Territorial Cup Returns To The Big Game

Aug. 31, 2001

TEMPE, Ariz. - The storied football rivalry between Arizona State University and the University of Arizona has been given new life with the recognition of a very old trophy. This summer, officials from both universities and the NCAA proudly announced that Arizona State and Arizona will resume competition for the Territorial Cup, which has been named the oldest intercollegiate rivalry trophy in America.

Dating back to Thanksgiving Day, 1899, when ASU (then known as Arizona Territorial Normal School) defeated Arizona 11-2 in front of a reported attendance of 300 fans, the Territorial Cup outdates even the Little Brown Jug, which has been awarded to the winner of the Michigan-Minnesota match-up since 1909.

Beginning with this season's Big Game game, November 23, at Sun Devil Stadium, the Territorial Cup will be reintroduced to the proceedings of the ASU-Arizona rivalry. Following each meeting, the winning team will be presented with a replica of the Territorial Cup in a post-game ceremony. That replica will then be displayed in the president's office at the school of the winning institution for the remainder of the year.

Meanwhile, to ensure the safety of the original trophy, the actual Territorial Cup will be moved only via police escort under the supervision of university archivists, to be displayed in the Hall of Fame of the winning school.

Not forgotten will be the two other awards that have marked the Big Game: the Ben Goo Trophy and the Saguaro Trophy. The Ben Goo -- named after the artist who designed it -- went to the victorious team of the Big Game from 1979-1998, but will now be given in honor of the game's most valuable player. The Saguaro, will now be handed to the game's winning coach, who may display the trophy in his office for the following year, as has been the practice since 1997.

'We are very pleased to reintroduce the original trophy to the Arizona State-Arizona rivalry,' said Gene Smith, Sun Devil Director of Athletics. 'This rivalry deserves a trophy rich in tradition, legend and lore. We are honored to have the oldest rivalry trophy in existence in college football.'

Said Arizona Athletic Director Jim Livengood, 'Arizona is fortunate to have one of the greatest in-state football rivalries in the nation and it's fitting that the two schools have rediscovered the early roots of that tradition. Heritage is an important part of intercollegiate athletics and the Territorial Cup will be a great feature of the ASU-Arizona rivalry.'

The history of the Territorial Cup trophy has not been without event. After being awarded to ASU in the original 1899 meeting, the history of the cup is virtually unknown until roughly 1970 when it was housed in Mariposa Hall on the ASU campus. In the early 1980s, the cup was transferred to University Archives where it remained on display until 1992 when the archival exhibits were remodeled. The trophy was then considered lost for some time, before being discovered in the basement of a Tempe area church that was being demolished. Since that time, the cup has been on display at ASU's Hayden Library.

Manufactured by Reed and Barton of Taunton, Mass., the Territorial Cup is silverplate over britannia base metal. It was a standard trophy style priced at $20 in Reed and Barton's 1910 catalog. The inscription on the trophy reads 'Arizona Foot Ball League 1899 Normal.'

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