In the 50 days leading up to Arizona’s season-opener against Toledo, on Sept. 1 at Arizona Stadium, TucsonCitizen.com and its affiliate WildAboutAZCats.net will rank the Top 50 games in the history of the football program. The ranking is at No. 18 as the kickoff to the Wildcats’ season — and the start of the Rich Rodriguez era — is only 18 days away.
SCORE: ASU Sun Devils 30, Arizona Wildcats 7
DATE: Nov. 30, 1968
SITE: Arizona Stadium, 41,350 in attendance
WHY IT MADE THE LIST: The “Ultimatum Bowl” as it became to be known is the game that ignited the idea of the Fiesta Bowl and, as a result, produced future national championship football games in Phoenix. ASU (7-2) and Arizona (8-1) were about to meet in the Territorial Cup game. The Wildcats were coming off a significant 14-7 victory over No. 20 Wyoming the week before.
Officials of the Sun Bowl intended to invite the winner of the ASU-UA game to the El Paso bowl game. Instead, UA coach Darrell Mudra issued his famous ultimatum: Take us now or don’t take us at all and we’ll shop for other bowls. The Sun Bowl officials buckled to his demand and offered Arizona its 1968 invitation before the motivated Sun Devils routed the Wildcats 30-7 in Tucson.
The Ultimatum Bowl led to the successful Fiesta Bowl because Phoenix officials wanted to create their own bowl game to avoid what happened to the Sun Devils in 1968. The Fiesta Bowl began in 1971. ASU played in four of the first five games (winning four). By then, the Fiesta Bowl had been established nationally and financially. Arizona played Auburn in the 1968 Sun Bowl and lost 34-10.