Green: A UofA fan's take on the Territorial Cup
I caught a break Saturday. Arizona State University did not.
As we prepare for the 83rd edition of the Territorial Cup, I have to admit that I was dangerously close to not being able to make it to the game this year. You see, my parents celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary this year and are planning to renew their vows in a ceremony Saturday evening. Once I found out the day of the ceremony I looked on the calendar and, sure enough, the Wildcats and Sun Devils were renewing their rivalry. Kickoff time had not been determined yet, and even though my parents told me I could miss the ceremony for the game if I wanted to, we all knew that I was going to be there no matter what.
Then, a few weeks ago, I learned the game would have an early afternoon start and I would get to go. Needless to say I was pleased, and my father even called me after he heard the news to let me know that I didn't have to resent them on one of the more special days in our family's history.
So, I got my ticket and I will be there Saturday afternoon dressed in my UofA gear ready to watch the Cats beat the Sun Devils for the second consecutive season and put an exclamation point on one of the worst seasons in ASU history, while continuing one of the most fun ones that I can remember for Arizona.
Now, why am I so confident that the Wildcats will come to Tempe Saturday and beat the Sun Devils? Well, aside from the fact that there is a serious difference in talent between the two schools, I believe that the Sun Devils have pretty much packed it in and started working towards next year.
The revolving door at QB has done nothing to help an offense that has proven to be one of the worst in the Pac-10, and after watching all three QBs this year I don't think anyone can believe that either of them give the Sun Devils a legitimate chance to win Saturday. Granted, Samson Szakacsy or Brock Osweiler may have bright futures ahead of them, but at this point they are each still too young and too raw to lead a team with a dearth of playmakers around them to a win over a pretty tough opponent. On the other side of the field Nick Foles, formerly an ASU recruit (that has to sting), has done a great job and given the Wildcats one of the best offensive units in the Pac-10.
Of course, you could argue that ASU's defense is still one of the best in the conference and can slow down the Arizona attack. I guess it's possible, but as you certainly saw last week at the Rose Bowl a bad offense can really make life difficult for a defense. Turnovers and field position will be huge Saturday, and I fully expect the Wildcats to benefit from both.
Speaking of the Rose Bowl, you may be of the belief that, having been eliminated from contention in a tough, gut-wrenching game last week the Wildcats will come out flat and not really care about what happens. Well, I can confidently tell you that if there is one thing that has really impressed me about this Arizona team it has been their ability to bounce back from tough losses. Lose to Iowa? Go on the road and beat Oregon State. Drop a controversial game in Washington? Come home and beat Stanford. Lose in California? Play one of the best games of the season in almost beating a Top 10 team, only to lose in double overtime.
Really, ASU's only hope lies in the thought that rivalry games are always close and this year should be no different. For this I submit to you last year's 31-10 beatdown in Tucson. Sure, when the teams are on roughly the same level the games are close, but whenever there has been a clear gap in talent (which is the case this year) the games have not been competitive.
So, when you really look at it, all this game represents is a pit stop on the way to another solid season for the Arizona Wildcats. I expect a good turnout of fans Saturday with a good amount of Wildcats faithful, and I look forward to a fun Saturday where I will not only get to celebrate my parents' marriage, but a Wildcats victory as well.
Adam can be reached with your questions and comments by e-mail here.