The Duel in the Desert: Arizona and Arizona State Duke it Out for the Territorial Cup

Every Thanksgiving weekend, deep in the heart of the southwest United States, the University of Arizona and Arizona State University take the field and battle for the Territorial Cup.

This rivalry, between two schools separated by one hour and 45 minutes on Interstate 10, began all the way back in 1899, 13 years before Arizona became a state.

In 1899, ASU, then known as the Territorial Normal School at Tempe took the train down to Tucson, where they met up with and they played U of A at Carrillo Gardens Field. TNS, recognized as the Normals, took the first meeting between the two schools, 11-2. The victory gave the Normals the Territorial Championship Cup, the same trophy that the schools battle over to this day.

The Territorial Cup on display in Tempe, Ariz., sometime this past year. Photo courtesy of Nick Bastian on Flickr

The Territorial Cup on display in Tempe, Ariz., sometime this past year. Photo courtesy of Nick Bastian on Flickr

According to author Shane Dale’s book Territorial, The Territorial Cup was not originally created to go to the winner of the game between U of A and the Normals. It was created to go to the champion of the Arizona Foot Ball League, a league that included U of A, Territorial Normal, Phoenix College and Phoenix Indian School. Normal was presented the trophy because they had defeated all of the schools in the conference. Because of their victory, an inscription reading “Arizona Foot Ball League 1899 Normal” was engraved into the Cup. That is the only inscription on the Cup, as it disappeared very soon after that first game. Thus, the Cup will always belong to Arizona State, even though it has taken a few trips south during its lifetime.

The Normals would learn to savor that victory, as the Normals would only taste victory once more in the next 49 years.

The two schools did not meet again until 1902, and they would meet again in Tucson, but the home team would not let the Normals, whose school had become Tempe Normal School, escape with a victory. This time U of A came out on top 12-0, a victory that began a nine-game win streak that would last 28 years (1902-1930).

The teams then took a 12-year hiatus between meetings. When they did meet on the gridiron again, U of A appeared under the nickname “Wildcats” instead of what it had been called, Varsity. This name came from an article in the Los Angeles Times said that U of A had “showed the fight of wildcats” after a game against Occidental College. Soon after, the nickname became official, and it has stuck to this day.

The next meeting between the Wildcats and the Normals took place in 1914, and Arizona emerged victorious again, and this time, it wasn’t even close. The Wildcats won 34-0.

The two teams met again the next season, with the Wildcats emerging victorious, but it was much closer this time, U of A only won by a score of 7-0. Four years would pass before the next meeting.

In 1919, the teams met again, and it was one-sided once more. Arizona destroyed the Normals, 59-0. The teams would not meet again until 1925, and during the hiatus, in 1922, Tempe Normal had changed its name to the mascot from the Normals to the Bulldogs, and in 1925, changed the name of the school to Tempe State Teachers College. The mascot change did not mean victory for Tempe, and that game resulted in a 13-3 victory for the Wildcats. After the 1925 game, the rivalry became an annual game, with a few exceptions.

In 1926, as has been the theme, the Wildcats won, this time by a score of 35-0. They were inspired by starting quarterback John “Button” Salmon, who after being hit by a car, told head coach James “Pop” McKale, “Tell them… tell the team to bear down.” That has become the school’s unofficial motto and is displayed prominently down the middle of the field at Arizona Stadium today. There was not a game in 1927, and in 1928, Arizona won again, 39-0, the first game in Arizona Stadium. 1929’s game would see a 26-0 Wildcat win over the newly named Arizona State Teachers College, and 1930 would be U of A’s ninth straight win, but it was a very close game 6-0.

The series took it’s first trip up north to Tempe in 1931 and with it came new life for ASTC. The Bulldogs won their first game against the Wildcats in 28 years, 19-6. Arizona would not let this bother them, as they went on to win the next year, 20-6 back in Tucson, and that began an 11-game win streak.

