After nine years as coach at the U.S. Naval Academy, George Welsh has moved to Virginia, where he's counting on outstanding Offensive Tackle Dave Sullivan to provide some peace and quiet for the Cavalier quarterbacks. Last year they threw 24 interceptions while the defense picked off only 15. There's hope on defense, too: Safeties Pat Chester and Sean McCall are back after last season's injuries.
Duke's 1980 team was long on brains—its seniors winning the CFA graduation percentage award (21 of 25)—but short on wins, going 2-9 on the field. The '81 Blue Devils were less cerebral but got four more wins. It was the first winning season for Duke in seven years. Moral? Bring on quarterbacks who can pass footballs as well as courses. The returning duo of Ben Bennett and Ron Sally accounted for 2,333 passing yards in 1981.
Look for some flashy offense at Maryland, where Coach Jerry Claiborne (now at Kentucky) was replaced by Bobby Ross, the offensive backfield coach at Kansas City last year. North Carolina State's offense is led by Tailback Joe McIntosh, who rushed for 1,190 yards last season as a freshman.
SPOILER: In 1980 Georgia Tech tied Notre Dame, then No. 1, en route to a 1-9-1 record. In '81 the Yellow Jackets upset No. 2-ranked Alabama 24-21 before losing 10 straight.
Oklahoma State's linebacker, Mike Green, hits hard. How hard? Suffice it to say he once broke his own face mask three times...in practice. Green and Noseguard Gary Lewis are the gristly heart of the unit that ranked No. 9 in the nation in total defense and helped the Cowboys win seven games. Seventeen starters are back overall joined by, among others, Larry Roach, who set an NCAA freshman record for field goals with 19.
Iowa State has six starters returning to its offense, but none of them is named Dwayne Crutch-field. His replacement at tailback is Harold Brown, who ran for 2,100 yards at Joliet (Ill.) Junior College.
BUFFALO BRIEFS: Just after Colorado signed up 15 J.C. players to help do something about its calamitous record of seven wins in three years, first-team Wing-back Walter Stanley was expelled for trying to sell textbooks that he had on loan from the athletic department. Then Defensive End Mark Morgan and Guard Lee Dudick were booted for selling a history exam. After Chuck Fairbanks fled to the USFL in June, one of new Coach Bill McCartney's first acts was to dismiss No. 2 Wingback Kevin Bowman and Safety LaMarr Landrum for allegedly trying to sell a small amount of marijuana.
Two seasons ago rookie Coach Dave Kragthorpe took over an 0-11 Idaho State team and turned the Bengals into a winning (6-5) squad. Last year they won the Division I-AA national championship with a 34-23 victory over Eastern Kentucky. As masterful as Kragthorpe is, Idaho State has lost too much to repeat—including Mike Machurek, I-AA's No. 1 passer with a 60% completion average, who was drafted by the Detroit Lions. Boise State, on the other hand, has 16 starters returning, including 6'5", 225-pound Defensive Tackle Michael Bourgeau. The decisive battle for the Big Sky title figures to be Boise State vs. Idaho State on Nov. 20.
Idaho led I-AA in rushing and total offense and set a single-game record for total yardage (703) against Simon Fraser. (The Vandals won 52-7, one of three times they scored more than 50 points.) The Cincinnati Bengals drafted Russell Davis, who ran for 345 yards against Portland State, but Idaho still has Ken Hobart, the No. 4 passer in I-AA.
AFTER HOURS: Along with the Ohio Valley and Yankee conferences, the Big Sky adopted the tie-breaker last fall, in which each team gets a chance to score from the 15 in four plays. It was resorted to twice, and Weber State was in both games. The Wildcats won (24-23) when Northern Arizona missed a point-after, but lost to Idaho State (33-30) on a field goal.
A warning to Michigan and Ohio State, to Minnesota and Illinois, too. Beware of Wisconsin. The Badgers opened the 1981 season by beating Michigan, ranked No. 1 at the time, for the first time since 1962. They went on to defeat Ohio State for the first time since 1959—and earned themselves a bid to the now defunct Garden State Bowl. Most of the team—including All-America Noseguard Tim Krumrie—is back.
