Arizona State athletic marketing has asked its fans to Black Out The Ducks at tonight’s Pac-12 Conference showdown, so Oregon fans responded with green. Some of the Duck faithful painted the A facing into Sun Devil Stadium green overnight.
In the week before the Duel in the Desert, the annual Arizona – Arizona State rivalry game, students camp out on their respective A-Mountains in Tempe and Tucson. Painting the Tempe A red, or the Tucson A yellow is a game of oneupsmanship as much part of the rivalry as the football contest. Does Tempe going green against its will signify the arrival of a new Pac-12 rivalry?
There’s been plenty of rhetoric coming from ASU to suggest so. Around the time of the political conventions, Oregon staged a mock press conference announcing mascot The Duck’s candidacy for President of the United States.
Seeing an opportunity to hype its prime time, ESPN broadcast with the Ducks, ASU athletics launched the website Concerned Citizens of the Pac-12. It’s definitely worth your time.
Amplifying this back-and-forth is that the last two contests between these teams have been exciting. The Sun Devils built a sizable lead on Oregon in its last trip to Tempe, nearly ending the Ducks’ BCS championship game run prematurely. Last season, the Sun Devils came in sporting a top 20 ranking but fell apart with turnovers late.
All this rhetoric of Pac-12 North vs. Pac-12 South — a new civil war for Oregon? — would have extra significance had ASU beaten Missouri to be undefeated. As it stands, ASU is still off to an impressive 5-1 start and leads the Pac-12 South. Top 10 teams routinely get Sparky’s best shot when visiting Sun Devil Stadium: the Ducks and Stanford in 2010, LSU in 2005; reigning national champion Nebraska was ASU’s launch pad to a Rose Bowl run in 1996, and last year a celebrated USC team came to Tempe and was completely decleated.
The greening of A-Mountain should only intensify Sun Devil Stadium’s raucous atmosphere for this burgeoning rivalry.