ASU, Arizona face greater distances to new Big 12 opponents

Aug 8, 2023, 1:53 PM

ASU texas tech...

The Texas Tech Red Raiders played against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium on September 10, 2015 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Arizona State and Arizona athletic teams will compete in different parts of the country against a new slate of conference opponents starting in 2024-25.

The two schools announced they will leave the Pac-12 to join the Big 12, replacing conference games in California, Oregon and Washington for Texas, Kansas, Ohio, Oklahoma, Florida, Iowa and West Virginia.

Calculated by the straight-line distance between each university, the average distance between ASU and the 15 other Big 12 teams slated for 2024-25 is 944 miles, up from the 658-mile average of Pac-12 opponents this season. Arizona’s average distance increased from approximately 735 miles to 937 miles. Both Pac-12 measurements include UCLA’s campus, not the Rose Bowl.

It’s going to be a new experience for the athletes visiting new places. It also poses new travel challenges for teams, though both Sun Devil and Wildcat leaders have downplayed that impact.

Here are the approximate distances between the two Arizona schools’ main campuses and the rest of the Big 12, excluding their fellow Pac-12 defectors:

ASU and Arizona travel distances to Big 12 schools

Baylor (Waco, Texas)

ASU to Baylor: 873 miles

Arizona to Baylor: 815 miles

The Sun Devils have faced the Bears in football once back in 1990 at Sun Devil Stadium. They’ve clashed in men’s hoops five times and women’s basketball four times, but Baylor is 9-0 in those games.

The Wildcats fell to Baylor 20-15 in the Hancock Bowl of 1992 during their only football meeting.

Baylor is 2-0 against Arizona men’s basketball since 2018-19, while Wildcats WBB secured a 75-54 victory in the matchup last season in Dallas.

Brigham Young (Provo, Utah)

ASU to BYU: 470 miles

Arizona to BYU: 556 miles

ASU and BYU have had one football meeting since 2000, a 27-17 win for the Cougars at home in 2021. They played every year from 1965 to 1978.

The Wildcats have more experience against BYU in the 21st century with three meetings on the gridiron since 2016. BYU picked up a 24-16 win in 2021 to open the season, two weeks before beating ASU.

Arizona women’s hoops defeated BYU in the NCAA Tournament’s Round of 32 in 2020-21, but the men’s teams have not played since 2010 when BYU’s Jimmer Fredette went off for 33 points in a win. A year prior, he dropped 49 on Arizona in McKale Center.

Central Florida (Orlando, Fla.)

ASU to UCF: 1,843 miles

Arizona to UCF: 1,789 miles

This is the furthest distance for ASU but not Arizona, although neither team has much experience facing the Knights.

UCF football has one game on record versus ASU back in 2002 and none vs. Arizona.

Sun Devils women’s basketball defeated UCF in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament.

Cincinnati (Cincinnati)

ASU to Cincinnati: 1,570 miles

Arizona to Cincinnati: 1,555 miles

The Bearcats have played the Sun Devils in football twice but not since 1976 in Tempe. They’ve never faced Arizona in football but the two sides met in men’s basketball last season, a 101-93 Wildcats win in Hawaii.

Houston (Houston)

ASU to Houston: 1,008 miles

Arizona to Houston: 945 miles

The Sun Devils actually faced the Cougars in a football game played at the Tokyo Dome in Japan back in the 1990 Coca-Cola Bowl. Houston starting quarterback David Klingler set the NCAA record with 716 passing yards, which has since been bested, in a 62-45 Cougars win. They have not played each other since.

Arizona, meanwhile, played Houston in a home-and-home in 2017 and 2018, both losses.

Houston men’s hoops also knocked Arizona out of the NCAA Tournament in 2021-22, Tommy Lloyd’s first year in charge.

Iowa State (Ames, Iowa)

ASU to Iowa State: 1,158 miles

Arizona to Iowa State: 1,167 miles

ASU has never faced Iowa State in football and Arizona’s last meeting with the Cyclones was in 1968.

