The 1966 college football season, drawing—with the exception of a few fringe benefits—to a close, has proved as logical as it was predictable. Most of the favorites have lived up to their notices and five major teams—Notre Dame, Michigan State, Alabama, Georgia Tech and Nebraska—are still unbeaten. Nine others have lost only one game, a situation calculated to please the greediest of bowl promoters.
But the game that has excited almost everybody will not be played in a bowl. It is Saturday's meeting at East Lansing between Notre Dame and Michigan State. The victor most likely will win the national championship. Notre Dame does not play postseason games and the Spartans, Big Ten champions again, are prevented by a league rule from appearing postanywhere.
Purdue, for the first time ever, has that right and will play the winner of Saturday's USC-UCLA game in the Rose Bowl. Meanwhile, despite an NCAA ruling that does not permit schools to make commitments until November 21, the other bowl pairings are taking shape. Alabama is almost a sure bet for the Sugar Bowl, where it probably will meet Nebraska. Georgia Tech reportedly is in the Orange Bowl with Florida (8-1) while Arkansas (8-1) is the probable Southwest Conference representative in the Cotton Bowl, perhaps against Georgia (8-1). That leaves the Gator, Blue-bonnet, Sun and Liberty bowls to pick from an attractive group that includes SMU (6-2), Mississippi (6-2), Syracuse (7-2), Colorado (6-3), Tennessee (5-3), Virginia Tech (7-1-1), Miami of Ohio (8-1) and Wyoming (8-1) or Brigham Young (7-1).
Perhaps the most satisfying victory last week was Purdue's 16-0 conquest of Minnesota. Five times since 1952 the Boilermakers had come close but never quite made it to the Rose Bowl. Coach Jack Mollenkopf had been panned by alumni and students, who even hoisted "Fat Jack Must Go" signs in Ross-Ade Stadium last year. This time Quarterback Bob Griese made sure that his team would get to Pasadena. While Purdue's defense, suspect on some occasions during the season, shut off the Gophers, Griese threw 13 yards to Jim Beirne for one touchdown and kicked a 30-yard field goal. It was a happy day for Mollenkopf. His round face beaming, he shouted, "After all those years of disappointment, this is great."
November 21, 1966
1. NOTRE DAME (8-0)
2. MICHIGAN STATE (9-0)
3. NEBRASKA (9-0)
The semifinals before the NOTRE DAME-MICHIGAN STATE game were harrowing. For Duke's Tom Harp, who had blissfully said earlier in the week, "I always dreamed of playing Notre Dame," the reality was a nightmare. Nick Eddy opened the scoring with a 77-yard run on the second play, and the Irish never stopped until they had humiliated the poor Blue Devils 64-0. Michigan State, with Fullback Bob Apisa resting his ailing knee, was content with a 37-19 shelling of Indiana. But Duffy Daugherty was not making jokes after Indiana's Frank Stavroff riddled his pass defense with 23 completions for 316 yards—a Big Ten record.
With Purdue in the Rose Bowl, the rest of the Big Ten played for kicks. MICHIGAN won over Northwestern 28-20; ILLINOIS clobbered Wisconsin 49-14; OHIO STATE held off rallying Iowa 14-10.
It was businesslike football that unbeaten NEBRASKA played against Oklahoma State, resulting, as usual, in a businesslike win, 21-6. Halfback Harry Wilson boomed through the Oklahoma State line for 104 yards, Halfback Ben Gregory scored on a 10-yard run and Quarterback Bob Churchich went over for two touchdowns. The victory gave the Huskers their fourth straight Big Eight title. Oklahoma, the only team with a chance to catch them, was upset by MISSOURI 10-7 on Bill Bates's 52-yard field goal. COLORADO, a late bloomer in the Big Eight, cinched a tie for second by walloping Kansas 35-18 while Kansas State secured last place, losing to IOWA STATE 30-13.
The "little fellows" had their big game, too, only it turned out to be not much of a game. Dayton, 7-1 and in its best season since 1957, lost to MIAMI of Ohio, the MidAmerican co-champion, 38-6 when Bruce Matte hit 10 of 18 passes for 179 yards and three touchdowns and ran for a fourth.
1. ARKANSAS (8-1)
2. HOUSTON (7-1)
3. SMU (6-2)
Arkansas moved into the Southwest Conference lead, whacking SMU 22-0. The difference between the two teams was summarized in a single strategic trick developed by Coach Frank Broyles. When SMU set its ends wide to contain Jon Brittenum's sprint-outs and Harry Jones's sweeps, Arkansas massed its blockers at Mustang John Kimbrough's right-tackle spot ("I've never seen so many blockers in my life," said Kimbrough later) and Tailback David Dickey hit it for big yardage. Dickey scored twice after Safety Martine Bercher ran back a punt 69 yards.
Too late, TEXAS was coming on in the SWC, and the reason was not the celebrated Bill Bradley, who has been hurt, but Chris Gilbert, who was expected to play in Bradley's shadow. A low-slung runner with a gliding gait, Gilbert went through TCU for 117 yards, giving him 943 for the season. The Frogs, shaken by Coach Abe Martin's mild heart attack, went down 13-3.
Baylor's Terry Southall was back on target with 24 completions against Texas Tech, and the Bears won 29-14. Rice, which makes a habit of blowing fourth-quarter leads, found two more ways to lose as it yielded to TEXAS A&M 7-6. The Owls missed a two-point conversion with 51 seconds to go and then, after recovering an onside kick, missed a 31-yard field goal try.
Texas Western's defense, once so proud and firm, was mauled again—for 412 yards—by WYOMING as the Cowboys won 31-7.