In 1933, the game came back to Tempe, but ASTC would not see the effect that playing in Tempe had in 1931, and U of A won 26-7. 1934 saw a 32-6 Wildcat victory, 1935 was a 26-0 win for U of A, Arizona won 18-0 in ’36 in ASTC’s brand new Goodwin Stadium, 20-6 in ’37, and then the series took a four-year break.

ASTC and U of A resumed playing each other in 1941, and the Wildcats continued their dominance, winning 20-7 in Tempe. ’42 saw a 23-0 Wildcat victory and then there was another hiatus as both schools had many students fight for the Allies in World War II.

The series would resume after the War ended. During the War hiatus, in 1945, ASTC had changed its name to Arizona State College, and in November 1946, the Bulldogs would be no more. Arizona State College decided to change its mascot and a student vote decided that the new mascot would be the Sun Devils. After this was decided, Disney artist Berk Anthony designed the iconic Sparky logo, which has been rumored to be modeled after Walt Disney himself.

In 1946, Arizona absolutely embarrassed ASC, 67-0. ’47 saw a much closer game, with U of A winning 26-13, and the Wildcats would win their 11th straight, 33-21, in ’48.

ASC would get back on the winning track in ’49, beating U of A 34-7. That would be the first of four straight for the Sun Devils. In 1950, ASC would win 47-13, then in ’51, the Devils won 61-14, and in ’52 ASC emerged victorious, 20-18.

Arizona would take the next three (’53-’55) by scores of 35-0, 54-14, and 7-6.

’56-’59 would belong to ASC by scores of 20-0, 47-7, 47-0, and 15-9.

1958 was a very exciting year for ASC. 1958 would see the hiring of one of the greatest coaches in Arizona State history, Frank Kush, the beginning of play in Sun Devil Stadium, and ASC becoming recognized as a university, and it became Arizona State University.

The beginning of the 1960s belonged to the Wildcats, as they opened the decade with three straight wins over ASU, by scores of 35-7, 22-13, and 20-17. ASU took the 1963 meeting 35-6, and U of A took 1964’s battle, 30-6.

In 1965, the Sun Devils would emerge victorious, 14-6, the first of nine straight wins for ASU.

In ’66, ASU won 20-17, ’67 saw a 47-7 Sun Devil victory, in ’68, ASU won 30-7, then in ’69, the Sun Devils won 38-24, in ’70, the score was 10-6 in favor of ASU, ’71 was a 31-0 ASU victory, ’72 saw a 38-21 ASU win, and the Sun Devils won that ninth straight game in ’73, 55-19.

Arizona won 10-0 in 1974 before the Sun Devils went streaking again, winning four straight from 1975-78, by scores of 24-21, 27-10, 23-7, and 18-17.

U of A would grab another win in 1979, 27-24, ASU would then go on to win back to back games in 1980 and 1981, 44-7 and 24-13.

1982 would see the beginning of a time every Wildcat and Wildcat fan looks back on fondly, and every Sun Devil fan would like to forget. From 1982-1990, Arizona State did not win in nine straight years, during a time period known as “The Streak.”

The first two games in 1982 and ’83 saw U of A win 28-18 and 17-15. 1983 would also see the return of a precious relic.

Shortly after it was first presented in 1899, the Territorial Cup disappeared. No one knew what had happened to it until 1983, when it was discovered, according to Territorial, in a closet in the basement of the First Congregational Church of Tempe. After its discovery, the cup was put on display at Arizona State. 18 years later, in 2001, it would start being awarded to the winner of the ASU-U of A football game.

Arizona would win 16-10 in ’84, 16-13 in ’85, and 34-17 in ’86, a year that saw the Sun Devils go on to win the Rose Bowl, 22-15 over Michigan. The series saw its only tie happen in ’87, with a score of 24-24, and many people consider it a Wildcat victory, a la, Harvard-Yale in 1968, because of the improbable way that they Wildcats tied it. ASU was forced to punt with mere seconds left in the game from their own 38-yard-line. Sun Devil punter Mike Schuh fumbled the snap and U of A recovered with 13 seconds to go on the 13-yard-line, and the Wildcats kicked a field goal to end the game in a tie.

