This blog explores the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California

The oldest sporting rivalry in Arizona, the Territorial Cup


If you're an Arizona State University Sun Devil or a University of Arizona Wildcat, you know about the Territorial Cup, the oldest sporting rivalry in Arizona and arguably the most important game of the year.

Football, or Foot Ball, has deep roots in Arizona. And the rivalry between Phoenix and Tucson goes even deeper. It has been at times terribly acrimonious, and has even led to some regrettable incidents. And I'm not just talking about overly-enthusiastic sports fans, I'm talking about politics here.

The first year of the Territorial Cup was 1899, and it was played between the University of Arizona and the Tempe Normal School (which is now ASU). That's the Normal football team up there in the photo, with the Territorial Cup for that year. The owl was stuffed, by the way. And yes, the team was called the Normals, and no, it was never called the Owls. Those are the steps of Old Main, which wasn't really all that old back then. If you know ASU, you know that building, it's on University just east of College, just down from the Chuckbox.

I'm interested in Arizona history, and especially history isn't just "back in the day", but continues up to modern times, and the Territorial Cup is a great representation of that. Yes, I'm a Sun Devil, but to me, it really doesn't even matter who wins the game. What matters is the tradition that has continued for over 100 years, and hopefully always will.

Go Devils! Go Wildcats! I love living in Arizona.

The Territorial Cup, 1899.


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