The in-state rivalry game has both Todd Graham and Rich Rodriguez narrowing their team's focus on the task at hand.
When the Arizona St. Sun Devils visit the Arizona Wildcats on Friday, there will be a lot on the line. Regional bragging rights, pride, record, bowl game placement, all the things that come with a late-season rivalry game, and both coaches understand this. So what they've focused on during their preparation is making sure that their players understand that as well.
"There's going to be a lot of intensity. This shouldn't be a game where I have to do all of the motivational tactics to get guys excited. It's a rivalry game, an in-state game and a conference game. Everything is in place. This should be easy to motivate."
A win by the Wildcats puts them in position to either tie or take outright the second place spot in the Pac-12 South from the USC Trojans whom the Wildcats famously upset earlier in the season. A win by Arizona State puts the Sun Devils squarely in third place and moves the Wildcats down to fourth while matching the Wildcats' overall record in the process. A lot can change depending on who wins this game.
Similar sentiments are shared by Arizona St. coach Todd Graham:
"What I tell my players is, you are not going to remember what some person said to you hanging over the rail, you're not going to remember who had the best tweets or who talked the most trash, you are going to remember who won the game. That is one of the things that is always a challenge when going on the road, especially in a rivalry game."
Both teams have something to prove and both would love to end their regular season schedules with a victory over their heated rivals and both coaches know what's at stake.