War is about to break out in Tucson, and our staff lays out their predictions as to who will take home the Cup
Kickoff is just a few hours away, Sun Devil Nation. Get ready to take back the Cup.
As such, we give you our final game predictions for this crucial Duel in the Desert battle between Arizona State and that school that should not be named.
Staff Prediction Overview
Brad Denny: ASU wins 41-38
There will be blood. There will be yards. There will be points. This Friday should see a fiercely contested battle, with each team looking to draw first blood for their new head coach in this latest chapter of the rivalry. Given how the match-ups lay out, this game could easily see over 1,000 yards of total offense and plenty of big plays. In the end, however, ASU's ability to make plays on defense, even if it's just one key sack or interception late in the game, should be the difference in a narrow Sun Devil win. Game MVP: D.J. Foster
Ryan Bafalouskos: Arizona wins 42-38
As much as I want to pick Arizona State, and as much as I would like the Territorial Cup come back to Tempe, I have to go with the Wildcats. I believe the Wildcats are the better team, they have the nation's leading rusher, a quarterback with over 3,000 yards passing and a wide receiver with over 1,000 yards receiving. The Sun Devils have not beaten an FBS team with a winning record this season. The FBS opponents that ASU has beaten have a combined record of 12-44 and ASU has gotten outscored by 55 points against teams with winning records (0-4 in those games). In the end I think this is a very close game but the Wildcats win the game in the fourth quarter. Game MVP: Ka'Deem Carey
Cory Williams: ASU wins 37-31
We've seen in recent years that when it comes to the Territorial Cup, all bets are off. Regardless of how good each team has played throughout the season, the bright lights and epic pressure of the rivalry game minimize the differences between the squads. This year will be just the same, and ASU will head into Tucson and take back the Territorial Cup to Tempe after a 37-31 win. Taylor Kelly will keep up the positive momentum from last week's 46-7 victory over Wazzu and put together a solid performance, throwing for over 300 yards. Cameron Marshall runs for 90 in his final regular season game, and ASU prepares to head to the New Mexico Bowl with the Territorial Cup safe at home. Game MVP: Taylor Kelly
Kerry Crowley: ASU wins 42-35 (OT)
If this game were played four weeks ago, I would have given the nod to the Wildcats. Arizona looked like they were clicking on offense and Ka'Deem Carey is thriving in Coach Rich Rodriguez's scheme. Suddenly, Matt Scott suffers a concussion and Arizona looks vulnerable. Meanwhile, the Sun Devils know they have run the gauntlet in the Pac-12 already. As tough as it was against teams like Oregon and UCLA, they understood that the road would get easier. Now that bowl-eligibility is out of the way, the Sun Devils can play for fun and focus all of their energy on ruining the "red out" in Tucson. After a 46-7 shellacking of Washington State, the Sun Devils have rebuilt their confidence on offense and defense and they will give the Wildcats everything they can handle. The road team has won the last three Territorial Cups, and I expect that trend to continue in thrilling fashion. Game MVP: Brandon Magee
Nick Marek: ASU wins 34-31
Boys, I have a good feeling about this weekend. I think this is the time for ASU to rise above UA and get some revenge after losing last season. Regardless of the outcome, I would bet my weekly paycheck that the winner will win by less than ten points because both teams match up very well. There is no future implications of the duel in the desert except for pride and head coach Todd Graham deserves one "big" victory to close out the season and put the Sun Devils and Wildcats both at 7-5. This game is going to controlled predominently on the ground with ASU's backs and Ka'Deem Carey. In the last three games, UA has turned the ball over six times. In that same span, the maroon and gold caused 9 turnovers. Ball control. Time of possession. Rushing game. Those three factors should be the most important this weekend. ASU returns to Tempe with a 7-5 record after another overtime victory. Game MVP: D.J. Foster
Ben Haber: ASU wins 45-38
ASU versue U of A is one of the best low-key rivalries; both teams truly hate each other. Heading into Tucson, the squads matchup pretty evenly on paper. The Wildcats are tough to evaluate, showcasing similar inconsistency as the Devils. Arizona signal caller Matt Scott looked flawless early on, yet has been struggling since suffering a concussion against USC. ASU's main priority will be slowing down running back Ka'Deem Carey, who's putting up Heisman type numbers. Overall, these Arizona schools can heat up scoreboards. The main difference comes via defense; ASU's unit outclasses U of A's. Like every cross-town battle, it will probably be a one-possession game. I believe the Devi's play makers on D lead by Will Sutton can disrupt head coach Rich Rodriguez's high tempo offensive flow. Game MVP: Taylor Kelly
Cody Ulm: ASU wins
While Ryan brings up some very good points that worry me, I still can't help but think that this Friday will go the Devils' way. The Wildcats defense is about as solid as a wet paper towel and I have no doubt that ASU is going to be able to get their's on the ground. And once the run game gets rolling, Taylor Kelly will have a field day in Tucson. Yes, Ka'Deem Carey is probably going to go bananas with the lanes Arizona State has been giving up lately but I doubt that will be enough. The normally steady Matt Scott has never seen anything quite like the Devils' pass rush and for that reason, I see him helping ASU win the turnover battle. I'd be pretty shocked if Arizona State turns it over more than two times and once they get a lead, they should be able to control the time of possession effectively.
Game MVP: D.J. Foster