Purdue's hopes rest on Scott Campbell, the nation's No. 6 passer last year (he threw for 2,686 yards and 18 touchdowns), while 1981 Rose Bowl representative Iowa is depending on a punter. The Hawkeyes lost nine defensive starters and the No. 1 and 2 quarterbacks after their first winning season in 20 years. The man they'll be calling on all too often is Reggie Roby, who averaged an NCAA record 49.8 yards a punt. Michigan State is in the midst of a rebuilding program—again. Not helping the Spartans is the fact that their two non-conference games are against Notre Dame and Miami.
AND COUNTING: Northwestern's 31-game losing streak is the longest in college football history. The best chances for a break come early, against Miami of Ohio Sept. 18 and Northern Illinois Sept. 25.
Asked for the most significant statistic of Dartmouth's 1981 season, Coach Joe Yukica replied, "Frank Polsinello's birth date." After No. 1 Quarterback Rick Stafford was hurt, sophomore Polsinello led the Big Green to five wins in six games and a share (with Yale) of the Ivy title.
Dartmouth lost most of its defense, but the Elis lost almost their whole starting team, three of whose members were picked in the NFL draft. One who was not, free-agent Quarterback John Rogan, was in the Jets' camp as of this writing. The draftees are Linebacker Jeff Rohrer (the Cowboys' No. 2 pick). Wide Receiver Curt Grieve (Eagles) and Rich Diana (Dolphins). In all, 18 starters are gone from the Eli team that did in Navy (23-19) and was done in by Princeton (35-31). In New Jersey they still Rave On about Bob Holly's 501 yards passing and four TD passes that day. With Holly no longer Ivy (he's trying out for the Redskins), the Tigers' top player is Offensive Tackle Jon Schultheis, a preacher's son who plays the organ in the Keansburg (N.J.) Pentecostal Church.
CONFUSED IN CAMBRIDGE: One premise behind Harvard Coach Joe Restic's multiflex attack is that constant movement is the best way to disrupt a defense. Last winter the 'flex disrupted Harvard. Twenty-seven Crimson seniors signed a letter to Restic that blamed the 'flex for their 5-4-1 season.
Three years ago, when it was decided that a bowl should be created matching the PCAA and MAC champions, a site was readily available—Fresno State's brand-new Bulldog Stadium—but not a name for the bowl. A contest produced the catchy Never-Going-to-Make-the-Poll Bowl. However, the staid California Bowl won out. Last December's first edition, between Toledo and San Jose State, came down to the final 15 seconds, when the Rockets' Tony Lee made a 41-yard field goal for a 27-25 win.
Both Bowling Green and Miami have most of their starting teams back, but Miami is a star tailback short. Returning to the Falcons is Bryant Jones, who rushed for 1,051 yards. Not returning to the Redskins is Greg Jones (1,134 yards), who graduated. Toledo comes back strong, featuring Tailback Arnold Smiley, who averaged 165 yards rushing in his last four games. At defensive end is Darryl Meadows, who made two interceptions and scored touchdowns on a fumble recovery and a blocked punt.
WHAT, NO B.D.? Freshman Terry Zonker will be trying out for the Toledo varsity, unless, of course, the finals of the George Hamilton Cocoa Butter Open stretch into the season.
Eastern Illinois put together a winning season (just barely, the Panthers were 6-5) and took the conference title last year, despite giving up 49 fumbles and 25 interceptions. Coach Darrell Mudra is confident the Panthers won't be dropping the ball when it comes time to decide this year's title. And Mudra knows how to go about curing a team's ills. In 1959 he took over a 1-9 Adams (Colo.) State, and the team went 8-1 the next year. In 1963 he moved to 0-10 North Dakota State, which won 10 games in his second season. He has also made winners of Arizona (1968), Western Illinois (1969) and his present project, Eastern Illinois. The Panthers were 1-10 in 1977, the season before Mudra arrived. In '78 they went 12-2 and won the Division II title. For his career, Mudra is 146-65-2. EIU's most likely offensive line averages 6'2" and 255 pounds; the defense is anchored by End Keith Wojnowski, a 6'2", 230-pound senior from St. Anne, Ill.
