This will be Coach Ben Schwartzwalder's 25th year at Syracuse, and the nation's third-winningest active coach deserves a more suitable Silver Anniversary send-off than he will get. Last year was Ben's first losing season (5-6) since 1949 and this should be no better. None of his returning ballcarriers gained more than 275 yards in 1972, which will not help an offense that scored fewer points—or a defense that surrendered more—than any of Schwartzwalder's previous 23 teams.
West Virginia, 40-15 since leaving the weak Southern Conference in 1968, destroyed Syracuse 43-12 and has assumed whatever position of prestige Penn State has left room for in the East. The Mountaineers did lose 14 starters but retain a lot of offensive weaponry. Flanker Danny Buggs, appropriately nicknamed Lightning, caught eight touchdown passes, scored four more on reverses and returned two punts all the way to make good his impersonation of Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Rodgers. Sophomore Artie Owens, who scored 44 touchdowns as a Pennsylvania high school senior, and Frank Nester, who kicked six field goals against Villanova, will also light up the scoreboard.
In 1971 Sonny Werblin, former boss of the New York Jets and a Rutgers alumnus, prepared a report recommending that his alma mater adopt a policy "which will eventually enable Rutgers to take its proper place in intercollegiate athletics." Specifically, Werblin was upset about poor football recruiting, as evidenced by the fact that such favorite sons as Joe Theismann, Ed Marinaro, Lydell Mitchell, Franco Harris, Jack Tatum and Rich Glover were all playing at schools other than the State University of New Jersey. No immediate action was taken, however, and when Rutgers won its last five games in 1972, the 7-4 finish appeared to have saved Coach John Bateman's job. It did not. He resigned. And now Frank Burns, an alumnus himself, had best win at least seven more to keep the old alma mater from looking foolish.
Boston College should be much improved over last year's 4-7 record. The Gary Marangi-to-Mel Briggs passing combination is alive and well, and Phil Bennett and Mike Esposito will push hard to better their combined 1,651 yards on the ground. Both Holy Cross and Colgate, which tied 21-21 and finished with identical 5-4-1 marks, will look to individuals for national recognition. In the Crusaders' case that player is Safety John Provost, who intercepted nine passes and blocked two punts and two extra points—one of which saved the tie with Colgate. The Red Raiders' headliner is Tom Parr, who scored 12 touchdowns, threw for nine and has a good chance to break an unofficial NCAA record for career rushing by a quarterback. In two seasons Parr has stepped off 1,388 yards and at that pace he would surpass the 2,071-yard mark set by the immortal Rocky Long of New Mexico from 1969-71.
September 9, 1973
Johnny Majors, that young miracle worker now at Pittsburgh, could not have created more confusing excitement if he had dropped to the campus in a balloon. So drastic were his problems that Majors acted like the general manager of a baseball expansion team, inviting an unheard-of 150 players to try out this fall. A number of last year's players have quit the team amidst Majors' youth movement, so Pitt should field a very different Panther in 1973. Not a bad idea when you were 1-10.
Schools known primarily for basketball sometimes produce unusual football teams, and Villanova is a case in point. The Wildcats use a two-man defensive line with six linebackers, and they managed to lose nine games while matching the opposition in plays from scrimmage and average gain per play. Trouble was, the offense just couldn't get the ball in the basket—er, end zone. Villanova scored 60 points in its two victories, but was limited to one touchdown in eight other games. Wayne Hardin has guided Temple to three consecutive winning seasons—the first time that has happened since 1937 when Pop Warner was coach—but the three players responsible for a large majority of the Owls' 18 touchdowns have graduated.
Last year the three service academies all played each other for the first time, and the results were surprising. Air Force, which averaged 30 points a game and upset Arizona State, dropped both games; Navy split; Army won twice. All three return proven quarterbacks, and that should heat up the rivalries even more. No returning passer threw for more touchdowns (17) last year than the Falcons' exciting Rich Haynie, and personnel responsible for all but 21 Air Force points are back to fly with Haynie. Navy's tandem of Al Glenny and Fred Stuvek completed 61 passes to Bert Call and alone and led the Midshipmen to new season records in total offense, total plays and first downs. In addition, Navy's first black star and 1,000-yard rusher, junior Tailback Cleveland Cooper, should shatter Joe Bellino's career record by midseason. Army, which somehow won six games though outscored 160-282 (Nebraska and Penn State compiled an aggregate 122-7 on the Cadets), depends heavily on Quarterback Kingsley Fink and Co-captain Jim Ward, whose receptions beat Lehigh, Rutgers and Holy Cross. Again, none of the three teams is loaded on defense.
Some of the best college football in the country will be played in the Orange Bowl this fall. Sadly, most of it will be directed at—rather than supplied by—the Miami Hurricanes. Their schedule, the toughest in the nation, reads like a Who's Who in College Football. Texas, Boston College, Houston, West Virginia, Florida and Notre Dame visit Miami, and Florida State, Oklahoma, Syracuse, Army and Alabama lie in wait on the road. As recently as 1969 the Hurricanes outdrew the pro Dolphins, but attendance has sunk to pathetic levels in recent years, while the Super Bowl Champions now fill nearly all 80,010 Orange Bowl seats with season ticket-holders. However, a young mind with an old name, Pete Elliott, has Miamians interested enough to look up from their beach towels—and even the Dolphins are lending a helping fin. With no tickets of their own left to peddle, the Dolphins have sent out brochures picturing Elliott with Don Shula to their subscribers, urging them to support the Hurricanes. Middle Guard Tony Cristiani and giant Tackles Rubin Carter and Dennis Harrah will give Miami fans some talented collegians to cheer for.
