Rich Rodriguez, Todd Graham revitalize their respective programs and the Territorial Cup

Nov 28, 2013, 9:21 PM | Updated: 9:21 pm

When the Arizona Wildcats and Arizona State Sun Devils take the field Saturday night at Sun Devil Stadium, they’ll do so with the most combined wins (16) heading into the Territorial Cup since 1986.

That statistic may not come as much of a surprised given that the both teams feature top-flight running backs, competent and mobile quarterbacks behind center and playmakers on the defensive side of the ball.

But for each respective school, success starts with its second-year head coach, Rich Rodriguez and Todd Graham.

For Rodriguez, his first two seasons in Tucson have been full of highs (wins of Oklahoma, Oregon and USC) and lows (home losses to Arizona and Washington State and blowout road losses to Oregon and UCLA). Throughout it all, the Wildcats still have a chance to win nine games for the first time since 1998 and a chance to win back-to-back bowl games for the first time since 1997-98.

For Graham, his tenure in Tempe has been highlighted with feat after feat. Under his direction, ASU has captured four wins over top 25 teams, a Territorial Cup victory in Tucson and a Pac-12 South division title. If the Sun Devils win two of their final three games, Graham will have delivered the program’s first 11-win season since 1997. And if they win the conference championship game on Dec. 7, he’ll have also taken the program to its first Rose Bowl Game since Jan. 1997.

Here’s a head-to-head breakdown of both Graham and Rodriguez, who served together at West Virginia in 2001, as they prepare to meet in the 87th Territorial Cup:

Rich Rodriguez Todd Graham
Record: 15-9 Record: 17-7
Pac-12 Record: 8-9 Pac-12 Record: 12-5
Non-conference Record: 7-0 Non-Conference Record: 5-2
Best Win of 2012: 37-34 vs. No. 9 USC Best Win of 2012: 41-34 at No. 24 Arizona
Worst Loss of 2012: 66-10 at UCLA Worst Loss of 2012: 45-43 vs. UCLA
Best Win of 2013: 42-16 vs. No. 5 Oregon Best Win of 2013: 38-33 at UCLA
Worst Loss of 2013: 24-17 vs. Washington St. Worst Loss of 2013: 38-35 vs. Notre Dame
Record vs. AP Top 25: 3-5 Record vs. AP Top 25: 4-4
AP Top 25 Wins: No. 5 Oregon, No. 9 USC and No. 18 Oklahoma State AP Top 25 Wins: No. 14 UCLA, No. 20 Wisconsin, No. 20 Washington and No. 24 Arizona
Territorial Cup Record: 0-1 Territorial Cup Record: 1-0
Pac-12 South Titles: 0 Pac-12 South Titles: 1
Pac-12 Championships: 0 Pac-12 Championships: 0
Bowl Eligible Seasons: 2 Bowl Eligible Seasons: 2
Bowl Record: 1-0 Bowl Record: 1-0

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Rich Rodriguez, Todd Graham revitalize their respective programs and the Territorial Cup