The Arizona Wildcats finished 23rd in the all-sport ranking of athletic departments, their third consecutive year in the Top 25.
UA, however, trailed Arizona State for the first time since the 2009-10 school year; the Sun Devils were 18th in the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup, which could signal a debate for which school really won the head-to-head competition in the Territorial Cup Series.
Arizona already claimed victory, pulling out the baseball series in May for an overall head-to-head record of 9.5 to 8.5.
ASU lists the competition tied at 9.5, counting a victory in men’s indoor track and field — which is a sport that was not included in the three previous seasons of the Territorial Cup Series. Arizona does not officially sponsor men’s indoor track and field as a sport, although it does send some qualified individuals to the regional and national competitions.
If you go by ASU’s scorekeeping, the tiebreaker is then the better finish in the Director’s Cup, which tilts the series to the Devils.
In any case, don’t expect Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne to be sending the trophy — which has resided in Tucson for the three previous seasons of its existence — up Interstate 10.
There is no third party to settle the argument. The series, previously sponsored by State Farm, did not have a sponsor this year.
Stanford won its 19th consecutive Directors’ Cup — which is to say all of them except the first one (when the Cardinal finished second to North Carolina). The competition has been around since the 1993-94 school year.
Florida was second this season, followed by UCLA, which wrapped up the college sports calendar with a victory in the College World Series.
Arizona was seventh among Pac-12 schools, also trailing USC (14th), Oregon (15th), Cal (17th) and ASU.
UA has finished better than Arizona State 14 times in the 20 seasons of the Directors’ Cup, including the first nine. Since then, the Devils have a 6-5 edge.
The Directors’ Cup standings includes the top finishes in the NCAA postseason for a department’s top 10 men’s and top 10 women’s programs. One hundred points are awarded for an NCAA title, with a minimum of five points given to an NCAA appearance, depending on the size of the bracket. For football, points are awarded based on the final USA Today Top 25 poll and bowl game results.