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The Frenzy in the Front Row


The sideline is a narrow stretch of grass, or what used to be grass, trampled brown by cleated shoes and littered with torn tape, buckets, dirty towels, tables, phone wires, first-aid kits, helmets, play diagrams—all the flotsam of big-time football. It is the worst place from which to follow a game. "I love a goal-line stand," Michigan State Coach Duffy Daugherty has said. "I wish they'd move them to the 50-yard line so I could see one someday." It is the best place, however, to observe the drama of the sport, for what happens there is a magnified reflection of what is taking place on the field. The sideline is like a stage, a setting for displays of many emotions—of happiness, anger, exultation, pain, fear, hope and sometimes hopelessness. And, therefore, as these scenes from the 1967 season show, it is a place the fan should watch. Then he, too, can share...

Having just heard that top-ranked USC has lost, UCLA Coach Tommy Prothro addresses the Bruin rooting section, which is shouting, "We're No. 1." Below, Georgia players react traditionally to a touchdown in 30-0 rout of Mississippi State.

The edge of the field is the hardest place of all to teach the game or to learn it. At left, a share of the Big Ten title is at stake as Minnesota Assistant Coach Mike McGee punches home a point to the offense. Below, another conference championship is at issue as intent Ralph Smith of Texas A&M gets word from on high as to how to beat Texas and, bottom, a Purdue coach studies an Oregon State formation on film.

In part a field hospital, the bench offers a chance to repair both body and spirit. At right, Texas A&M Tailback Wendell Housley gulps oxygen and Purdue Quarterback Mike Phipps, fighting in a losing cause against Oregon State, has tape protecting an earlier injury removed on the chance that this will improve his mobility.

Crisis can manifest itself in many ways. The ice bag around the ankle at right testifies to the most celebrated injury of a season, the misstep that took USCs O. J. Simpson out of a game and endangered 1967's No. 1 team. Below, Colorado Linebacker Rocky Martin is a portrait of exhaustion as his team loses to Oklahoma.

Just as in the stands, joy, worry and sorrow are commonplace emotions around the bench. Below, a young Texas rooter joins players in the hope that A&M can be beaten, while UCLA's Bill Bolden gets backing from his mother, who rushed to the field when he was knocked wobbly by Washington. Finally, at right, the game is over but the sideline drama lingers on in the person of a sad Colorado cheerleader.