On what should have been the last full day of the college football season most college presidents, reacting swiftly and decisively to President Kennedy's assassination, postponed or canceled scheduled games. Some, however, were late in arriving at a decision. At East Lansing, Michigan State President John A. Hannah, after first announcing that the Big Ten championship game with Illinois would be played, changed his mind late Saturday morning. A few colleges decided to play anyway, but at least one of them had some iate misgivings. At Miami, President Henry King Stanford came to the press box only minutes before the kickoff ready to tell the waiting crowd of 57,773 that the game with Florida had been canceled after all. He was talked out of his announcement by a member of the university's board of trustees. Most of the games drew large crowds, although some traditional contests attracted considerably less than their usual quota. Often the games were viewed with subdued attention. In almost all cases, half-time hoopla was dispensed with, and at the Kentucky-Tennessee game in Lexington the old battered beer barrel, usually claimed with a great show of exuberance by supporters of the winning team, remained untouched on the sidelines. It was not a gala day for college football.
THE TOP THREE:
1. NAVY (8-1)
2. PITT (7-1)
3. SYRACUSE (7-2)
December 2, 1963
Harvard and Yale, on the eve of their 80th game, were the first to announce that they would not play Princeton and Dartmouth, poised to meet with the Ivy League championship at stake, quickly followed suit, and by early Friday evening every eastern game, including the one between Penn State and Pitt, had been either postponed or canceled.
THE TOP THREE:
1. MICHIGAN STATE (6-1-1)
2. NEBRASKA (9-1)
3. ILLINOIS (6-1-1)
Nebraska and Oklahoma elected to play for the Big Eight title and a trip to the Orange Bowl. But Bud Wilkinson probably wishes now that they had not. His team was pounded 29-20. Despite pregame rumors about player shifts and trick plays, Husker Coach Bob Devaney decided that this was no time to get fancy. He simply pitted strength against strength—his big, tough line against the Sooners' fast, shifty forwards—and his strategy worked handsomely. Bob Brown, Nebraska's 269-pound guard, and Lloyd Voss, a 245-pound tackle, played Oklahoma's best, Guard Ed McQuarters (240) and Tackle Ralph Neely (243), nose to nose and trampled them in the rush to get at the Sooner backs. Along with the other Husker linemen, they jarred the Oklahomans loose from five fumbles and gave up only 98 yards rushing. Meanwhile, Brown and Voss mounted a violent charge that led Rudy Johnson, Dennis Claridge, Kent McCloughan and Fred Duda to touchdowns. Only when Nebraska had a 29-7 lead did the Huskers relent. Then Oklahoma's Wes Skidgel scored twice, on a 22-yard run and a 25-yard pass from Tommy Pannell. Devaney did not mind at all. He just said, "This is the biggest win of my coaching career."
Ohio U. Coach Bill Hess made no such extravagant claim, but he was just as happy. Halfback Jim Albert's 10-yard sprint got Marshall University down early 7-0, and the Bobcats held them there to win the MidAmerican Conference championship 17-10. BOWLING GREEN, the old champion, went out gloriously. Tom Reicosky smashed independent Xavier for three touchdowns, Jim Wisser rushed for 151 yards and the Falcons won 26-15. KENT STATE gave retiring (after 18 years) Coach Trevor Rees a farewell gift: a 23-0 win over Dayton.
THE TOP THREE:
1. MISSISSIPPI (7-0-1)
2. AUBURN (8-1)
3. MEMPHIS STATE (8-0-1)
Alabama's Bear Bryant, scouting his next hurdle before meeting Mississippi in the Sugar Bowl, was in the stands when AUBURN played Florida State. He took home at least one bit of useful information: teams should not come at the Tigers on the ground. The Seminoles tried it for a while and came away with minus two yards. They did much better when Quarterback Steve Tensi began to pass, but that was too late. Auburn Quarterback Jimmy Sidle, the nation's leading rusher, had already mashed FSU with 132 yards running, 28 passing and all three touchdowns. The Tigers won 21-15. The bear was suitably impressed, but not quite enough to keep from showing up in Birmingham Saturday. "I still think we can win," he said.
