Coming into this season, the stakes of this year’s Territorial Cup were predictably less than they were last season.
The 2014 battle between Arizona and Arizona State turned out to be for the Pac-12 South title, but this year the game only becomes a piece of the puzzle in determining lower-tier bowl bids.
Oh, and you know, pride.
Rich Rodriguez’s Wildcats close their regular season with the Duel in the Desert and the hope of reaching a 7-5 regular season record.
Meanwhile, ASU’s bowl eligibility remains in question because of a 5-5 record with two games left. The Sun Devils must win one of their final two games — they close on the road against Cal — to reach the six-win mark that makes a team bowl eligible, but it’s possible a select few 5-7 teams could make postseason games in order to fill out the 80-team field (read more on that here).
Putting on his fan’s cap, Graham would be disappointed if a five-win team reached a bowl game.
“I wouldn’t be in favor of that. I have to be honest with you. I mean, there’s a certain standard you want to keep but I understand you have to fill out … games,” the ASU coach said two weeks ago, before adding that he’d absolutely accept a bowl bid with five wins. “Heck yeah, I would. If I was offered to go to a bowl or not, I’d sure take it. Getting that extra practice is critical.”
Of course, that discussion means nothing if Arizona State can drop its rival.
Heading into the Territorial Cup showdown, here are where several national publications see the Sun Devils and the Wildcats playing their bowl games.
And yes, it’s all over the place.
|ESPN.com||Independence Bowl vs. Louisville (McMurphy), Liberty Bowl vs. Miss. State (Schlabach)||Hawai’i Bowl vs. BYU (McMurphy), Cactus Bowl vs. Air Force (Schlabach)|
|CBSSports.com||Poinsettia Bowl vs. Boise State||Independence Bowl vs. Duke|
|Sporting News||Heart of Dallas Bowl vs. Western Kentucky||Poinsettia Bowl vs. New Mexico|
|FOXSports.com||Heart of Dallas Bowl vs. Marshall||Pinstripe Bowl vs. Pittsburgh|
|USA Today||Independence Bowl vs. Virginia Tech||Las Vegas Bowl vs. San Diego State|
|SBNation||Armed Forces Bowl vs. Utah State||Arizona Bowl vs. Nevada|
|Sports Illustrated||Armed Forces Bowl vs. Colorado State||Las Vegas Bowl vs. BYU|
|PhilSteele.com||Music City Bowl vs. Tennessee||Heart of Dallas Bowl vs. Western Kentucky|
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