The Sun Devils tradition began when the first football team was organized in 1896 with Tempe Normals playing local high schools and colleges. In 1925 the Bulldogs had their first out-of-state game against the Texas School of Mines. The team won its first Border Conference Championship in 1931. A new stadium named in honor of Garfield Goodwin opened in 1936 with a seating capacity of 4000. The team worked its way toward their first Sun Bowl invitation and victory at El Paso in 1940.
Following World War II, the team was renamed the Arizona State College Sun Devils by a student vote in 1946. With support from the Sun Angel Foundation, founded in 1946, the team began its climb to notoriety by playing in two Phoenix Salad Bowls, benefit games for underprivileged children, in 1950 and 1951. To support a growing interest in ASU football, Sun Devil Stadium was opened in 1958 with a seating capacity of 42,000 people.
During the 1960's the Sun Devils dominated the Western Athletic Conference, ending the decade with a 1970 Peach Bowl victory in Atlanta. The Sun Devils' success continued through the 1970s, earning invitations to seven Fiesta Bowls and culminating with their move to the Pacific Athletic Conference (Pac-10) in 1978. Arizona State's greatest gridiron triumph, since beating the University of Arizona in their first game in 1899, was their 1987 Rose Bowl victory over the University of Michigan. The Devils are still the only Arizona team to earn a Rose Bowl invitation. Since 1940 the Maroon and Gold have competed in 17 bowl games with a record of 10-6-1.
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