The young men on these pages, pride of the football-rich Midwest, are being watched this fall by more spectators than any old-timer ever dreamed of. With schedules that carry them from Pennsylvania to California, from Texas to Minnesota, and with TV commitments that show them in virtually every corner of the U.S., they remind spectators and opponents that the finest football consistently comes from America's midlands. Some of them have already overtaken such legendary heroes as Red Grange. J. C. Caroline (No. 26), junior halfback for Illinois, broke Grange's 30-year-old Big Ten rushing record with 1,256 yards in his sophomore season. Others, like Co-captain Dan Shannon (next page), have no figures to back their individual performances. They are simply the best of the best—and they have to be. Young, fast and rock-tough, they willingly challenge the nation's top teams in full view of one of the nation's biggest and most fiercely partisan audiences.
RECORD BREAKERS J. C. Caroline (left) and Mickey Bates, rushing and scoring leaders in Big Ten last season, provide touchdown fireworks for Illinois.
IRISH PASS CATCHER Dan Shannon is a crack defensive end and a favorite target of Quarterback Ralph Guglielmi (SI, Sept. 27). Shannon is one of tough Notre Dame veterans who have made Coach Terry Brennan's first season easier.
WISCONSIN WORK HORSE Alan Ameche, 210 pounds of tireless line-plunging power, gained 145 yards on the ground in 34-7 rout over Bates-Caroline and Illinois last year, looks ready for more of the same in meeting at Champaign November 13.
October 18, 1954
SPARTAN PASS MASTER Earl Morrall is in Michigan State's complex offensive setup. A substitute on Rose Bowl champions last season, Morrall is playing a key role in school's bid to remain a power in the Big Ten.
IOWA THREATS in Big Ten are Quarterback Jerry Reichow (with knee on ground, above) and Captain George (Binkey) Broeder, fullback on the beefy, well-coached team that tied Notre Dame in their final game last season.