Western Illinois' leading tackier is Linebacker Pat Bayers, nicknamed the Urban Plowboy because he grew up in Chicago but has worked the past few summers on farms. He spent this summer as a supervisor on a corn detasseling crew.
A FEW GOOD MEN: According to Head Coach Pete Rodriguez, WIU is the only university in the world with the nickname Leathernecks.
The day of reckoning for the Rattlers of Florida A & M is Oct. 23 in Orangeburg, S.C., when they meet the Bulldogs of South Carolina State, the defending conference champ. SCS made it to the I-AA playoffs largely on the strength of a stout defense that gave up only 1.7 yards per rush. What's more, sophomore Defensive Back Barney Bussey topped the division in punt returning with an average of 18.2 yards.
But Florida A & M, which went 12-1 as a non-conference team in 1978, had lost to SCS by a single point, 16-15. That was despite Noseguard R.C. Eason's two fumble recoveries and five sacks, one for a safety. A & M was right behind the Bulldogs in rushing defense (2.1 yards a carry) and just a point—a single point again—back in scoring defense. (The Rattlers allowed 10.6 a game, the Bulldogs 9.6.) In all, nine of the Rattlers' defensive starters return. Which defense is more stalwart will determine this year's conference title.
WHITE SHADOW: Two years ago Delaware State lost to Portland State 105-0. The Hornets are improving quickly under Joe Purzycki, who became the first white head coach at a historically black college when he was appointed in 1981. At the time 17 players quit the team, "but now," he says, "I'm accepted just as a football coach." And a bright one...Portland State is no longer on the Hornets' schedule.
Forgive Drake Linebacker Dave Loring for being a bit touchy in last year's Southern Illinois game. After all, the Bulldogs' 7-0 record had been tarnished the week before by Tulsa (59-6). As Southern Illinois lined up for a punt, one of its Saluki mascots (a real dog) got loose from its trainer and ran up to Loring in the huddle. Startled, Loring took a poke at the pup and sent her scampering to the sidelines. Drake went on to win 22-17. Led by Fullback Amero Ware's 1,353 yards rushing, the Bulldogs finished out the year 10-1 and tied with Tulsa for the conference championship.
Tulsa lost two quarterbacks, but Skip Ast, says Coach John Cooper, "is the best leader type we've had here since Dave Rader." Cooper is also bullish about Cornerback Brent Dennis, a business major with a 3.3 grade-point average, who intercepted three passes in 1981.
The best player in the conference may be Wichita State Quarterback Prince McJunkins III. He threw for 1,725 yards and ran for 765 more out of the Shockers' option I in '81.
ONE FLEW OVER: Illinois State Coach Bob Otolski is a devotee of visualization and the power of positive thinking. As a result, Dr. Joseph Tursini, a psychologist from Phoenix, occasionally meets with the Redbirds. Illinois State is, of course, situated in the town of Normal.
For the third year in a row, Eastern Kentucky made it to the Division I-AA national championship game, where last year it lost to Idaho State 34-23. Most of the EKU team returns, including the tailback, Terence Thompson, who ran for 1,237 yards. Tennessee Tech Coach Don Wade says of EKU's stockpile of talent. "The Humane Society should intervene to stop the slaughter!"
Youngstown State counters with 5'8" Tailback Paris Wicks. He picked up 1,363 yards rushing and led I-AA in scoring with 17 touchdowns. The Penguins have 21 of 24 starters back, including their kicking specialist, Paul McFadden, and figure to boot the Colonels out of first place.
