I don't know about you, but if my college football archrival scored 24 points in the fourth quarter to upset me on my home turf, I'd want some revenge. And apparently in Tucson, revenge is a dish that is best served with a nice fat cigar, a ten-gallon hat and some fine rattlesnake-skin boots.
Or at least that's what I drew from the Arizona Wildcats' infamous "Hard Edge" promo campaign. I would have asked for some clarification but the Wildcats disabled the comment section on their YouTube videos (because even cowboys are sensitive to cyber-bullying).
Even if you don't have the sweet wild west digs to back up your retribution, the power of revenge can be a prevailing factor in any situation. If you don't believe me, just take a look at history.
'The Count of Monte Cristo' was based on a man named Pierre Picaud who was wrongfully imprisoned, somehow got rich and then got back at those who screwed him over by destroying everything they ever loved. Boom. Roasted. In the 90s, Lorena Bobbitt chopped off her husband's schmeckel to get back at him for years of domestic abuse. I'd say she won that round. And hello, have you seen 'Taken'!?! Everyone and their mother knows that's totally based on Liam Neeson's real life. And you better believe Qui-Gon Jinn/Oskar Schindler would be electrocuting Sparky in a damp basement somewhere after the 2012 Territorial Cup if he had any affiliation with the Arizona Wildcats.
Lately, revenge has played a big factor in the Territorial Cup as well. Ever since Kyle Williams blew it in 2009, the Devils and Wildcats have been exchanging retaliation blows. After all, there's no better way to make up for the embarrassment of losing your biggest game in front of your home crowd than to make the team responsible feel the same sting the following year.
This year, the stakes are even higher. Could you imagine what preventing an opportunity for Arizona State to host its first ever Pac-12 Championship would mean to the Wildcats? They could lose the next four Territorial Cups and Arizona fans would still be able to use the "yeah, but 2013, bro!" line and have it cut straight to an ASU fan's maroon and gold core.
Make no doubt about it: this is the Wildcats' Super Bowl. It's certainly important to Arizona State but in the grand scheme of things, it's the game before the game before the Sun Devils' potential Super Bowl. Obviously you want to take it one snap at a time and we all know the Territorial Cup is the Holy Grail. Yet it's hard to have the same hunger when you're given the comfort of knowing you still have a shot to smell the roses regardless of what happens.
And when the Wildcats aren't busy playing dress up, they're capable of slaying giants.
All cynicism aside, I must admit it sent shivers down my spine to see Arizona handle the similarly fast-paced, spread-em-out Ducks with such ease last weekend. If Arizona takes the field with the same passion and intensity this Saturday, how can an Arizona State team minus Marion the Barbarian: Slayer of Wildcats expect to do what Oregon couldn't? (Real talk: How much would you guys donate if House of Sparky began a Kickstarter to create a film called "Marion the Barbarian: Slayer of Wildcats?")
I guess in the end, this year is no different; I'm always afraid of what could happen in the Territorial Cup because in a rivalry as such, the rules of logic don't apply. But there's got to be a reason for my reoccurring nightmares of Wilbur calling me up and delivering the "I have a very particular set of skills" monologue. And Saturday could be when Arizona State finally gets that ominous roundhouse kick to the face.
The Cynical Sun Devil's Worst Case Scenario: Marion Grice attempts to play through his injury but on his third carry, Grice's leg is literally separated from his body. In a repeat of last week's No. 1 play, Shaquille Richardson proceeds to tip Grice's leg back in bounds to Scooby Wright, who then spikes it into the turf for no apparent reason. The referees are so in awe that no unsportsmanlike conduct penalty is called, adding insult to the already lethal injury...Arizona's fine medical staff then decides to conduct an experimental surgery to attach Grice's leg to Ka'Deem Carey's lower body. With a unparalleled cutting ability thanks to his extra limb, mutant Carey rattles off new career-highs of 63 carries for 341 yards and five touchdowns...After earning a dramatic 61-58 triple overtime victory, Rich Rodriguez strips himself of his UA gear to reveal he's been wearing his cowboy outfit from the "Hard Edge" video underneath all along. During the ceremonial post-game hand shake, Rodriguez whispers "I like the way you die, boy" in Todd Graham's ear, instantly validating the coolness of all those lame promotional videos.