Keeping the Cup: Graham, Rodriguez Understand Importance

They certainly don’t have to be reminded but frequently are.

It comes with the territory…no pun intended.

Rich Rodriguez and Todd Graham knew from the day each was hired around three years ago the Territorial Cup was of utmost importance to each fan base. They heard it over and over.

While both agree winning the Cup is vitally important they differ at bit on just how much.

“Those that say if you only win one game but you beat ASU it’d be a good year,” Rodriguez explained. “I don’t believe that.”

Graham’s stance differs a bit.

“You can win 11 games and be 11-0 and lose this one and have an unsuccessful season,” Graham said after the Sun Devils’ Senior Day win over Washington State Saturday. “That’s exactly how we approach it…you can go in there and look in my staff room, starred on the [board]. It’s the most important game of the year.”

The showdown, the first since 1986 where both teams are nationally ranked entering the contest, has Pac-12 South implications. The winner will advance to next week’s Pac-12 Championship in Santa Clara if Stanford upsets UCLA at the Rose Bowl. Each game will be played at the exact same time. Rodriguez said earlier this week no in-stadium updates will be shown on the in-stadium scoreboard.

To this point Graham has a two-nothing series edge over his Tucson counterpart.

Friday at 1:30 Rodriguez and the  Wildcats will look to return the favor at Arizona Stadium.

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