1. ALABAMA (8-0)
2. GEORGIA TECH (9-0)
3. GEORGIA (8-1)
Georgia Tech and ALABAMA had it easy last week. While Tech was whipping Penn State 21-0 (page 26), 'Bama took South Carolina 24-0 with Tide Fullback Les Kelley, back in Coach Bear Bryant's good graces after serving a week's penance for a curfew violation, doing the most damage.
The War Eagle, screamed out loud and clear in Birmingham when Auburn built a first-quarter 13-0 lead, died in a gurgle as GEORGIA got going. Brad Johnson's seven-yard run and Kirby Moore's 52-yard pass to Hardy King put the Dogs ahead 14-13, Ronnie Jenkins' four-yard plunge added seven points and Georgia had at least a share of the SEC title.
Florida's Steve Spurrier had another one of those days—20 pass completions for 255 yards and a touchdown (his 15th), 33 rushing and a new SEC total-yardage record of 5,082—as the Gators squashed Tulane 31-10. Tennessee, however, was surprised by improving MISSISSIPPI 14-7. LSU picked up a few pieces, too, by beating Mississippi State 17-7.
Navy, warming up for Army, went after Vanderbilt with its best offensive show of the year, John Cartwright passing and Terry Murray running the Midshipmen to a 30-14 win. Kentucky was clobbered by HOUSTON 56-18. The Cougars piled up 649 yards, 187 by Fullback Dick Post and 148 by shifty Warren McVea, who ran 63, 32 and 12 yards for scores. "Tackling McVea," said Kentucky Safety Jerry Davis, "is like standing in midstream and trying to catch fish barehanded."
Miami, with Quarterback Bill Miller coming off the bench to complete 13 of 16 passes, buried helpless Pitt 38-14. VIRGINIA TECH survived a 51-pass barrage by William & Mary to win 20-13.
Sometimes, Maryland's Lou Saban found out, you can overcoach. With CLEMSON ahead 14-10 and the Terps on the Tigers' five, third and two, Saban sent in a play. Alas, his messenger arrived too late and it cost Maryland a five-yard penalty. Two plays later, Clemson intercepted a pass and went on to win 14-10, clinching a tie for the ACC title.
Wake Forest upset Memphis State 21-7 but North Carolina lost to AIR FORCE 20-14 and North Carolina State was edged by SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI 7-6.
1. SYRACUSE (7-2)
2. ARMY (7-2)
3. HARVARD (7-1)
Syracuse Coach Ben Schwartzwalder always said, "When you get fancy, you're asking for trouble." Against Florida State, he did the simplest thing—let Floyd Little run. Little piled up 193 yards (he now has 2,577 to beat Ernie Davis' career record), ran for three touchdowns, all from the FSU 24-yard line, and a two-point conversion and Syracuse took its seventh straight 37-21.
With one week to go, the Ivy League race was down to three teams—DARTMOUTH, PRINCETON and HARVARD. Dartmouth had Quarterback Mickey Beard to thank for its 32-23 victory over Cornell. With his team behind 17-7, Beard, who had already passed for one touchdown, threw for two more and ran for another. Princeton squeezed past Yale 13-7 on Larry Stupski's 41-yard run with a blocked punt with 3:02 to go while Harvard trounced Brown 24-7. There was even a bit of cheer for COLUMBIA. The Lions beat Penn 22-14 for their first win.
Villanova, more than holding its own in a scoreless tie with floundering Boston College, scored three times in the last quarter to win 19-0. COLGATE held off Lafayette 20-9 but Rutgers' magic finally ran out against HOLY CROSS. Quarterback Jack Lentz ran and passed for 255 yards as the Crusaders won 24-12.
1. USC (7-1)
2. UCLA (8-1)
3. WYOMING (8-1)
UCLA won out over Stanford 10-0 but paid dearly in the process. Quarterback Gary Be-ban, who scored UCLA's only touchdown on a nifty 24-yard rollout, cracked a bone in his right ankle and is probably out of Saturday's showdown game with USC. The Trojans, who had the week off, will now concentrate their full attentions on Mel Farr, who smashed Stanford for 128 yards.
There was not much left for the other AAWU teams but OREGON STATE, showing good late foot, beat Washington 24-13 for its fifth straight. Oregon, however, was beaten by ARIZONA STATE 14-10 while ARIZONA outscored Washington State 28-18.
If anyone had told ARMY'S Tom Cahill a year ago that he would be the Cadets' head coach this November and that his team would be 7-2 going into the Navy game, he would have scoffed. But last week Cahill was given a new contract, and Army celebrated with a 6-3 win over California as Quarterback Steve Lindell had his finest day. He completed 16 of 21 passes for 190 yards and ran for 53 more. Look out, Navy!
The Western AC is ready for its big game in Provo Saturday, BRIGHAM YOUNG, with Virgil Carter pitching three touchdown passes, prepared for Wyoming by routing Utah 35-13. The independents had their fun, too. NEW MEXICO STATE trounced New Mexico 47-12 as Tailback Jim Bohl scored 28 points. COLORADO STATE, led by flashy Oscar Reed, beat West Texas State 35-26 and UTAH STATE, at last looking like the team it was supposed to be, rolled over San Jose State 27-7. IDAHO'S Ray McDonald scored five times in a 40-6 shelling of Montana.
BEST OF THE WEEK
THE BACK: Colorado State Halfback Oscar Reed went 70 yards for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage, ran 124 more yards for a 7.8-yard average and two more touchdowns in a 35-26 win over West Texas State.
THE LINEMAN: Mississippi find Jerry Richardson, a junior, ran 51 yards with a recovered fumble for a score, harassed Tennessee's Dewey Warren into three interceptions and made a dozen tackles as Ole Miss won 14-7.