HERMAN HICKMAN SAYS: In this much underrated sector of the Southwest, Arizona State and Texas Western, the 1956 champions, should again battle it out for the Border Conference championship. Dan Devine's Arizona State squad sported a 9-1 record last season, finished fifth in total offense and second in scoring among the major colleges. This year the former assistant to Biggie Munn and Duffy Daugherty will continue his multiple offense with flankers, but—more important than any system of play—seven sophomores, all former Arizona All-Staters, will give the Wildcats their best depth ever.

At Texas Western Mike Brumbelow has retired from the head-coaching ranks but will maintain the positions of athletic director and assistant to the president. He is succeeded by his back-field coach, Ben Collins. An excellent running game with speed to spare and better passing could make the Miners a repeater for the conference title, despite inexperience at several positions.

With 22 out of 28 lettermen returning, hope is high at Hardin-Simmons. If Slinging Sammy Baugh can get the defense to complement his air arm, directed by Quarterback Ken Ford, the Cowboys will be in contention all the way. Ford, by the way, ranked fifth and sixth in passing in the nation as a freshman and sophomore, respectively, and looks better this year.

West Texas State finished last season with a healthy 7-2 record and wound up beating Mississippi Southern in the Tangerine Bowl at Orlando, Fla. Six starters are lost from this 1956 aggregation, with gaps to be filled at both guards and the quarterback spot, but a hard-driving running attack may bring them through for another fine season.

Tucson, Ariz.

COLORS: Red and blue
1956 RECORD: Won 4, lost 6
WATCH FOR: Tricky slot-T offense, with blind flips from quarterback

THE DOPE: The Wildcats, according to Coach Ed Doherty, will be operating an offense some 20 years ahead of its time. Whether or not that is true, the slot-T offense, introduced by Doherty in his first season as head coach, is a bewildering formation in which the quarterback flips the ball backward, blind, to scuttling halfbacks. On some plays, the halfbacks line up facing the sideline, a maneuver worth five yards of speed on outside runs, says Doherty. To implement his unorthodox attack, Doherty has a strong first team but little depth. The quarterback is Ralph Hunsaker, one of the best in Arizona history, and he has taken to the difficult technical chore imposed on him by the slot T very well. As a sophomore, last year Hunsaker ranked sixth in the nation in passing. The first team has fair speed, good size and has learned to execute Doherty's fast-breaking, intricate patterns. Barring injury to a key player, Arizona, on the crest of a new offense which is unfamiliar to its opponents, could be a surprise.

1957 SCHEDULE (1956 score):

SEPT. 21 Brigham Young, N (no game)
SEPT. 28 at Missouri (no game)
OCT. 12 at Colorado (7-38)
OCT. 19 New Mexico, N (26-12)
OCT. 26 Texas Tech, N (7-21)
NOV. 2 West Texas State, N (20-13)
NOV. 9 Hardin-Simmons, N (no game)
NOV. 16 Texas Western, N (6-28)
NOV. 23 Marquette, N (no game)
NOV. 30 at Arizona State, N (0-20)

Tempe, Ariz.

COLORS: Maroon and gold
1956 RECORD: Won 9, lost 1
WATCH FOR: Running pass thrown by Bob Mulgado

THE DOPE: The Sun Devils, second only to Oklahoma last season in point production, may be even harder to contain this season. Only the lack of an experienced quarterback appears to trouble Coach Dan Devine, what with no surefire replacement available for Dave Graybill, who was All-Border Conference last season. Elsewhere, the backfield should be as strong as it was in 1956, despite the graduation of Gene Mitcham, who was a starter for the North in the Shrine Game last year. Bob Mulgado, a powerfully built runner with exceptional speed and good passing ability, and Leon Burton, a stumpy speedster who has done the hundred in 9.7, provide the Sun Devils with a fine outside threat. At fullback, 190-pound Joe Belland is a returning starter. He runs with strength but his forte is linebacking, where he is rated among the best in the country. The Sun Devil line is deep and experienced everywhere except at end, where Clancy Osborne, a tough 205-pounder, is the only returning veteran. A strong coterie of sophomores may take up the slack here, and the transfer of Danny Beard from halfback to end provides a bit more experience.

