason poll
- Jake Plummer- Former Cardinals and Sun Devils quarterback - Wednesday August 20Jake Plummer says Johnny Manziel is just passionate about the game of football.
- Craig Grialou- Arizona Sports reporter - Friday August 15Craig Grialou says the Chip Sarafin story isn't even talked about within the ASU Football team.
- Craig Grialou, AZ Sports Intrepid Sports Reporter - Friday August 15Craig gives us an update on ASU football training camp in Camp T.
- Jeff Van Raaphorst, ASU Rose Bowl winning quarterback - Thursday August 14Does ASU's offense have enough firepower to overcome it's defensive shortcomings?
- ASU Fork Report - Wednesday August 13ASU Fork Report featuring Greg McElroy!