Tampa, that quickly assembled little football factory with an enrollment of fewer than 2,000, has become a major college and will now try to lure some of those Notre Dames and Southern Cals into its hometown, where the Spartans won eight of nine games last year. They have eight home games this year and may again win too many to hold onto a new coach, Dennis Fryzel. No less than four former Tampa head coaches and an assistant have become head coaches at larger schools in the last three years. Fryzel is pleased that Freddie Solomon is back to run the team with his 9.6 speed.
Junior college transfer Jim Stevens was forced into the Georgia Tech lineup when Quarterback Eddie McAshan quit the team in a racial dispute two days before the season finale against Georgia. Though Stevens was not very impressive against the Bulldogs, he tossed three touchdown passes in the Liberty Bowl and was named the most valuable player. Stevens can obviously throw, and legend has it that 5'9" Jim Robinson has never dropped anything he has touched. Robinson can further perfect those skills by practicing against Defensive Back Randy Rhino, who picked off eight enemy aerials and led the nation in punt returns. He scored a touchdown each way and as evidence of his speed and athletic ability led the Tech baseball team in stolen bases and hitting.
Virginia Tech and Florida State each dreaded graduation. The Gobblers lost the Strock brothers—passer Don and kicker Dave—who accounted for 171 of Tech's 307 points. Coach Charlie Coffey naturally plans to switch to a running game and hopes Florida State will not foul up Tech's second straight unbeaten season at home. The Seminoles' pro donations included Gary Huff, who fired 25 scoring strikes, and Barry Smith, who grabbed 13 of them. Florida State's already adept ground game is ready to go on its own with Hodges Mitchell back after setting a single season yardage record amidst all the passing. South Carolina Coach Paul Dietzel maintains that having great athletes was the secret of his "genius" at Louisiana State, but he has already let slip that "the year after this I may be a genius again." Followers who thought the school's resignation from the ACC would mean instant success on the gridiron do not cotton to that kind of preseason next-year talk.
At a glance, Marshall appeared to possess a fantastic pass defense a year ago, allowing only two touchdowns through the air. So who needed to pass when the Thundering Herd was being trampled by 30 touchdowns on the ground? No dummy when it comes to cultivating fan interest, Coach Jack Lengyel won the home opener and the last game of the season. A third successive 2-8 season seems unlikely with 18 starters returning to Huntington. Southern Mississippi did almost everything better than its opponents, and that includes fumbling—it lost 25 en route to a 3-7-1 finish. That may have happened to the Southerners, but Golden Eagles never drop anything, and the school's new nickname sits well with Running Back Dandy Doyle Orange.
The strange virus that caused Southern Mississippi's fumbleitis descended upon Northern Illinois in epidemic proportions. The Huskies dropped the ball an astonishing 60 times and lost it on 37 occasions. The guiltiest party was 232-pound Fullback Mark Kellar, who personally turned the ball over 10 times. Ironically, Kellar was also the source from which most of Northern's blessings flowed. He carried the ball 285 times, pounding his way to 1,316 yards and nine TDs. Five of Kellar's seven offensive linemen return as well as Flanker Byron Florence, who caught an 80-yard touchdown pass and finished second in the nation in kickoff returns.
Dayton's Ron Marciniak was an assistant to Alex Agase at Northwestern last year and then Purdue's defensive line coach under Agase as late as January. He had actually recruited Boilermaker players for a full month prior to becoming Dayton's 21st head football coach since 1905. He could use some of the talent he sent to West Lafayette. Tony Mason, another Purdue assistant, should be shocked by the discrepancy in talent at Cincinnati. He will still better the 2-9 finish that finished his predecessor, because Houston and Colorado are off the schedule, and Temple, Tulsa and Southwestern Louisiana are on. Xavier's Tim Dydo passed for 1,568 yards as the Musketeers improved their record to 3-8 after three one-victory seasons in succession. The trouble with being lousy is that no one wants to play you at home. Xavier doesn't have a game on its home field until November 3, and that makes it tough to get good.
Out West, Utah State is displaying quarterback withdrawal symptoms. Twice last year Tony Adams, drafted by the Chargers, threw five touchdown passes in a game. His season totals—204 of 351 for a .581 completion average, 2,797 yards, 22 touchdowns and only nine interceptions—would make great career statistics for most college quarterbacks. Phil Krueger, who returns to the Aggies as head coach after being an assistant back in 1963, is fortunate not to have to play Texas and Oklahoma as the Aggies did last year. With a decidedly weaker team in hand, Krueger may decide that mere possession of the Beehive Boot—symbolic of the state rivalry with Utah, Weber State and Brigham Young—is of greater importance.