Arizona would then win 28-10 in ’89 and 21-17 in ’90, which would be the final year of “The Streak.” ASU ended the streak in 1991 by beating the Wildcats 37-14. The Sun Devils would win again the next year 7-6.

Arizona then won three straight from 1993-’95, 34-20, 28-27, and 31-28. ASU won 56-14 in 1996, before going on to lose to Ohio State in the Rose Bowl, 20-17, and then U of A won back to back games, 28-16 and 50-42, in 1997 and 1998.

1999 and 2000 saw two Sun Devil victories, 42-27 and 30-17. Arizona won the initial game in which the Territorial Cup was presented as a traveling trophy, 34-21, in 2001. ASU won back-to-back games again in ’02 and ’03, 34-20 and 28-7.

Arizona State wide receive Mike Willie celebrates in front of Arizona safety Adam Hall after catching a touchdown pass from Arizona State quarterback Brock Osweiler at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Ariz., in 2010. Arizona State would go on to win the game 30-29 in double overtime. Photo courtesy of Scott Jones on Flickr.

Arizona State wide receive Mike Willie celebrates in front of Arizona safety Adam Hall after catching a touchdown pass from Arizona State quarterback Brock Osweiler at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Ariz., in 2010. Arizona State would go on to win the game 30-29 in double overtime. Photo courtesy of Scott Jones on Flickr.

Arizona upset No. 18 ASU in 2004, 34-27, but ASU would respond with three straight wins, 23-20, 28-14, and 20-17 (while the Sun Devils were ranked No. 13), from ’05-’07. ’08 and ’09 would see back to back Wildcat wins, 31-10 and 20-17. 2010 was a Sun Devil victory, 30-29 in double overtime, 2011 belonged to U of A, 31-27, and last year was a Sun Devil victory, 41-34, over No. 24 Arizona, thanks to a 14-point fourth quarter comeback.

This year’s Duel in the Desert is the largest in years. ASU is ranked No. 12, and will host the Pac-12 title game against No. 8 Stanford if they beat Arizona. Arizona is coming off of an upset over No. 5 Oregon. The game will be played Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013 and will kickoff at 7:30 p.m. MST on the Pac-12 Networks.

Due to it’s national importance this year, many fans will ask why this game is considered “forgotten.” In Territorial, the introduction is titled, “The Best Rivalry No One’s Heard Of.” Continually on television and on the radio, ASU is called Arizona and vice versa. ESPN cannot even get the teams’ match-ups straight. During week three of this season, ASU played Wisconsin, but on College Football Live, ESPN put an Arizona helmet with a Wisconsin helmet when previewing the game. The rivalry is obviously well-known in Arizona, but it seems that if the teams cannot even be kept separate, then it must not mean much nationwide.

Fans have their own reasons for why this rivalry is not known nationwide.

“(The Territorial Cup is not known nationwide) because neither team has been a major or consistent force in college football,” Greg Cravener, Arizona alumnus, class of 1983, said in an email. “They have both had glimmers of hope and short periods of greatness but neither has been able to show the consistency to garner other than regional interest. ASU had a good run under Frank Kush, but this was in the WAC days when very little interest was given to this conference. It takes years of being a force in a major conference to garner much national attention.”

“The rivalry does not get the national recognition of a Notre Dame-USC or an Ohio St.-Michigan simply because neither school is a traditional power house,” ASU sophomore Lucas Robbins said in an email. “The game has little significance outside the state of Arizona because most of the time neither team is very good. Between the two neither school has a national title nor a BCS berth. It’s the no-respect Arizona curse.”