For a fast-moving offense, look to Murray State Quarterback (Instant) Winston Ford, so named in high school for producing "instant" touchdowns late in the game. This summer he produced bubble gum—at a Donross factory in Memphis. On defense the Racers feature Cornerback Ronald Hopkins, who blocked two kicks and had four interceptions, and Noseguard Rodney Lofton, who made 14 tackles for losses.
SPEAKING OF D: On Oct. 10, Eastern Kentucky held Middle Tennessee to minus 43 yards rushing, largely owing to nine sacks by EKU. (In college football, unlike the NFL, sacks count against rushing rather than passing yardage.)
While USC, Washington, UCLA and Arizona State tend to command most of the Pac-10 attention, let's not forget last year's Cinderella team. Washington State got its first bowl bid in 51 years, and barely lost in the Holiday Bowl (38-36) to BYU. But graduation decimated the Cougars, and even with Tailback Tim Harris back the Cougs will have difficulty winning more than six games.
Who's really the No. 1 college quarterback? Is it Danny Marino (page 28) of No. 1-ranked Pitt? Or is it John Elway of unranked Stanford? As of the end of the 1981 regular season they had nearly identical career completion averages (59%) and nearly the same career passing yardage (2,615 for Marino and 2,674 for Elway). Marino has thrown more touchdown passes (34 vs. 20), but he has also thrown more interceptions (21 vs. 13). About the only thing Elway has that Marino doesn't is George Steinbrenner's autograph on the bottom of a Yankee contract—and $140,000 of Yankee money.
FREE THE PACIFIC THREE! You can watch USC's Nov. 27 game against Notre Dame on TV because the deal was arranged before the probation ax fell. The Trojans can't, however, go to a bowl. Arizona State and Oregon end their year of NCAA sanctions in December, so they can't appear on TV in the regular season. But they can go to a bowl.
"Based on the success of my son at Stanford," says San Jose State Coach Jack Elway, "it's obvious I was an overachiever when I got married." Elway the elder is too modest. Since his arrival the Spartans are 22-11-1, having upset such highflyers as Baylor (then, 1980, No. 4 in the country), Cal and—it hurt him to do it—Stanford. Eleven San Jose players signed pro contracts last spring (notably Running Back Gerald Willhite, Denver's No. 1 pick), but Steve Clarkson is back to direct the offense. "He'll be one of the five best quarterbacks in the country," says Elway, who faces one of those five best on Sept. 18 in Palo Alto.
It's UNLV's first season in the conference. No one, not even Jim McMahon, topped Sam King's 3.778 passing yards in 1981; but King's gone. Coach Harvey Hyde had two unexpected losses on top of that: Split End Jim Sandusky, with 68 catches in '81, and Tight End Jeff Spek, who caught 54 balls, both transferred to San Diego State.
The fate of Pacific hinges largely on the strong arm of Paul Berner, a juco transfer, stepping in at quarterback.
THE JOY OF STUDY: Play-books are in demand at Long Beach State. Not those of the 49ers—they're relying on 20 junior college transfers to pull them out of a tie for the cellar—but those kept by the students of last spring's course "Psychology of Sex," who were required to keep "playbooks" of field trips to nudist colonies, bars and clubs.
"Your mission, should you decide to accept it," said Kentucky Governor John Y. Brown to George Allen when he offered Allen the head coaching job at Lexington, "is to beat Alabama, Florida. Georgia. Auburn...." No wonder Allen said no thanks. The Wildcats had their fourth losing season in a row in '81, and Fran Curci was fired. The new coach is a dutiful alum, Jerry Claiborne, who was 77-37-2 in 10 years at Maryland. You get the impression that Claiborne is under a bit of pressure to win, but he won't do anything of the sort this season. Sorry, Guv.
The turmoil in the LSU athletic department offices fortunately hasn't carried over to the football field, where the Bengal Tigers will start 22 veterans. Senior Quarterback Alan Risher will lead the Tigers' charge.
In two years Vanderbilt has gone from 1-10 to 2-9 to 4-7, largely because of Quarterback Whit Taylor's passes. His aerials placed five Commodore receivers in the top 50 last season.
