The Arizona St. Sun Devils and Arizona Wildcats will square off in this year's edition of the Duel in the Dessert on Saturday in Tempe. The rivalry, which draws its roots from the very first encounter between the two teams back in 1899, pits the two Arizona schools against one another in a heated competition that draws the attention of the entire state.
Sun Devils head coach Dennis Erickson provided his thoughts on the ASU-U of A rivalry, courtesy of FS Arizona:
"This is as big [a rivalry] as any I've ever been around. In this state you're either a Sun Devil or a Wildcat. Those kinds of rivalries, when you have to live with for a year, that's what makes it so big."
Over the last five encounters, ASU has recorded a 3-2 edge, including a dramatic 30-29 victory in double overtime last year. The Sun Devils look to win this year's contest in order to better their chances in the Pac-12 South race, while the Wildcats hope to play spoiler against their longtime rival.
More so than conference implications, however, players on both sides will play for school pride. Perhaps quarterback Brock Osweiler did the best job in summing up the game's atmosphere and the mentality of players leading up to Saturday's game:
"This is why you sign up to play college football. It's games like this that can really kind of make or break a year.