The fact that the teams have not been nationally ranked in many of their games adds on to that, so many of the games have not meant as much, but, both teams are playing much better football as of late, so maybe they will mean more in the future. But, if it teams do happen to go back to being middle of the pack teams, hopefully this fantastic rivalry will not be forgotten.


Chop, chop, chop! Minnesota and Wisconsin Continue to Battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe

In the northern midwest United States, within the confines of the Big Ten Conference, lies the Football Bowl Subdivision’s (FBS) oldest rivalry, and no, it is not Ohio State vs. Michigan.

The oldest rivalry in the FBS has taken place each and every year, except one, since 1890 between the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers and the University of Wisconsin Badgers.

When the Badgers and Gophers first met on the gridiron, it was just another game. Wisconsin was in their second year of football and was coming off of an absolute drubbing of Whitewater Normal School, which is now called the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and currently plays football in Division III, 106-0. That win still stands as the most lopsided victory in Wisconsin history. Minnesota began playing football in 1882, took a two-year break from 1884-1885, and was on their sixth head coach in five years of football (the Gophers had four different head coaches in 1889).

Minnesota took the trip southeast to Madison, Wis., to take on the Badgers, and it did not go well for the home team. The Gophers topped the Badgers 63-0 in the most lopsided game in rivalry history, and the only game where one of the teams eclipsed the 60-point barrier.

The two schools decided to make this an annual meeting, and it has stayed that way to this day. The teams did decide to not play each other in 1906, but that is the only time that has happened.

The series continued the next year in Minneapolis, and the Gophers came out on top once again, albeit much closer this time around, 26-12.

The Badgers would earn their first victory in the series in 1892, as they beat Minnesota 40-32 in Madison. The teams would then trade wins for the next three seasons, with Minnesota winning two of them.

In 1896, both teams entered into the Western Conference, the first precursor to what is the Big Ten Conference today. They were joined by the University of Chicago, University of Illinois, Northwestern University, Purdue University and the University of Michigan. Entering into the conference ensured that the teams would meet on an annual basis.

The first conference game between the two schools ended in a 6-0 Wisconsin win, which would be the first of four straight for the Badgers.

In 1899, the Western Conference changed its name to the Big Nine Conference, as the University of Iowa and the University of Indiana joined.

The Paul Bunyan Axe is the trophy given out to the winner of the Wisconsin-Minnesota football game. The original axe was retired after the 2003 game. The handle of the axe is six feet long and players of the winning team act like they are chopping down the goal posts after they secure the trophy. Photo courtesy of Josh May on Flickr.

The Paul Bunyan Axe is the trophy given out to the winner of the Wisconsin-Minnesota football game. The original axe was retired after the 2003 game. The handle of the axe is six feet long and players of the winning team act like they are chopping down the goal posts after they secure the trophy. Photo courtesy of Josh May on Flickr.

Wisconsin’s streak would end in 1900, as the Gophers won a very close game 6-5. Wisconsin would add another win the following season, but Minnesota would then go on to win the next three, from 1902-1904.

Wisconsin would win 16-12 in 1905 before the series would take a one-year hiatus in 1906, the only time the two schools have not met on the football field since 1890.

When the two schools played again in 1907, the conference had shrunk down to eight teams (Michigan had been voted out for failing to adhere to league policy), and the first tie between the two schools occurred. Wisconsin and Minnesota would end up tying 17-17 that year.

Luckily, that would not become a trend as Wisconsin won in 1908, and Minnesota won back-to-back game in 1909 and 1910. The tie would rear its head again, however.

In 1911, the two schools tied 6-6. That would be the last tie for 11 years, during which time Wisconsin would win five games and Minnesota, six. The conference would also gain two more members, and go by the name Big Ten Conference for the first time as Ohio State University joined in 1912, and Michigan re-joined in 1917.

