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Original Issue


A rich table featuring the best of college football is set for January 2. But the nation's televiewers will have a problem: which game to tune in on?

The day after New Year's the football fan will have a chance to pull his favorite chair in front of the television set, relax his aching head and entertain himself with that annual American parlor game known as channel roulette. With four bowl games—Rose, Orange, Sugar and Cotton—on television, the dial twisters will have the maddening choice of watching one game at a time or of changing channels and catching kaleidoscopic fragments of all the games. But even in little bits and pieces the football should be first-rate. All the teams except Rice are ranked among the top 10 in the country, and the bowl-game promoters have done a fine job of matching teams of varying styles. Rose Bowl viewers can watch Minnesota, the No. 1 team in the country, pit its power against the quickness and agility of sixth-ranked Washington, last season's surprising Rose Bowl winner. In the Orange Bowl, Navy's superstar Joe Bellino faces a final test from Missouri's strong defense, headed by All-America Danny LaRose at right end. The Sugar Bowl presents unbeaten Mississippi, led by the country's surest passing quarterback, Jake Gibbs, against the heavy-slogging Rice attack. And in the Cotton Bowl it will be Arkansas, the best team in the Southwest Conference, against Duke, the best team in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The viewer, if he so desires, can warm up for the big day by watching the Gator Bowl game on December 31—the prehangover bowl, so to speak. In that one, Baylor, with its go-for-broke pro football offense featuring the three Ronnies—Bull, Stanley and Goodwin—will tangle with Florida's tight-fisted defense. These televised games should present the football fan with enough entertainment to drive a good wife crazy. On pages 59-62, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED analyzes the squads and predicts the winners of the four games set for January 2.