THE DOPE: The Nittany Lions should post a winning record for the 20th straight year. Coach Rip Engle has lost only seven lettermen but must reshuffle his line to compensate for the loss of his first five ends. Maury Schleicher moves from fullback to end, opposite Norm Neff. Center Charley Ruslavage and Tackle Bill Wehmer are now guards. Captain Steve Garban is center and Joe Bohart and Andy Stynchula are tackles. Andy Moconyi, the Lions' third-best pass receiver last year, has been moved from wingback to fullback. Al Jacks heads a trio of returning quarterbacks. Jacks completed 51% of his passes for 673 yards and five touchdowns. Understudy Richie Lucas' arm accounted for 426 yards and four scores. Bob Scrabis is also a good passer. Engle's halfbacks include Dave Kasperian, Penn State's top ground-gainer and scorer; Eddie Caye; and Bruce Gilmore, leading rusher in 1956 who sat out most of '57 with a knee injury. Ten opponents enter the Lions' den this season and Pittsburgh, Army, West Virginia and Holy Cross may be the only ones to escape unscathed.
COLORS: Blue and gold
BASIC OFFENSE: Split-T
1957 RECORD: Won 4, lost 6
LETTERMEN RETURNING: 19 of 30
WATCH FOR: Guard John Guzik, one of the game's better linebackers
THE DOPE: The Panthers are a rough and aggressive team that appears to be one year away from greatness. With six of his 11 starters back, Coach John Michelosen expects to unveil a tough defense and a wide-open attack featuring the running of Fullback Fred Riddle, Pitt's leading ground-gainer. The Panthers, traditionally a power-minded team, will pass more this year, with Quarterbacks Ivan Toncic (24 out of 50 for 436 yards and five TDs) and Bill Kaliden (40 of 93 for 519 yards) doing the throwing. Dick Haley and Joe Scisly, who last year gathered better than 700 yards between them, will be back at the halfback stations. With the graduation of such stars as Center Charley Brueckman, Tackle Jim McCusker and End Dick Scherer, the line will now be cemented together by Guards John Guzik and Ed Michaels. Art Gob and Jim Zanos are the front-line ends. If all of these, along with Tackles Ken Montanari and Bill Lindner, perform as expected the Panthers will be well on the plus side of a schedule that ranks among the nation's most testing.
COLORS: Orange and black
BASIC OFFENSE: Single wing
1957 RECORD: Won 7, lost 2
LETTERMEN RETURNING: 16 of 29
WATCH FOR: A strong attack, starring Fred Tiley and Dan Sachs
THE DOPE: The Tigers scratched out a 7-and-2 record for the third straight time last year, devouring all but Colgate and Yale en route to their first championship of the Ivy League round robin. But Coach Dick Colman, who succeeded the late Charlie Caldwell at the start of last season, is confronted now with rebuilding a line and replacing Blocking Back John Sapoch. If he can also find adequate new tackles and guards, and Gene Locks develops at Sapoch's old position, the Tigers should repeat. Locks stepped in for the injured Sapoch in four games last year and did a most commendable job. Fullback Fred Tiley, Tailback Dan Sachs and Wingback Mike Ippolito give the Tigers plenty of offensive punch. Tiley led the team with 52 points and 592 yards rushing last season. Sachs, who sparked the Tigers in their title-deciding game with Dartmouth, was No. 2 man for the season with 48 points and a 6.0 rushing average. Princeton will have no trouble moving the ball, but the Tigers, as in '57, may have difficulty stopping other teams, particularly on passing.
COLORS: Blue and white
BASIC OFFENSE: Split-T
1957 RECORD: Won 5, lost 2, tied 1
LETTERMEN RETURNING: 10 of 19
WATCH FOR: The pinpoint passing of Quarterback Roger Pearson
THE DOPE: The Rams are looking forward to another good year with a solid offense directed by two all-conference backs. But whether they're good enough to repeat the tie for the conference crown achieved last year depends on a questionable defense. Inexperience could hurt in the line where virtually every position is manned by a reserve or sophomore. Coach Herb Maack's big problems are the gaps left by Jim Gerlach, a leading Yankee Conference guard, and End Bob Mairs, the Rams' best pass receiver. Yet, in the final analysis, Rhode Island's success rests largely on the shoulders of Quarterback Roger Pearson, who is weak defensively but a master of the option play. Last year he completed 35 of 68 passes for 630 yards and four touchdowns. A sophomore, John Rollins, and a junior, Don Brown, will team up as halfbacks. Rollins is a strong and shifty runner who led the freshman team to its finest season in years. Brown is a powerful-running ex-Marine who is good on drive plays. Bill Poland, a nifty blocker and linebacker, will carry the load at fullback.