The next three years would see three ties. In 1923, the teams tied 0-0, followed by a 7-7 tie in 1924 and a 12-12 tie in 1925. Minnesota got tired of the ties after this, and decided to go on a bit of a run.

Over the next 24 years, from 1926-1949, Minnesota would win 20 games, including a span of nine straight wins from 1933-1941. This time period would not only see complete dominance by Minnesota in the rivalry, they would also win five national championships (1934-1936, 1940-1941). It was also during this time that a trophy was first given to the winner of the Minnesota vs. Wisconsin game.

Beginning in 1930, and lasting until 1943 when Minnesota head coach George Hauser refused to accept the trophy and it was taken back to Wisconsin and subsequently misplaced, the winner of the game was given the “Slab of Bacon.” The Slab of Bacon is a chunk of black walnut that has a football in the middle with an emblem on top that is a W or a M, depending on which side it is hung from. It also has the word “Bacon” carved on either side, with the significance that the winner of the game will have brought home the bacon.

The Slab of Bacon, the former trophy given to the victor of the Wisconsin-Minnesota football game, after being lost for over 50 years, was found in a storage closet at Camp Randall Stadium. It now displayed at the Camp Randall Stadium Football Offices. Photo courtesy of user Gopherbone on Wikimedia Commons.

The Slab of Bacon, the former trophy given to the victor of the Wisconsin-Minnesota football game, after being lost for over 50 years, was found in a storage closet at Camp Randall Stadium. It now displayed at the Camp Randall Stadium Football Offices. Photo courtesy of user Gopherbone on Wikimedia Commons.

Minnesota won the Slab of Bacon 11 times during its 14-year tenure. After the disappearance of the trophy, neither team was awarded anything for winning until 1948, when the Paul Bunyan Axe was created and given to the victor.

The trophy-less years (1944-1947) saw three Minnesota victories and a single victory for the Badgers. The Big Ten would also go back to being the Big Nine as the University of Chicago left the conference. The Gophers would then go on to win the Axe, which was created by the National W Club (the Wisconsin letter winners Association) for the first two years of its existence.

1949 was the Gophers’ final win for six years, as they defeated Wisconsin 14-6. The Big Nine also re-became the Big Ten as Michigan State University joined. The conference would retain the same ten members until 1990.

The 1950’s would see Wisconsin begin to show some dominance as the Badgers won six of the ten games in the decade. Minnesota would only win once during this time, and there were three ties (’52, ’53, ’56). The 1956 game would be the last tie the series has seen.

The series went 6-4 in favor of the Golden Gophers in the 1960s, and 5-5 in the 1970s. The last two years of the ’70s saw the Badgers begin a six-game winning streak that would last until 1983. Minnesota responded with a four-game winning streak of their own, and the series would then see Wisconsin win 9 of 13 between 1988 and 2000, a time period that also saw the Big Ten add their 11th team, Penn State.

The 21st century has not been nice to the Gophers, as they have only won twice in the last 12 years (2001, ’03). Currently the Badgers are on a nine-game winning streak that began in 2004 and has equaled Minnesota’s longest winning streak in the series (1933-1941). The Big Ten has also added a 12th team, Nebraska, and has plans to expand to 14 teams next season, when Rutgers and Maryland join the conference.

Not only is the Minnesota vs. Wisconsin game the oldest rivalry in the FBS, it is a rivalry that has been vital in the history of the Big Ten Conference. Both teams are charter members and their rivalry has kept the conference exciting for years. Sadly, due to the recent decline in the Minnesota football program, this rivalry has gone to the back of many fan’s minds. But, with Minnesota on the rise and Wisconsin having been to three straight Rose Bowls, hopefully this rivalry can regain some of its lost notoriety and won’t be forgotten.

(Both teams are also currently ranked (Minnesota [8-2, 4-2 Big Ten] is No. 25 in the BCS rankings and Wisconsin [8-2, 5-1 Big Ten] is No. 19) and will battle for the Paul Bunyan Axe on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. The game will kickoff at 3:30 p.m. EST and will be broadcast on ESPN.)

