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ASU Best Teams: No. 1 1981 Baseball vs. No. 1 1996-97 Football

Who will be the first team into the title matchup?

Photos by Sun Devil Athletics and Rick Stewart / Allsport

We continue our best teams from ASU ever this summer with our next matchup. No. 1 1965 Baseball beat No. 7 1978 Baseball in our last matchup. Now it’s No. 1 1981 Baseball vs. No. 1 1996-97 Football.

Here’s the current bracket:

No. 1 1981 Baseball

Record: 55-13 (26-4 Pac-12) Won College World Series

Head coach: Jim Brock

Notable players: Alvin Davis, Stan Holmes, Mike Sodders

The rundown: The last ASU team to win the College World Series. After winning the conference in dominant fashion, Jim Brock’s team set sail for Omaha. There they lifted the trophy at Rosenblatt Stadium after wins over Texas, Oklahoma State, Mississippi State and South Carolina. The team had eight MLB draftees on the roster including first rounder and 1981 Baseball America Player of the Year Mike Sodders.

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.

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