ASU, UofA have a rivalry older than Arizona itself
The ASU-UofA rivalry technically began in 1899, before Arizona was a state, when the schools faced each other in football for the first time.
- ASU, then Territorial Normal School, beat UofA 11-2 and won the "Territorial Cup."
- The shiny silver trophy went missing after that first game and wasn't discovered until 1980 in a church basement near ASU.
- The Territorial Cup is the oldest rivalry trophy in college football.
Yes, but: Our rivalry didn't reach the bitter, angry, deface-each-other's-property status of today until 1958.
- Like most things in our state, politics is to blame.
What happened: Until 1958, UofA was the only university in Arizona — and its alumni, which held most power positions in the state, wanted it to stay that way.
- ASU was just the measly Arizona State College at that time. And legislative efforts to elevate the school to a university failed repeatedly at the hands of the Wildcat faithful.
But then: ASC president Grady Gammage pushed for a citizen's initiative to change the name, leaving it in the hands of voters to decide on the school's moniker.
- ASC students and alumni collected more than double the needed signatures to get Proposition 200 on the ballot.
- Opponents of the initiative were similarly intense, breaking into newly completed Sun Devil Stadium before its opening game and burning "NO 200" into the field.
In the end: The initiative passed by a 2-1 margin and the Tempe school got to sub its "C" for a "U."
- ASU is now one of the largest universities in the country.
The intrigue: It's been more than 60 years since the heated name-change battle, but the hostility seems to be baked into our bones.
- This season will be the 97th football meet up between the two schools. UofA leads the series 49-46-1.
- Though, if you count only games since ASU's name change, ASU leads 36-26-1.
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