ASU Students Prepare for Family Visits During Thanksgiving Break, by Jeff Vinton and Sam Rabadi

The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Photo by Sam Rabadi

With Thanksgiving a little more than a week away, ASU students are preparing to celebrate with family and loved ones, despite the hassles that come with travel this time of year.

Students will be traveling with backpacks like these as they head across the country to visit family and loved ones over Thanksgiving break. Photo by Sam Rabadi

“Thanksgiving is something that’s associated with family,” ASU junior Meg Krivanec said. “Why wouldn’t you want to go home? What’s wrong with your priorities? Why would you choose to stay here instead of going home?”

Although students will be leaving the state to visit family across the country, ASU will still be on their minds.

“I’m having a meal with my family, watching the ASU/U of A game and watching ASU win,” ASU junior Katelyn Niemiec said.

ASU will be facing off against the University of Arizona at Sun Devil Stadium on Nov. 30 for a chance to keep the Territorial Cup, the trophy that was first awarded to the winner of the game in 1899, but disappeared until 1980 when it was found in the basement of a church near ASU’s Tempe campus, and has been awarded to the winner of the game annually ever since.

Students will return to campus Dec. 1 and will have one week of classes before final exams begin. Photo by Sam Rabadi.

Students will also be using the time off to relax and prepare their minds, as a week after they return final exams will begin.

The next time students will be able to be with family will be after finals conclude on Dec. 14.

The Battle has Been Won, but the Holy War Rages on Between Utah and BYU

Now the Holy War would be a title that most would think would be affixed to a rivalry between two schools of competing religions, say Notre Dame, America’s preeminent Catholic university, and Brigham Young University, a Mormon University located in Provo, Utah, but that would only be half-right. That title actually belongs to the rivalry between the Utes of the University of Utah and the Cougars of BYU.

It is not clear how the name originated, but what is clear is why this rivalry has earned that name. The annual, well at least it was annual, game between the Utes and Cougars has earned this title because, BYU is the flagship university of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and Utah is the state school. That’s right. This game is a battle of church vs. state. 

The two adversaries first met on the gridiron on April 6, 1896 when BYU, then known as “Brigham Young Academy,” took a trip up north from Provo, Utah to Salt Lake City to take on the Utes in a scrimmage. Utah ended up winning the game 12-4, but the real news came after the game when, according to, a group of Salt Lake locals surrounded fans of BYA and began to harass them. The BYA fans eventually had enough, and a brawl began. And thus, so did the Holy War.

The Cougars and Utes met five more times during the 1890s, two more times in 1896, twice in 1897 and once in 1898, with the schools splitting the series at three games apiece. It would be 24 more years, and a name change for BYA before the two teams would meet again.

The University of Utah Utes and the Brigham Young University Cougars square off in the 2007 Holy War at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah. BYU won the game 17-10.

The University of Utah Utes and the Brigham Young University Cougars square off in the 2007 Holy War at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah. BYU won the game 17-10. Picture courtesy of Cortney Smith on Flickr.

In 1903, BYA was dissolved, and reformed as two separate institutions, Brigham Young High School, which dissolved in 1968, and BYU, which.

From 1899-1921, BYU did not field a football team, and the rivalry was put on hiatus. In 1922, the Cougars fielded a team once more, and the rivalry resumed with a 5-0 Utah victory, which would be the first of 20 straight years that Utah would leave the field without losing to the Y.

From the 1898 meeting through 1927, the Utes won seven straight games, outscoring BYU 191-13, but in 1928, the Cougars held the Utes scoreless. The trouble was, the Utes did the same to BYU. That game ended in a 0-0 tie. That would not derail Utah, however, as the Utes began another win streak the next year, this one lasted nine years, from 1929-37.

