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ASU Best Teams: No. 1 1996-97 Football vs. No. 5 1962-63 MBB

Leave on the grass or the court?

Photos by Sun Devil Athletics

We continue our best teams from ASU ever this summer with our next matchup. No. 6 1970-71 Football beat No. 2 1977 Baseball in our last matchup. Now it’s No. 1 1996-97 Football vs. No. 5 1962-63 MBB.

Here’s the current bracket:

No. 1 1996-97 Football

Record: 11-1, PAC-10 Champions Finished 4th in AP Poll

Head coach: Bruce Synder

Notable players: Jake Plummer, Pat Tillman, Keith Poole

The rundown: The season that brought a lot of joy till the end. The Sun Devils behind Jake Plummer, who finished third in the Heisman voting, rolled through the regular season 11-0. With the flashiest win of the season during Week 3 with a 19-0 victory over at the time first-ranked Nebraska. Besides the season opener against Washington and a trip to UCLA, every ASU win was decided by two possessions. As the No. 2 in the country ASU faced Ohio State in the Rose Bowl, the Sun Devils were in position to secure a possible national championship with No. 1 Florida State falling to No. 3 Florida, but a Buckeye touchdown with 20 seconds left sent ASU to its lone defeat of the season.

No. 5 1962-63 MBB

Record: 26-3, Reached Elite Eight

Head coach: Ned Wulk

Notable players: Jumpin Joe Caldwell, Art Becker

The rundown: Led by Joe Caldwell, the 1964 NBA Draft second overall pick, ASU reached its second Elite Eight in a three year span. The Sun Devils only lost three times that season and had two winning streaks over ten. In the NCAA tournament, Ned Wulk’s team beat Utah State in double overtime and then John Wooden’s UCLA to meet Oregon State in the Elite Eight. ASU fell to the Beavers, but the 26 wins are still the most in program history.

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