Territorial Cup

Territorial Cup trophy

The tradition of the Territorial Cup goes all the way back to 1899, the year the University of Arizona first fielded a football team. 

But, the Territorial Cup trophy actually belongs to Arizona State University. 

The trophy was awarded to what was then known as the Arizona Territorial Normal School after defeating Phoenix Union High School, Phoenix Indian School and the UA. 

The whereabouts of the trophy were largely unknown for the next 80 years until it was discovered in a church basement in 1980. 

The Territorial Cup trophy wasn’t shared between the two rival universities until 2001. Presidents of both schools signed an agreement that the winner of the annual “Duel in the Desert” football game would take possession of the trophy for the ensuing year. 

The teams usually play the Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving. 

In 2009, the schools began competing in the Territorial Cup Series. It’s a yearlong competition that includes multiple sports. 

Regardless of the Territorial Cup Series results, the winner of the football game still gets to keep the Territorial Cup trophy for the year.