There would be two more ties and two more Ute victories before the Cougars would notch their forth win in the now 47-year-old rivalry. At this point the teams faced each other  27 times.

In 1942, the Cougars finally ended their dry spell and beat Utah, 12-7. This would be the final game until 1946, as BYU did not field a team from 1943- 45 due to America’s involvement in World War II.

When the feud resumed again in 1946, the Utes also resumed winning, as it would be 12 straight years that the series would see either a Utah victory or a tie. BYU won in 1958, but they wouldn’t experience victory again until 1965. Between those two dates, Utah won six straight games.

1965 began the Cougars’  luck began to change, they were able to rattle off three straight victories from 1965-67, but Utah would respond with four straight wins of their own. So far, Utah had completely dominated the series with a record of 41-8-4.

That advantage that Utah had felt for so long, would become a rare and cherished feeling, over the next 21 years, the Utes would only taste victory twice, thanks to legendary BYU head coach LaVell Edwards who was able to completely turn the program around.

During those 21 years, the Cougars were able to win six, nine and four straight games.  The rivalry’s streaky past continues to this day. Utah was able to achieve a four-game winning streak twice and also a three-game winning-streak, and BYU has had a couple of back-to-back wins. Utah currently holds a 23-game advantage in the series, with a record of 57-34-4.

This rivalry, which has seen its fair share of crazy games, including a game in 2012, when Utah fans twice rushed the field at Rice-Eccles Stadium, the home of Utah football, prematurely, has been put on hiatus until 2016, due to Utah scheduling the University of Michigan for a home-and-home series in 2014 and 2015.

Fans, however, are not upset about this.

“I, along with the majority of Utah fans, am happy with the rivalry going on hiatus,” Spencer Jack, a sophomore at Utah, said in an email. “Utah is making a statement by not playing BYU. To us, they’re just another mid-major comparable to the Mountain West Conference. The rivalry is taking a break because Utah decided it was more to our advantage to schedule a series with Michigan. It’s showing the Y (BYU) how far ahead of them we are in the football aspect of things and disrespecting the product they put on the field.”

Cougar fans are not upset about this either.

“I am stoked its not going to happen for two years,” David Beckstead, an account executive at a marketing firm in Irvine, Calif., who has been a BYU fan since he was 19. “There is just too much hatred it has gotten way out of hand.”

Beckstead described one game in particular that went too far.

“When we beat Utah in OT (in 2009), there were two guy Utah fans that were so annoying that were sitting in our student section.  This one girl BYU fan wasn’t taking their lip and they kept jawing at each other.  BYU scored the OT touchdown and I look over and one of the Utah fans grabbed that girl’s hair and ripped it back as she was cheering and not even saying anything to them.”

However, that doesn’t mean the two teams will suddenly start enjoying each other.

“The Holy War is so much more than a football game,” Jack said. “The implications are prominent all year. The hate is real. It isn’t just that BYU and Utah fans don’t get along, but we absolutely despise each other’s culture and how each other lives their life.”

With as much hate as these two schools have for each other, and how some fantastic games have happened because of the Holy War, let’s hope that the brief hiatus does not diminish the Holy War and lead to it being forgotten.

The Crusades live on, Utah and BYU face off in the Holy War

In this vlog, I talk about the Holy War, what it is and why it is great, between the University of Utah Utes and the Brigham Young University Cougars.

The video of Max Hall saying that he hates Utah can be found here. The video of Utah fans prematurely rushing the field (only twice, not three times like I said in the video) can be found here.

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Protect the Borders! Colorado State and Wyoming still playing on

When one comes west of the Missouri River, they may not realize what is the oldest, and one of the most highly contested rivalries in that region. Well, all it takes is a trip to Fort Collins, Colo., or Laramie, Wyo., to figure that out.

In those towns, homes of Colorado State University Rams and the University of Wyoming Cowboys, respectively, that are separated by about an hour and fifteen minutes on U.S. Highway 287 or an hour and a half on Interstates 25 and 80, nothing is better than beating the Rams or Cowboys.

As Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen said in an article by Casper Star-Tribune’s Ben Frederickson, “The Border War is the biggest and most important football gave every year in this program. And it will always be that way, I imagine, until the end of time.”

The Border War is not only the oldest west of the Missouri, it is the second-oldest west of the Mississippi (to the Border Showdown) and has been contested since 1899 when Wyoming took a trip down to Fort Collins and lost to the Rams, 12-0.

The schools have met each year, with the exception of 12 years, for a total 104 times since that day in late November 1899. Early on, it did not even seem like this was much of a rivalry.

The then Colorado Agricultural College Aggies won six out of the first seven games against the Cowboys, and the one that the Aggies did not win was the series’ first game in Laramie, and it ended in a 6-6 tie.

In 1910, the game was once again played in Laramie, and the Cowboys secured their first win in the series by shutting out CAC, 10-0. The Cowboys would travel down to Fort Collins the next season and gain their first road victory in the Border War by a score of 27-0.

Winning would become very rare for the Cowboys, as over the next 31 match-ups,as the Aggies, who in 1935 would become the Colorado State College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts, or Colorado A&M for short, would go on to win 24 of the games, tie four, and only lose three games. That included three five-game winning streaks and two-four game winning streaks for CAC/CAM.

It was then that the Aggies fortunes turned sour, because from 1949 until 1973, the Cowboys ruled the War, winning 21 of the 25 gams during that time, which oversaw the change of Colorado A&M to Colorado State University and the adoption of the Ram as the mascot in 1957. That stretch of absolute control included winning streaks of 10 games and seven games. Those winning streaks were separated by a single win for the Rams, a gigantic upset, where the unranked Rams beat the #10 Cowboys 12-10 in Fort Collins.

The Bronze Boot on display at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyo., in 2007. Picture courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The Bronze Boot on display at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyo., in 2007. Picture courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

In the midst of Wyoming’s seven-game win streak, the ROTC detachments from both schools came together and CSU Army ROTC cadre member, Maj. Vic Fernandez, came up with an idea for a trophy that could be taken home by the winner of each year’s game. The trophy that Fernandez came up with, and that was later accepted, is a size eight parachute jump boot, set in bronze and put on a walnut base, that was worn in Vietnam during a tour in 1966-67 by Capt. Dan. J Romero, who served as a ROTC instructor at CSU. The trophy was first awarded in 1968 to the Cowboys, who beat the Rams 46-14 in Fort Collins. The trophy has come to be known as “The Bronze Boot.”

Since the institution of the Bronze Boot, the rivalry has been much more balanced. The Cowboys finished that seven-game win streak in 1974, and since then, neither school has had a winning streak of more than four games (CSU: 1999-2002, Wyoming: 2009-present), although Wyoming has a chance to change that this weekend.

This rivalry also has one of the more unique traditions in all of college sports. Each year, the Friday before each game, the ROTC detachment from the visiting school runs from their stadium to the Colorado-Wyoming border, and hands off the game ball to the ROTC detachment of the home school, who then runs it back to their stadium. And this is no small jog. The Colorado-Wyoming border rests 39 miles from Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium, Colorado State’s home stadium, and 26 miles from War Memorial Stadium, Wyoming’s home stadium.

Now, it can be said that this rivalry is forgotten by most of the country because in most years, Colorado State and Wyoming are just, frankly, not very good. But, when the two teams meet on the gridiron each fall, the atmosphere is electric, regardless of the records of the two teams. None of that matters. All that matters to the players is getting their hands on the Bronze Boot so that it stays in Fort Collins or Laramie for the next 12 months.

Colorado State and Wyoming will meet on the gridiron for the 105th time this Saturday. The game is sure to be intense, and hopefully will spark a resurgence in the rivalry that will ensure that it will never be forgotten.

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