Miami and FLORIDA, two preseason tigers who turned out to be tabbycats, wound up in an offensive free-for-all before the Gators took a 27-21 victory. Florida could not stop George Mira's passes (19 of 42 for 278 yards and three scores), but neither could the Hurricanes hold Hagood Clarke, who broke up the game with a 70-yard touchdown dash in the third quarter.
LSU, still hoping for a bid to somebody's bowl, lit into poor Tulane with a strong running game and clobbered its old rival 20-0. TENNESSEE, with no place to go, was just as destructive in a 19-0 whacking of Kentucky. The single-wing Vols pounded the Wildcats with power thrusts until they neared the goal line, then Hal Wantland and Mallon Faircloth passed over them for all three touchdowns. There was even some late cheer for heretofore winless VANDERBILT. Fullback Bill Waldrup scored three times and Vandy trounced George Washington 31-0.
North Carolina State's Jim Rossi had another one of his good days. He ran for two scores and passed for a third as Wake Forest succumbed 42-0. The win earned the Wolfpack a tic for the Atlantic Coast Conference title with the winner of Thursday's North Carolina-Duke game.
THE TOP THREE:
1. TEXAS (9-0)
2. BAYLOR (5-3)
3. RICE (5-3)
It had not been a very happy season for ARKANSAS Coach Frank Broylcs. But he was pleased when his quick young backs took out after Texas Tech. Bobby Nix scored on a one-yard plunge after a 33-yard drive, sophomore Jack Brasuell slipped off tackle for 34 yards and a touchdown, and Kenny Hatfield, a junior, quick-shifted through the bewildered Raiders for 80 yards on a punt return for another score and a 20-0 lead. Just about then Tech Quarterback Ben Elledge decided that Arkansas had had enough fun. In the next 24 minutes he passed to Tommy Doyle and David Parks for touchdowns, sneaked over from the two for another, and the score was tied. The shocked Razorbacks turned smartly to Quarterback Billy Gray. He obliged by taking them 85 yards in eight plays, the last one a churning 24-yard run that won the game for the Hogs, 27-20.
THE TOP THREE:
1. USC (6-3)
2. OREGON (6-3)
3. WASHINGTON (5-4)
UTAH, ferociously threatening all season to upset one big team, finally did. The Redskins beat Utah State 25-23. Behind 20-7 at half time, Utah hardly looked the part of a potential winner until Quarterback Gary Hertz-feldt began pitching like Y. A. Tittle. He passed 18 yards to Roy Jefferson for a touchdown, paused briefly while Utah State's Chris Pella kicked a 22-yard field goal, then set up Fullback Allen Jacobs for a seven-yard run and threw 35 yards to Mike Davis for the winning score. But, in the end, it was the Utah line that saved the day. It stopped the Aggies one yard from the goal as time ran out.
Brigham Young Coach Hal Mitchell, who had started the year with the single wing, came full circle for Colorado State. He put his Cougars into something that vaguely resembled a straight T and they ran for 321 yards. Wingback Doran Merkeley broke away for 42 yards, Halfback Alan Robinson sprinted 38 and 73 yards, and BYU won 24-20 without half its regulars (SI, Nov. 25).
SATURDAY'S TOUGH ONES
Navy over Army. Army, for all its good intentions, does not have a Roger Staubach.
Alabama over Auburn. But 'Bama will have to find a way to stop Auburn's Jim Sidle.
Mississippi over Mississippi State. In a meeting of defenses, Ole Miss is better.
Georgia Tech over Georgia. Lothridge, Tech's handyman, can score too many ways.
Florida State over Florida. Few Crack the Gator line, so State will go over it.
Tennessee over Vanderbilt. The Vols have more offense for the battle of have-nots.
Pitt over Miami. Mira's passes are not enough to subdue the volatile Panthers.
TCU over SHU. The Frogs have shown they can win when the game is on the ground.
Baylor over Rice. Trull's talent for the pass gives Baylor a slight edge.
Arizona State over Arizona. The Sun Devil backs are quicker and more productive.
CALIFORNIA OVER STANFORD
HARVARD OVER YALE
MISSOURI OVER KANSAS
OHIO STATE OVER MICHIGAN
OREGON OVER OREGON STATE
PRINCETON OVER DARTMOUTH
USC OVER UCLA
WASHINGTON OVER WASH. ST.
LAST WEEK'S PREDICTIONS
3 RIGHT, 2 WRONG
SEASONS RECORD: 124-63-7