1957 SCHEDULE (1956 score):

SEPT. 21 at Wichita, N (37-9)
SEPT. 28 Idaho, N (41-0)
OCT. 5 at San Jose State, N (47-13)
OCT. 12 Hardin-Simmons, N (26-13)
OCT. 26 at San Diego State, N (61-0)
NOV. 2 New Mexico A&M, N (28-7)
NOV. 9 at Texas Western, N (0-28)
NOV. 16 Montana State, N (no game)
NOV. 23 College of the Pacific, N (19-6)
NOV. 30 Arizona, N (20-0)

Abilene, Texas

COLORS: Purple and gold
1956 RECORD: Won 4, lost 6
WATCH FOR: Pinpoint passing of Ken Ford, senior quarterback

THE DOPE: The Cowboys, two deep in lettermen at every position except right end and left halfback, are ready for a fine season. Coach Sammy Baugh, the old Redskin quarterback who holds a fistful of National Football League passing records, has a quarterback who resembles him in many ways. Ken Ford, a 6-foot 2½-inch, 185-pound senior, has the same lariat-lean build and the same whiplike arm that Baugh had. He completed 70 of 105 passes last year, and Baugh considers him a better passer this season. The Cowboys operate a passing attack built on a pro-style offense—with spread ends, flankers and all the razzle-dazzle inherent in a wide-open aerial game. But Baugh can call on good running talent to pin down opposing defenses in Fullback Pete Hart, a short, thick-legged runner who averaged five yards a carry last season, and two big, strong halfbacks in Earl Brown (195) and Dewey Bohling (205). The line, experienced and tough, is built around Tackle Burley Polk, a 235-pounder, and Guard Lawrence Hill, a 225-pound senior. All in all, the Cowboys stack up as a much better team than the 1956 outfit which won four, lost six.

1957 SCHEDULE (1956 score):

SEPT. 21 at Tulsa, N (0-27)
OCT. 5 at Mississippi (no game)
OCT. 12 at Arizona State, N (13-26)
OCT. 19 Wichita, N (20-7)
OCT. 26 at West Texas State (6-20)
NOV. 2 Texas Western, N (13-51)
NOV. 9 at Arizona, N (no game)
NOV. 16 at Texas Tech (41-14)
NOV. 23 Oklahoma A&M at Odessa (no game)
NOV. 28 New Mexico A&M (38-19)

State College, N. Mex.

COLORS: Red and white
1956 RECORD: Won 1, lost 9
WATCH FOR: Running and passing of Joe Kelly

THE DOPE: The Aggies, equipped with experience in depth this season, should improve on their 1-9 1956 season, but Coach Tony Cavallo is not looking for a Border championship. "There's a vast improvement in experience, with 28 men who have two or more years of Border Conference play as against four at the beginning of the 1956 season," he says. "Team speed is up, but both speed and depth are not strong in relation to major opponents on our schedule." Cavallo is hopeful of winning seven games, but would probably settle for five. He has a versatile and accomplished back in Joe Kelly, a 5-foot-11, 190-pound junior who was shifted from halfback to quarterback during the last three games of 1956 and handled the job well. Two good fullbacks—Joe Stewart and Wally Ferguson—give the Aggie running attack punch, and the line is anchored on Fred Hernandez, who may be the biggest college lineman in the nation at 6 feet 11 and 262 pounds. Hernandez plays tackle. Success may hinge on Quarterback Vernon Duenas who can take the pressure off the running game spearheaded by Kelly and Ferguson. Duenas was out last season with a bad knee.

