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ASU Football Bowl History: 1975 Fiesta Bowl vs. Nebraska

Arizona State's greatest year was in 1975, when they went undefeated and beat the venerable Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Fiesta Bowl.

The Devils cheer!
The Devils cheer!

Merry Christmas Eve to Sun Devil Nation. Today, in honor of the holidays, we look back at one of the finest moments in ASU football history: an undefeated 12-0 season, culminating in a victory over 10-1 Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl.

At the time, the Sun Devils were members of the WAC, which meant they were second-class citizens in the college football landscape. Their recent success had given them much credit among the sportswriters and pundits across the nation, but they can be succinctly described as the Boise State Broncos of the 1970's.

Why is this important? Because no other team in college football went undefeated in 1975. The Sun Devils defeated some decent squads, but were ultimately the victim of their own conference's lack of power teams. Their schedule simply did not stand up to a team like Oklahoma, whose only defeat at the hands of the Kansas Jayhawks was not considered bad enough to award the national championship to a team from the WAC.

This didn't prevent the Sun Devils from making serious waves in college football. Tasked with an ultimate test against a talented Cornhusker team, ASU didn't blink.

Think strength of schedule is a recent argument? Here's a snippet from the AP article.

For years the Arizona State schedule has been criticized as being weak. Friday, second year quarterback Dennis Sproul decided he could handle the Cornhuskers and the result was a convincing 17-14 triumph over the Big Eight co-champions.

"I hope to hell this keeps those people off our butts who have been complaining about our supposedly soft schedule," fumed Coach Frank Kush after his Sun Devils extended their two-year winning streak to 13, longest in the nation by a major college team.

The Devils didn't get shut out of the championship picture entirely, being rewarded for their great effort with the #1 spot in both The Sporting News and the National Championship Foundation's final rankings.

The talent on this team was excellent, with wide receiver John Jefferson, defensive back Mike Haynes and linebacker Larry Gordon, who played seven years for the Miami Dolphins prior to his tragic death at age 28.

Today, we honor one of the greatest Sun Devil teams in history, on the finest day of the year. With just five days to go before the Sun Devils play Navy, the current ASU team could learn a few things from the 1975 team.