With the incredibly successful season that the Red Raiders baseball team had this season, the comparisons to other teams in Tech history have inevitably begun. However, any time you try and compare things that are too different, such as the 1953 football team versus the 2008 team, it can be rather difficult to say which was a better team. There have been a few truly GREAT teams in our history, but which one is really the greatest? For this articles purpose, we will only look at the big 3 men sports, baseball, football, and basketball. This is not intended to diminish what the 1993 Lady Raiders accomplished, or what Tom Stone has done in soccer, but just to limit the discussion of this article.
1953 Red Raiders Football
The 1953 Red Raiders went 11-1, finishing 1st in the Border Conference, going 5-0 in conference, with the only loss of the season against A&M at The Jones. The big moment of the season was a 35-13 win over #16 Auburn at the Gator Bowl. This was the 1954 Gator Bowl when our Masked Rider first made an appearance. The team would finish the season ranked 12th in the nation.
1973 Red Raiders Football
The 1973 Red Raiders went 11-1 as well, with a 6-1 record in the SWC. The only loss that season was a 28-12 setback against then #14 Texas in Austin, who would go undefeated in the SWC that year, and was ranked 3rd in the nation coming in that year. The Red Raiders had big road wins over #11 Oklahoma State (20-7) and #19 Arizona (31-17) as well as another Gator Bowl victory, this time over #20 Tennessee. This team would end the season ranked 11th on the nation.
1995-1998 Red Raiders Baseball
The Larry Hays-led teams of these 4 years were consistently great, leading the pack in the last two years of the SWC and the first two of the Big 12. The 1995 team won over 50 games, winning the SWC regular season and postseason tournament. The 1996 team was 2nd in the last year of the SWC, winning 49 games. In the first year of the Big 12, the 1997 team won the regular season title, and the 1998 team won the conference tournament. These 4 teams would be the first 4 of 8 straight season advancing to a regional, but none made it past that stage.
2005 Red Raiders Basketball
The 2005 Red Raiders Basketball team was the most recent team to make it to the Sweet 16 in the Big Dance. A huge home win over #3 Kansas in double OT bumped up their resume to join the field of 64 after having just the 57th best record in the nation and a 4th place finish in the Big 12 standings. The loss to West Virginia still stings as Pittsnogle hit every shot he took that night.
2008 Red Raiders Football
The most recent "great’ team, and the one in most fans memories is the 08 team with the memorable drop by Blake Gideon, and the catch by Crabtree in the win over then #1 Texas. That team was ranked no lower than 12th from preseason until the end of the season, finishing 12th, and spending 3 straight weeks at #2. An embarrassing loss in Norman kept the team from an undefeated regular season, and then a disappointing loss in the Cotton Bowl against Ole Miss left fans wishing and wanting for what could have been that year.
2014 Red Raiders Baseball
The 2014 baseball team was the 1st in Tech history to make the College World Series, after placing 4th in the Big 12. A surprising (to some) regional win in Coral Gables followed by the first ever Super Regional in Lubbock led the team to Omaha for the 1st time in school history.
2016 Red Raiders Baseball
1st in the Big 12, going 19-5 in conference. Obtained a national seed. Hosted and won the regional. Hosted and won the Super Regional. Knocked the #1 team and CWS favorite out of Omaha. Had 10 players drafted. The last season of one of the most iconic and decorated Red Raider athletes. The accolades are still pouring in as Gute was named to a 5th All-American team and Davis Martin was just named a freshman All-American. Is this team the best we have ever had?