MISS YOU: John Fourcade left Mississippi for the British Columbia Lions of the CFL after surpassing virtually all of Archie Manning's Ole Miss career records. Fourcade completed 445 of 819 passes for 5,412 yards. The Rebels play six bowl teams this year. John, won't you please come home!
A paladin, for those new to the Southern Conference, is 1) a champion, 2) an outstanding protagonist of a cause or 3) an athlete at Furman University—if you capitalize the P. Tailback Stanford Jennings is all of these. Last season he gained 1,168 yards on 197 carries and along the way had 24 receptions and threw a touchdown pass of 37 yards against Western Carolina.
And fitting the first two definitions is Linebacker Melvin Rucker of Virginia Military Institute, who has made 299 tackles over two years. Quarterback Kelly Raber and most everyone else is back from VMI's 6-3-1 team, but that record may be deceptive. VMI's schedule was ranked easiest in Division I-A. The Keydets—along with the rest of the conference—are now in I-AA.
Chattanooga has switched from a veer formation to a wishbone. Junior Fullback Danny Westfall will not have to adjust. He transferred from Alabama just a season ago. The Moccasins have the home advantage for the Sept. 25 game with Furman; it should decide the conference.
CITADEL NIGHT FEVER: Noseguard Jim Ettari has squared up his wilder years as a teen-ager in Brentwood, Long Island with the regimen of The Citadel. A tattoo on his left biceps reads SATURDAY NIGHT IS ALL RIGHT FOR FIGHTING; a more recent tattoo on his right biceps says DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR.
McNeese lost the Southland title to Texas-Arlington by a single point (21-20) in 1981. It won't happen again. Seventeen Cowboys are back, including the two top players in the conference: Quarterback Stephen Starring (488 yards rushing, 1,218 passing) and Tailback Buford Jordan, a 6'2", 220-pound junior whose 18 touchdowns put him No. 4 in scoring in Division I-A.
"The whole world gets to find out on Oct. 2 in Birmingham which of the two coaches from the Fordyce, Ark. area is best—Bear Bryant or me." So says Arkansas State Coach Larry Lacewell, who hopes his brainy quarterback can stem the Tide. Tim Langford, a premed student with a 3.92 grade-point average, will run the offense that had the country's fewest passing yards (41.3 a game) and the second-highest rushing-attempt average (62 per game; 'Bama had 64) and, according to Lacewell, kept the defense on the field for fewer snaps than any other team in the nation.
FORM 1040A (REVISED, NOTE NEW SCHEDULES): The Southland traded Louisianas in the off-season. Southwestern Louisiana, the alma mater of Rafael Septien, Ron Guidry and Andrew Toney, dropped out of the conference so as to remain in Division I-A, while the rest of the conference went to I-AA. Northeast Louisiana and North Texas State, meanwhile, joined up.
Grambling Coach Eddie Robinson, 63, is three wins away from No. 300. His record is 297-98-13 for his 40 years at Grambling, but last season (6-4-1) was the Tigers' worst since 1969. Count on a dose of Trumaine poisoning to return Grambling to form. A certain first-round pro draft pick, Wingback Trumaine Johnson, who does the 40 in 4.3, had a 17.9-yard average on 43 receptions last fall, despite a regular diet of 'double coverage from teams that had seen him in action the year before (13 touchdown receptions). "He's a game-breaker," says Robinson. "You don't need to be Phi Beta Kappa to know that."
Alcorn State lost four of its first five games, then came back to win four of the last five. Returning are star linebackers Marlon Expose and Darnell Toy, Quarterback James McFarland and Halfback Gregory Jones.
Jackson State won the SWAC title on the strength of Division I-AA's No. 3 rushing and overall defense. The heart of that unit—linebackers Calvin January and Mario Kirksey—returns, but the Tigers lost seven starters from the offense.
PROAPHERNALIA: A total of 197 Grambling alumni have played pro football. Twenty former Jackson State players and 18 from Grambling are currently in the NFL.