1957 SCHEDULE (1956 score):

SEPT. 21 at New Mexico, N (6-14)
SEPT. 28 California Poly, N (7-32)
OCT. 5 Corpus Christi, N (no game)
OCT. 19 West Texas State, N (0-45)
OCT. 26 at Texas Western, N (7-51)
NOV. 2 at Arizona State, N (7-28)
NOV. 9 McMurry, N (13-14)
NOV. 16 Omaha, N (20-21)
NOV. 23 Colorado Western, N (no game)
NOV. 28 at Hardin-Simmons, N (19-38)

El Paso

COLORS: Orange and white
1956 RECORD: Won 9, lost 1
WATCH FOR: Quick-hitting running attack built on speed of Halfback Don Maynard

THE DOPE: The Miners, 1956 Border Conference champions, have lettermen back for every position, including seven starters from last year's team. But new Coach Ben Collins, who stepped up from backfield coach to replace Mike Brumbelow (now athletic director), lacks enough depth to face a tough schedule comfortably. He has riches at quarterback, where Bob Laraba and Bob Forrest will split time again, and he has veteran running backs on hand to power the split-T attack. The first-string line is battle-tested and capable, but most of their replacements are sophomores. The Miners' passing attack should be better since Laraba and Forrest, converted from center and fullback to quarterback last season, are more accustomed to their jobs and more capable passers as a result. The Miner defense will likely suffer most from the lack of experience at key spots. Starting under a new coach will be no handicap, since Collins has been backfield coach under Brumbelow since 1946 and will operate essentially the same offense. Over-all team blocking will be improved, but the defense may be weaker than last year, which could hurt seriously in a conference stronger from top to bottom.

1957 SCHEDULE (1956 score):

SEPT. 21 North Texas State, N (6-13)
SEPT. 28 West Texas State, N (16-13)
OCT. 5 at New Mexico, N (34-0)
OCT. 12 Texas Tech, N (17-13)
OCT. 26 New Mexico A&M, N (51-7)
NOV. 2 at Hardin-Simmons, N (51-13)
NOV. 9 Arizona State, N (28-0)
NOV. 16 at Arizona, N (28-6)
NOV. 28 at Trinity, N (54-0)

Canyon, Texas

COLORS: Maroon and white
1956 RECORD: Won 7, lost 2
WATCH FOR: Running built on Fullback Charlie Sanders, Halfback Ron Mills

THE DOPE: The Buffaloes, with their two top ground-gainers and scorers returning to the backfield, may match the powerful offensive machine of last season, which averaged 30 points per game. However, Coach Frank Kimbrough lost six starters by graduation, including four-year quarterback Bubba Hillman. As a result, there are some soft spots, especially in the Buffalo line. Kimbrough must find strong replacements at both guard posts to give the line good over-all balance. Operating the Buffalo attack should be a sophomore quarterback, Mac Kehoe, and, playing very little behind Hillman in his first year, he has not yet proved himself. The schedule is tougher this year, too, with Texas Tech, Mississippi Southern, McMurry and Abilene Christian from outside the Border Conference. However, West Texas has a break in the conference campaign in that Arizona State is not scheduled this season. If Kimbrough can find the key line replacements he needs, the Buffs could be as strong as last year's squad which won seven, lost two and chalked up a 20-13 victory over Mississippi Southern in the Tangerine Bowl—and he just may find them. If inexperienced defense is not too porous, watch these Buffs.

1957 SCHEDULE (1956 score):

SEPT. 14 McMurry, N (33-7)
SEPT. 21 at Texas Tech, N (34-14)
SEPT. 28 at Texas Western, N (13-16)
OCT. 5 Mississippi Southern, N (20-13)
OCT. 12 at Trinity, N (no game)
OCT. 19 at New Mexico A&M, N (45-0)
OCT. 26 Hardin-Simmons (20-6)
NOV. 2 at Arizona, N (13-20)
NOV. 9 Abilene Christan in (no game)