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THE BIG EIGHT

Sept. 23, 1957
Sept. 23, 1957

Table of Contents
Sept. 23, 1957

Baseball X-Ray
News Of The Week
  • The week's news was rich with triumphs and achievements in the world of sport, on the playing fields of baseball, golf and tennis, on the race tracks and waterways and on the roaring roads of the motor sportsmen—and, if that were not enough, football was almost ready for its long-awaited rendezvous with the American fall. But no single subject provoked more discussion, speculation and indeed curbstone philosophizing up and down the autumn land than the engrossing question: Can the Milwaukee Braves blow the National League pennant again this year? The citizens of Milwaukee had the jitters (see below) and so did the citizens of St. Louis, but their moods were vastly different

Events & Discoveries
The Game
Eleven Elevens
Sport In Art
Acknowledgments
Conversation Piece
19th Hole: The Readers Take Over

THE BIG EIGHT

HERMAN HICKMAN SAYS: Dressed with a new name (Big Eight instead of Big Seven), a new university (Oklahoma State) and three strange faces in the coaching department, the plot still hasn't changed in this conference. The play's the thing, and Oklahoma will continue its record-breaking run. Perhaps it will last until 1960, when Oklahoma State becomes an official member of the cast.

This is an article from the Sept. 23, 1957 issue Original Layout

Oklahoma has only one serious hurdle—the opening game with Pittsburgh on September 21—but the always lean and never satiated Sooners are ready.

Colorado, using the multiple offense, finished second last season and defeated Clemson in a wild 27-21 game in the Orange Bowl. Despite the loss of both starting ends and center, the Buffaloes may be a better team than in 1956 but will have much stronger opposition.

Kansas, with 27 lettermen returning, should have the best team of Coach Chuck Mather's regime.

Missouri has a new coach in Frank Broyles, fresh from Georgia Tech and winning ways as one of Bobby Dodd's assistants. This will mark Broyles' first season as a head coach, but he has been recognized as one of football's bright young men for a long time.

Nebraska, with Bill Jennings stepping up to the head coach's post vacated by Pete Elliot, will continue with the Oklahoma style of attack. Despite 21 lettermen returning, there are still many "ifs" like lack of depth and overall speed.

COLORADO
Boulder, Colo.

COLORS: Silver and gold
BASIC OFFENSE: Multiple
1956 RECORD: Won 7, lost 2, tied 1
LETTERMEN RETURNING: 19 of 36
WATCH FOR: Running of Bob Stransky, passing of Boyd Dowler

THE DOPE: The Buffaloes, despite having lost seven of their 1956 regulars, including all but one of the starting line, are strong again. Coach Dallas Ward has switched personnel to plug weaknesses at end and center, and the Colorado ground game, operating on the fleet running of Bob Stransky, Boyd Dowler and Eddie Dove, will be the mainspring of the offense. Lack of experience makes the Buffalo defense, especially against a strong passing team, doubtful. John Bayuk, one of the country's better fullbacks last year, is gone; Ward, who has never been without a good fullback, has strong replacements in Leroy Clark and Gene Worden. Key to the Colorado attack is Dowler, the quarterback, who is a smart signal-caller, a fine punter, a good passer and, most important, a real leader. Stransky at left half is sneaky fast and an excellent safety man. If Ward's patchwork at end and center stands up, Colorado could be tough—even for Oklahoma.

1957 SCHEDULE (1956 score):

SEPT. 21 at Washington (no game)
SEPT. 28 Utah (21-7)
OCT. 5 Kansas (26-25)
OCT. 12 Arizona (38-7)
OCT. 19 at Kansas State (34-0)
OCT. 26 at Oklahoma (19-27)
NOV. 2 Missouri (14-14)
NOV. 9 at Colorado State (47-7)
NOV. 16 at Nebraska (16-0)
NOV. 23 Iowa State (52-0)

IOWA STATE
Ames, Iowa

COLORS: Cardinal and gold
BASIC OFFENSE: Single wing
1956 RECORD: Won 2, lost 8
LETTERMEN RETURNING: 22 of 33
WATCH FOR: Tennessee-style single-wing offense

