NCAA asks fans to pick best college wrestling team in history

Which college wrestling team can claim the honor of being the best in the 85-year history of the NCAA Wrestling Championships?

Where does the 1983 Iowa team rank?>
The NCAA wants to know ... and is asking fans to weigh in on their choice for "best ever" from a list of fifteen teams compiled by the organization and posted at its website .

Each day this week the NCAA will post three of the fifteen nominees on its Twitter account, ending on Friday, Feb. 26. Fans can make their pick retweeting the posts from @NCAAWrestling. The team with the highest number of retweets by Monday, Feb. 29 at noon Eastern will earn the title of best team in history.

Here are the teams in the running, as selected by the NCAA:

  • 1941 Oklahoma State Cowboys: Headed up by newly hired Art Griffith, the Cowboys had four individual champs, five finalists, and seven All-Americans
  • 1947 Cornell College Rams: The smallest college to ever win an NCAA team title, the Cornell of Iowa "Dream Team of '47" could claim two individual champs, three finalists, and six All-Americans under coach Paul Scott
  • 1950 Northern Iowa Panthers: The Cedar Falls school had three NCAA titlewinners, five finalists, and seven All-Americans under the tutelage of Dave McCuskey
  • 1957 Oklahoma Sooners: Coached by Port Robertson, two Sooners won individual titles (one being Dan Hodge), with seven All-Americans
  • 1965 Iowa State Cyclones: Harold Nichols guided the Cyclones to two individual NCAA titles and nine All-American honors.
  • 1966 Oklahoma State Cowboys: With Myron Roderick at the reins, the Cowboys claimed three individual titles and eight All-Americans.
  • 1967 Michigan State Spartans: Coach Grady Peninger's team could claim 2 NCAA champions out of four finalists, and seven All-Americans
  • 1969 Iowa State Cyclones: Of the program's four finalists, three left with NCAA titles (one being Dan Gable) and nine All-Americans
  • 1983 Iowa Hawkeyes: Dan Gable guided his squad to four NCAA individual championships (out of five finalists), with nine All-Americans
  • 1986 Iowa Hawkeyes: An NCAA record-tying five individual champs (out of six finalists, with eight All-Americans
  • 1987 Iowa State Cyclones: Coach Jim Gibbons' squad had six All-Americans, five finalists, and four individual titlewinners
  • 1997 Iowa Hawkeyes: A NCAA record-tying five champs (out of six finalists) and eight All-Americans
  • 2001 Minnesota Gophers: With J Robinson as head coach, the Gophers earned the distinction of being the only team in NCAA Division I to go ten-for-ten in All-Americans ... without any finalists.
  • 2005 Oklahoma State Cowboys: John Smith's Cowboys had a NCAA record-tying five Division I champions and seven All-Americans
  • 2012 Penn State Nittany Lions: Coached by Cael Sanderson, the Lions had six All-Americans, five in the finals, and three who won individual titles

    The NCAA has asked for fan input to select "all-time greats" at least a couple other times. For the 75th Anniversary of the NCAA Wrestling Championships in 2005, the organization asked fans to name the fifteen all-time greatest college wrestlers in three broad weight classes. Just one year ago, the NCAA wanted fans to pick "the most epic" finals match from a list of eight title matches.
  • Comments

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    spencerszewczyk (1) about 7 years ago
    2012 PSU team had three wrestlers who went undefeated that year. Pretty sure that is the only time that's happened in NCAA history.
    doubledj (1) about 7 years ago
    That 83 Hawks team was insane.. It looks like they combined for 19 All-American finishes, 14 NCAA titles, 2 Olympic Gold Medals and 1 Olympic Silver Medal.
    rd149 (1) about 7 years ago
    1992 Iowa Hawkeyes get my vote..I don't see a team on this list that could defeat them in a dual. There only non AA was Returning champ Reiland
    LoneWolf (1) about 7 years ago
    The title of best team depends on whether you're talking about a tournament or dual meet team. I disregard the teams before 1970 and of the others, ALL of them listed except Okie State got beat in a dual meet that year!!! So none of them were unbeatable.
    The Minnesota and Penn State teams are the weakest of these from the past 40 years. Minnesota didn't even have a finalist. Having 10 AA's just means you have no weak spots in your lineup. But they weren't great at any weight. And while Penn State may have had 3 undefeated wrestlers, they lost at EVERY OTHER WEIGHT when they faced MN that year. Going 3-7 isn't overly impressive if you want to be an all-time great. And I don't want to demean Molinaro, but I will. Metcalf and Dake mopped up the mat with him the prior years. 149 was a terrible weight class in 2012.

    The '83 Iowa team is what made me love wrestling as a kid. This story didn't mention it, but they also had 9 Big Ten champions that year! And Rico was just a freshman who later went on to win an NCAA title. They were loaded.

    I would have said the '86 Hawks. They won the NCAA title by a margin of 73.25 points with their 5 champs and 6 finalists. But they lost a dual to Iowa State (notice the '87 Cyclones are also considered one of the best ever) that year.

    So I would vote for a team not listed - the '92 Iowa team. They set NCAA records for the largest average margin of victory - 36.9 points per dual and points per dual - 41.3. They crushed Iowa State and Penn State that year. They had 9 guys finish 5th or better at NCAAs. The only guy who wasn't an AA was a returning champion, Mark Reiland. And between Steiner and the Brands brothers, they lost a combined 1 match that year. Not 3 undefeated wrestlers, but 2 and also a 3-time NCAA champ. And both Brands' later became world champions. That's the best in my book.