In-State Rivalries: The Territorial Cup

November 27, 2014 by SbS Football Staff | with 0 comments

It's rivalry week in college football, and in our opinion, the best in-state rivalry game of the weekend will be in Tucson, Arizona on Friday afternoon as the 13th-ranked Sun Devils travel 110 miles south to take on the 11th-ranked Wildcats in the 88th edition of the Territorial Cup.
There are four in-state rivalries this weekend featuring two teams in the top 25 of the College Football Playoff Rankings, and the Arizona / Arizona State game is the only one with both teams ranked in the top 13 (it is also the only one not featuring at least one SEC team).
The Territorial Cup is one of the most underrated rivalries in all of college football, and this year’s game is the most anticipated in recent memory as the Wildcats and Sun Devils both enter the game with overall records of 9 – 2, and the winner would win the Pac-12 South title if UCLA were to lose to Stanford.
Our analysis looks at the competitiveness of the rivalry over the recent years and also looks at where the players on each team are from.

Series Since 2000
Earlier this year we analyzed the most competitive in-state rivalries in college football since the turn of the century (full list available here: Best FBS Rivalries Since 2000), and out of the 34 in-state rivalries that met our criteria, the Territorial Cup was ranked as the 9th most competitive.
In no particular order, below are ten facts summarizing the rivalry since 2000.

1. ASU has won nine games and Arizona has won five games.  

2. The overall score of the series since 2000 is ASU 364, Arizona 300.  

3. The Sun Devils average margin of victory in its nine wins has been 12.6 points per game.  

4. The Wildcats average margin of victory in its five wins has been 9.6 points per game.

5. There has been one overtime game this century (2010: ASU won 30 – 29 in two OT’s).

6. Only once has the game been tied after three quarters (2002: ASU won 34 – 20).  

7. There have been four fourth quarter comebacks since 2000 (2005, 2010, 2011 and 2012).

8. Half of the games have been decided by seven points or less, including four in a row from 2009 to 2012.  

9. Four games since 2000 have been decided by a field goal or less (2005, 2007, 2009 and 2010).  

10. The longest winning streak by one team has been only three games (ASU from 2005 to 2007).  

Roster Analysis - Players by State
When analyzing the rosters, it is pretty clear that the two teams generally recruit in the same areas, both inside and outside the state of Arizona.
Below are five observations when analyzing the states where the players are from.
1. Approximately one-third of the players on each team come from the state of Arizona (UA – 36 players, ASU – 38 players), and one-third of the players on each team come from the state of California (UA – 34 players, ASU – 30 players). 

2. The Wildcats have ten starters from the state of Arizona, while the Sun Devils only have five starters from the hometown state. 

3. The Sun Devils have eight starters from the state of California, while the Wildcats have five starters from California. 

4. The starting Quarterbacks on both teams are from a state other than Arizona or California – Anu Solomon (Wildcats) is from Nevada and Taylor Kelly (Sun Devils) is from Idaho. 

5. The star Wide-Receivers on both teams are from a state other than Arizona or California – Cayleb Jones (Wildcats) is from Texas and Jaelen Strong (Sun Devils) is from Pennsylvania.

Roster Analysis - Players by Arizona and California Counties
In addition to looking at what states the players on each roster are from, we took a closer look at how the rosters compare when looking at the specific players from the state of Arizona and California.
Below are three observations when analyzing where the players from Arizona and California are from. 

1. It wasn’t a surprise to learn that Maricopa County (Phoenix area) is where the majority of players on both teams are from; 29 of the 36 Wildcat players from Arizona and 32 of the 38 Sun Devil players from Arizona are from the Phoenix area. 

2. While there are six Wildcat players from Pima County (Tucson area), there are no Sun Devil players who come from the Tucson area. 

3. Both teams have a similar mix of players from the Los Angeles area; 20 of the 34 Wildcat players from California and 17 of the 30 Sun Devil players from California are from the greater Los Angeles area.

At the same time the Territorial Cup is being played on Friday afternoon, two of the most profiled high-school players from Arizona in recent years will be going head-to-head in a different Pac-12 game.
UCLA Quarterback Brett Hundley and Stanford Offensive Tackle Andrus Peat, who are both from the Phoenix area and likely high picks in the 2015 NFL Draft, will be squaring off in Los Angeles.
If Stanford pulls the upset, the winner of the Arizona / Arizona State game will move on to play Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship game next week.
Irrespective of what happens on Friday, the Wildcats and Sun Devils have both had tremendous seasons and have greatly overachieved expectations coming into the year.
Playing in the best conference in college football this season, the two teams have both pulled upset wins on the road, have both had miraculous Hail Mary wins, and are both still alive for a spot in the College Football Playoffs
It has been a great year for football fans in the Grand Canyon state, and Friday is sure to bring plenty of drama. The citizens of Arizona will be divided between “Bear Down” and “Sparky”, but everyone will be cheering for "Peat" to open up big lanes for the Stanford Running Backs.