THE DOPE: The Cyclones, with a new coach and a new offense, still lack enough material to compete against strong major colleges. Although Jim Myers, the personable young man who played his football at Tennessee and took his postgraduate coaching courses under Red Sanders at Vanderbilt and UCLA, is a fine coach, he may have trouble finding enough horses, especially blocking backs, for the battering attack which makes this kind of single wing go. The most pressing need is for a really adequate passer to spread the defense and allow the crunching ground game to operate. Too, Myers' team lacks speed, especially in the backfield, and the only really competent back returning is Bob Harden, a 6-foot, 188-pound junior who will play the important fullback post. The Iowa State weak-side attack should benefit from the addition of Sophomore Roger Spaulding. Playing at wingback, he has enough speed to execute the weak-side reverses.

SEPT. 21 Denver (13-10)
SEPT. 28 at Syracuse (no game)
OCT. 5 at Oklahoma (0-44)
OCT. 12 at Kansas (14-25)
OCT. 19 Missouri (0-34)
OCT. 26 Kansas State (6-32)
NOV. 2 at Drake (39-14)
NOV. 9 Nebraska (7-9)
NOV. 16 South Dakota (no game)
NOV. 23 at Colorado (0-52)

KANSAS
Lawrence, Kans.

COLORS: Crimson and blue
BASIC OFFENSE: T
1956 RECORD: Won 3, lost 6, tied 1
LETTERMEN RETURNING: 27 of 38
WATCH FOR: Elusive speed of Halfback Homer Floyd in open field

THE DOPE: The Jayhawks, now in Coach Chuck Mather's fourth season, attempt the stiffest schedule in the school's history. Mather has a veteran team on hand for the test, with exceptional size in the line and adequate over-all team speed. Ten seniors are hack, with six of them likely starters, so that, with this experience available, the defense should be strong, especially in line-backing. The major tactical weakness on offense could be passing; Quarterback Wally Strauch has streaks of fine accuracy, but threw 10 interceptions in 80 attempts last year. His replacement, Bob Marshall, is only a fair passer but a better runner and better on defense. The boys who start as halfbacks, Homer Floyd and Charlie McCue, are both good runners and receivers; Floyd, in addition, is a topnotch defense man. Only at fullback does the attack need more speed. Jerry Baker, at 200 pounds, has good power and adequate defensive ability, but he is not fast. The same is true of sophomore DeWitt Lewis, who must still prove his ability on defense. Mather has improved his team in each of his three seasons, and this club should continue the progress another step or two.

1957 SCHEDULE (1956 score):

SEPT. 21 at Texas Christian, N (0-32)
SEPT 28 Oregon State (no name)
OCT. 5 at Colorado (25-26)
OCT. 12 Iowa State (25-14)
OCT. 19 at Oklahoma (12-34)
OCT. 26 at Miami, N (no game)
NOV. 2 at Nebraska (20-26)
NOV. 9 Kansas State (20-15)
NOV. 16 Oklahoma A&M (21-13)
NOV. 23 Missouri (13-15)

KANSAS STATE
Manhattan, Kans.

COLORS: Purple and white
BASIC OFFENSE: Sliding T
1956 RECORD: Won 3, lost 7
LETTERMEN RETURNING: 19 of 29
WATCH FOR: Great speed, running and receiving of Halfback Gene Ready

THE DOPE: The Wildcats, with nine first stringers returning from last year's squad, should have a solid, strong first unit; after that, Coach Bus Mertes lacks real over-all depth. Playing a schedule including such teams as Oklahoma, Michigan State and Colorado, he will not be able to use his strong first unit 60 minutes per game and the lack of adequate replacements will hurt. The team has good speed, fair size and very competent quarterbacking from senior Dick Corbin. In Gene Keady, a rangy, 190-pound halfback, Mertes has a brilliant all-round player. Keady has tremendous speed and power and is a magnificent receiver with exceptionally good hands. The end spots, too, are well manned in depth. Ellis Rainsberger, 210-pound senior, is probably one of the two best centers in the Big Eight, but there are no adequate replacements for him. The same is true of the tackle and guard positions. If Mertes can find enough of the proper help from his sophomores-speed in the backfield and those desperately needed reserves in the center of the line—Kansas State could be unexpectedly strong. But don't expect them to improve significantly over their 1956 record.