After a rebuilding season in '81, Baylor has 16 regulars hungry for some more glory and a schedule that serves up Houston, SMU, Arkansas and Texas at home. Junior Halfback Alfred Anderson moves into the running-back spot left vacant by Walter Abercrombie, the Steelers' No. 1 pick, but Coach Grant Teaff needs more people like Split End Gerald McNeil to make it back into the SWC first division. At 5'7", 137 pounds, McNeil wasn't a starter a year ago, but he came on to catch 44 balls for a 16.9-yard average.
For the first time since 1966, Rice will play in dark blue pants and helmets. The sartorial inspiration was provided by TCU, which, in 1980, donned the purple helmets of its glory days and beat Texas Tech for its lone win of the season. Then, last year, the similarly clad Horned Frogs upset Arkansas. In addition to its uniforms, TCU can call on Split End Stanley Washington (49 receptions) and John Thomas, the No. 3 punt returner in the nation, with 14.4 yards a pop.
MEET JOHN DOE: Texas Tech can't help but dominate the conference in exotic cognomens. Confronted with Offensive Tackle Pat Hrncir, the defensive unit of tackles Hasson Arbubakrr, Willie Reyneveld, Linebacker Kerry Tecklenburg, Safety Greg Iseral, and Cornerback Greg Womble, their opponents will be spellbound.
Here's the wild and woolly WAC, starting from the...well, bottom, where it isn't all that wild. In fact, it's downright predictable, thanks to Texas-El Paso. Over the past decade, the Miners have a 14-98 record, the worst in all of major-college football. And then there's Colorado State, which last season lost all of its 12 games.
When New Mexico played Brigham Young two years ago, the Lobos blitzed Jim McMahon on almost every down, for six sacks and a 25-21 win. New Mexico has been blitzing ever since, and nobody does it better than Linebacker Johnny Jackson. Last season he had 14 sacks...as a freshman.
After a season of teaching his imported-from-BYU passing attack to San Diego State, Doug Scovil has decided that it's so simple, that maybe a freshman can run it. Some observers expect a recruit from La Mesa, Calif. to replace Matt Kofler (now with the Buffalo Bills). The great hope is named, aptly enough, Jim Plum.
THIS AIN'T NO PARTY: The Colorado State-Wyoming game on Sept. 11 in Fort Collins may not be crucial to the conference championship, but if it follows precedent, it will be decidedly emotional. Four years ago, for instance, the Rams didn't show up at Hughes Stadium until the Wyoming captains were already at midfield for the coin toss. Only then did the Rams pour out of a bus and run down through the stands, onto the field. Wyoming's bench took offense, and a donnybrook ensued.
Rhode Island Coach Bob Griffin expected his Rams to be punting quite a bit in last season's opener, with defending I-AA champ Boise State. So he devised the punt that isn't. The first two times URI faced a fourth down, Steve Caizzi, a second-string punter with a strong arm, took the snap like a punter and made a kicking motion like a punter. Only he didn't punt. He lobbed a pass toward the awaiting Bronco returner, who got in the way of the Rhode Island "receivers" and was called for pass interference both times. The Rams were deceptive, but the Broncos were decisive, handing URI a 33-8 loss.
The Rams, led by junior Quarterback Dave Grimsich and Defensive End Dennis Talbot, rose from a 2-9 record in 1980 to share the Yankee title and a berth in the I-AA playoffs. The Massachusetts game decided the title in '81, and it should again (Oct. 2 in Kingston, R.I.). The top Minute-man is Tailback Garry Pearson, who rushed for 1,026 yards in nine games.
New Hampshire may have the line (average weight 245 pounds), but Boston has the runner—Gregg Drew, who averaged 125.7 yards a game to win the I-AA rushing title.
GRIN AND BEAR IT: Lorenzo Bouier of Maine gained 1,622 yards as a sophomore in 1980. As a junior, he became a wing T halfback under the Black Bears' new coach. Ron Rogerson, and amassed only 432 yards. With just an "average" year, Bouier could dominate the conference.