The first thumping, thudding sounds of football come at the end of summer—from exhibitions, the All-Star game, and the early pickup practices on vacant lots; and this Saturday the small, eager vanguard of U.S. colleges opens the intercollegiate competition—with Gustavus Adolphus vs. Youngstown, Duluth Branch vs. Superior State, among others.
After baseball's crashing finale in the World Series, football leads the band (while red-hatted hunters play a counterpoint with shotguns and rifles). All told, well over half a million players will fight for the red and gold, the crimson, the blue or whatever colors belong to the institution whose happiest moments coincide with a victory on the football field. Thirty-five million people will buy tickets to watch them; and more millions will see the games on television.
This is the football season, when burning leaves and a thousand yellow chrysanthemums get blurred in a happy whirl of dates and dances, locomotive cheers, and high-stepping drum majorettes. This is football, the spectacle, and above all, football, the game.
Herman Hickman starts the season with a report on The Eleven Elevens (pages 10-15), the college teams he thinks should be up at the top when it's all over. To take the story right up to the first kickoff, cubelike (326 lbs.) Hickman made what for anyone else would be a whirlwind tour (whirlwinds don't budge him) and talked to coaches. Coaches, as Hickman knows firsthand, use language as lion tamers use chairs; but what they said, he's got.
September 12, 1954
From here on through the bowl games, the editors of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED have laid out a football schedule which will bring you everything but the tickets. Our coverage will include feature articles—among them, what the head of the first big college to drop football thinks about it now, one on how tough is football really, another on a millionaire Texan and his football endowments; some authentic scouting reports on the big teams before the big games; color spreads on Notre Dame football, night football and others; and fast-closing stories that the editors won't know until they happen.
First and ten to go!