SEPT 21 at Wyoming (15-27)
SEPT 28 Brigham Young (no game)
OCT. 5 Nebraska (10-7)
OCT. 12 at Col. of the Pacific, N (no game)
OCT. 19 Colorado (0-34)
OCT. 26 at Iowa State (32-6)
NOV. 2 Oklahoma (0-66)
NOV. 9 at Kansas (15-20)
NOV. 16 at Missouri (6-20)
NOV. 23 at Michigan State (17-38)

MISSOURI
Columbia, Mo.

COLORS: Gold and black
BASIC OFFENSE: Split-T
1956 RECORD: Won 4, lost 5, tied 1
LETTERMEN RETURNING: 18 of 36
WATCH FOR: Hard running of George Cramer from right halfback

THE DOPE: The Tigers, assimilating the belly-series offense taught by new Head Coach Frank Broyles, should be stronger than last season. Broyles, who learned the belly offense at Georgia Tech under Bobby Dodd, has an essentially veteran team to work with—seven of the 1956 regulars return, with only quarterback and center posh ions seriously handicapped by lack of blooded personnel. The Tigers allowed 12 touchdown passes last season and the added experience available this year should tighten up this phase of the defense. From his springtime look-see Broyles may feel that his backs do not have the quick getaway and open field necessary to operate the belly series profitably; however, two of the speediest of the Missouri backs were playing baseball. With the return of Hank Kuhlmann and Charlie James, the lack of really dangerous speed in the Missouri backfield may be remedied. The Tigers are deep and strong in the heart of the defensive line, at guard and tackle, with a good deal of the strength represented in the persons of Tackle Merv Johnson and Guard Don Chadwick. Expect to see the bullish sophomore Morris Kelley add rugged play to the middle guard slot.

SEPT. 21 at Vanderbilt, N (no game)
SEPT. 28 Arizona (no game)
OCT. 5 Texas A&M (no game)
OCT. 12 at Southern Methodist, N (27-33)
OCT. 19 at Iowa State (34-0)
OCT. 26 Nebraska (14-15)
NOV. 2 at Colorado (14-14)
NOV. 9 Oklahoma (14-67)
NOV. 16 Kansas State (20-6)
NOV. 23 at Kansas (15-13)

NEBRASKA
Lincoln, Neb.

COLORS: Scarlet and cream
BASIC OFFENSE: Split-T
1956 RECORD: Won 4, lost 6
LETTERMEN RETURNING: 21 of 28
WATCH FOR: Driving running of Fullback Jerry Brown

THE DOPE: The Cornhuskers are playing their first season under Coach Bill Jennings, onetime assistant to Bud Wilkinson at Oklahoma. Jennings, equipped with enough player experience to start an all-letterman first unit, still lacks enough depth to face the rugged schedule Nebraska is attempting this season. Among the teams on the schedule are Army, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Oklahoma, a quartet capable of wrecking the season of practically any team. Another unfortunate aspect of the schedule is the multiplicity of offense presented by opposing teams: slot T by Washington State, trap and drive by Army, split-T from Kansas State, unbalanced T by Syracuse, belly series from Missouri, single wing with balanced line by Iowa State and multiple offense by Colorado. Even with veteran defenders, Jennings will have trouble readjusting his defenses from Saturday to Saturday. Top personnel include Jerry Brown, a strong, hard-running fullback; Larry Naviaux, a sound, all-round halfback; Don Kampe, a 207-pound senior guard; and Jerry Wheeler, who moves his 247 pounds quickly at tackle. All—and more—will be needed if the Cornhuskers are to have a winning average in 1957.