Arizona men’s basketball last defeated Iowa State in 2018-19 in Hawaii.

Kansas (Lawrence, Kan.)

ASU to KU: 1,003 miles

Arizona to KU: 997 miles

Kansas has not faced ASU football and its last game against Arizona on the gridiron was in the 1960s.

Basketball is a much different story, as ASU defeated Kansas twice in their recent home-and-home with head coaches Bobby Hurley and Bill Self on their respective sidelines. Kansas was ranked No. 2 in the country when ASU earned a 95-85 win at Allen Fieldhouse in 2017-18 behind Tra Holder’s 29 points and 21 from Remy Martin off the bench. KU was No. 1 the following year when it fell 80-76 in Tempe.

Arizona has not played Kansas in men’s basketball since 2010-11 when Markieff and Marcus Morris bested a Derrick Williams-led Wildcats squad. They played in women’s hoops last year, a 77-50 win for KU.

Kansas State (Manhattan, Kan.)

ASU to K-State: 940 miles

Arizona to K-State: 938 miles

ASU last played Kansas State football in the 2002 Holiday Bowl, a 34-27 win for KSU, while Arizona football has not seen the other Wildcats since 1978.

Kansas State has faced ASU and Arizona once each in men’s basketball since 2000, most recently against the Sun Devils in 2017-18. ASU won the game in Las Vegas, 92-90.

Oklahoma State (Stillwater, Okla.)

ASU to OSU: 861 miles

Arizona to OSU: 840 miles

Arizona State has had a very recent look at Oklahoma State football with a 34-17 loss in Stillwater last year. It was the Sun Devils’ first matchup since 1993.

The Wildcats last faced the Cowboys in 2012, although the two future Big 12 foes met at the Alamo Bowl in 2010. Oklahoma State won 36-10 over quarterback Nick Foles and Co.

There has not been a recent basketball game between OSU and the two Arizona schools. The last was in 2004-05 when Arizona’s Salim Stoudamire hit a game-winner in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament to move the No. 1 seed Wildcats along.

Texas Christian (Fort Worth, Texas)

ASU to TCU: 844 miles

Arizona to TCU: 797 miles

The Sun Devils and Horned Frogs men’s basketball teams battled in the NCAA Tournament this past season, a 72-70 win for TCU in the Round of 64 after JaKobe Coles hit the game-winning floater with 1.5 seconds. It was the first time the two squads had played since 2009.

Arizona defeated TCU in the second round of the 2021-22 Big Dance 85-80 behind Bennedict Mathurin’s 30-point night.

There is not much football history here, with the Horned Frogs last playing Arizona in 2003 in Tucson (13-10 TCU win).

Texas Tech (Lubbock, Texas)

ASU to Texas Tech: 579 miles

Arizona to Texas Tech: 538 miles

Texas Tech and ASU football knew how to put on a show in 2016 and 2017.

ASU took the first game in the home-and-home 68-55 in Tempe, the locally renowned Kalen Ballage seven-touchdown game to tie an FBS record. Patrick Mahomes’ mere 540 passing yards were no match.

Texas Tech under head coach Kliff Kingsbury won the next meeting in Lubbock in a lower-scoring game, 52-45.

Arizona defeated Texas Tech 28-14 at home in 2019 when Khalil Tate ran for 176 yards, including an 84-yard touchdown.

West Virginia (Morgantown, W. VA.)

ASU to WVU: 1,816 miles

Arizona to WVU: 1,800 miles

Here’s the furthest school from Arizona in the conference.

ASU and West Virginia put on a memorable Cactus Bowl to cap the 2015 season, as WVU earned a 43-42 victory after scoring the go-ahead touchdown with 2:19 remaining. Mike Bercovici threw for 418 yards and four touchdowns in his last game with ASU.

Arizona has never played West Virginia in football, but they matched up in women’s basketball during the NCAA Tournament last season. The No. 7 seed Wildcats eliminated No. 10 seed West Virginia 75-62.

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