SEPT. 21 Washington State (no game)
SEPT. 28 at Army (no game)
OCT. 5 at Kansas State (7-10)
OCT. 12 at Pittsburgh (no game)
OCT. 19 Syracuse (no game)
OCT. 26 at Missouri (15-14)
NOV. 2 Kansas (26-20)
NOV. 9 at Iowa State (9-7)
NOV. 16 Colorado (0-16)
NOV. 23 Oklahoma (6-54)

OKLAHOMA
Norman, Okla.
[11]

COLORS: Crimson and cream
BASIC OFFENSE: Split-T
1956 RECORD: Won 10, lost 0
LETTERMEN RETURNING: 25 of 43
WATCH FOR: Slashing running of Halfback Clendon Thomas

THE DOPE: The Sooners look like a nearly sure bet to repeat as the outstanding collegiate football team; in fact, hardly anyone would think to deny this except their own Coach Bud Wilkinson. He has, at one time or another, lamented the loss of seven starters, a dearth of speed and a general lack of experience. This, it must be pointed out, is standard operating procedure for coaches—particularly Wilkinson. Actually, Oklahoma has lettermen at least two deep at every position on the team except right end and right half. The most serious loss from the 1956 national champions occurred at quarterback, where for the first time in years they are without a first-line quarterback to open the season. However, Wilkinson has a trio of strong candidates in David Baker, Dale Sherrod and Lonnie Holland, all lettermen. And the replacement for All-America Jerry Tubbs at center is Bob Harrison, who may fill Tubbs's shoes on both the Oklahoma and All-America teams. Wilkinson plans to vary his attack this season, using more single-wing and spread formations; he figures that after two or three years of essentially the same offense, the opponents have caught up. This will again be a quick, hard-striking, deep and efficient football team—and it is odds-on that no one on their customarily light schedule will upset them.

SEPT . 21 at Pittsburgh (no game)
OCT. 5 Iowa State (44-0)
OCT. 12 Texas at Dallas (45-0)
OCT. 19 Kansas (34-12)
OCT. 26 Colorado (27-19)
NOV. 2 at Kansas State (66-0)
NOV. 9 at Missouri (67-14)
NOV. 16 Notre Dame (40-0)
NOV. 23 at Nebraska (54-6)
NOV. 30 Oklahoma A&M (53-0)

OKLAHOMA STATE
Stillwater, Okla.

COLORS: Orange and black
BASIC OFFENSE: Split-T
1956 RECORD: Won 3, lost 5, tied 2
LETTERMEN RETURNING: 26 of 34
WATCH FOR: Running of Halfbacks Duane Wood and Jim Wiggins

THE DOPE: The Cowboys enter the Big Eight Conference this year all dressed up with a new name (changed from Oklahoma A&M), a better team—and no place to go. They have dropped out of the Missouri Valley Conference and will operate as independents until their scheduling catches up with their recent admission to the Big Eight. Coach Cliff Speegle played virtually a sophomore team last year; going into this season he has lettermen two or three deep at each position except the guards and at right end, where talented sophomores lend necessary depth. Duane Wood and Jim Wiggins are both strong, fast halfbacks, and Larry Rundle and Everett Wood provide the Cowboys with a solid punch from fullback. If Orlando Hazley, 9.5 sprinter who has come out for football, can convert easily, the Cowboys may have the fastest halfback in football. A sophomore quarterback, Dick Soergel, has replaced a trio of lettermen, principally on the strength of his superior passing ability. The Cowboys' weakness against long passes last season came from inexperience and should not be a problem now. Speegle has yet to find strong linebackers, but otherwise his team is on the way up.

1957 SCHEDULE (1956 score):

SEPT. 21 Arkansas at Little Rock, N (7-19)
SEPT. 28 at North Texas State, N (no game)
OCT. 5 Wichita (32-6)
OCT. 12 Tulsa (14-14)
OCT. 19 at Houston, N (0-13)
NOV. 2 Texas Tech (13-13)
NOV. 9 Wyoming (no game)
NOV. 16 at Kansas (13-21)
NOV. 23 H.-Simmons at Odessa (no game)
NOV. 30 at Oklahoma (0-53)

PHOTOBOYD DOWLER RUNS THE BUFFALO HERDPHOTOJIM MYERS WILL USE SINGLE WING AT ISCPHOTOKANSAS' CHARLIE McCUE (41) GOES 16 YARDS FOR TOUCHDOWN AGAINST COLORADOPHOTOCHARLIE JAMES CARRIES MISSOURI HOPESPHOTONEBRASKA'S JERRY BROWN DRIVESPHOTOBUD WILKINSON
Coach
PHOTOCLENDON THOMAS
Halfback
PHOTOCLIFF SPEEGLE HAS JUNIOR TEAM AT STATEILLUSTRATION