THE DOPE: The Tigers must be favored to repeat again even with stern opposition from the rest of the Southeastern Conference. Five others, including Mississippi, will make it tough for the national champions, but Coach Ralph (Shug) Jordan has nearly a carbon copy of the great team that whipped 10 straight opponents last year while yielding fewer yards per game and fewer points than any team in the country. Auburn lost All-America End Jimmy Phillips and leading scorer Billy Atkins; but a seasoned group of veterans return, including southpaw Quarterback Lloyd Nix and elusive Halfback Tommy Lorino. Lamar Rawson handles the other halfback post and Ronnie Robbs succeeds Atkins at fullback. Chief defenders on a starting line that averages 222 pounds are End Jerry Wilson, Guard Zeke Smith and Center Jackie Burkett. Jordan has outstanding team speed and depth, too, with backs Jim Pettus and Ed Dyas among the most promising newcomers. The Tigers may keep their title this year but can't go bowling until they complete another three-year probation period.
COLORS: Blue and while
BASIC OFFENSE: Split-T
1957 RECORD: Won 5, lost 4, tied 1
LETTERMEN RETURNING: 22 of 30
WATCH FOR: One of the best ends in the South, Paul Maguire
THE DOPE: The Bulldogs will be improved but so will the opposition, and another third-place finish in the Southern Conference may be out of reach for Coach Eddie Teague's players. The Citadel has lost only eight of its 30 lettermen and will be rich in experience at all but tackle and guard positions. End Paul Maguire and Tackle Dick Cleveland are key men in a big, fast line, and Fullback Barry Thomas is the main threat of a powerful running backfield averaging 205 pounds. Thomas lugs 225 pounds but has good speed for h's size. Jack Griffin, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound junior, can run from the option and throw the long pass well. Maguire and Bob Saunders will be his prime targets, although Halfbacks Bill Hughes and Joe Chefalo are good receivers. The Bulldogs have a fairly stout defense but the deep men need experience. Joe Keller will work at center. Team speed should be good and the running and passing better balanced. The Citadel will meet only one serious contender for the Southern Conference title, VMI, and should enjoy a winning season.
COLORS: Purple and orange
BASIC OFFENSE: T and split-T
1957 RECORD: Won 7, lost 3
LETTERMEN RETURNING: 19 of 30
WATCH FOR: The long, scoring passes of Harvey White
THE DOPE.-The Tigers are making a strong bid to recapture the Atlantic Coast Conference championship they lost last year to North Carolina State. Coach Frank Howard has an all-veteran back-field directed by Quarterback Harvey White, an excellent passer, and a better-than-average line keystoned by Center Bill Thomas. If there's any weakness, it's the lack of depth at guard and tackle, but plenty of sophomore beef should remedy that. Last year, White's 11 touchdown passes and 1,038 yards total offense set conference records, as he covered 841 yards with his 46 completions in 95 attempts. White will probably be teamed in the backfield by Fullback Rudy Hayes, Charlie Home, the team's leading ground-gainer, and George Usry. Coach Howard has lost nine men from his first two lines but will rebuild around a hard core of veterans such as Thomas, Ends Ray Masneri and Wyatt Cox, Tackles Jim Padgett and Harold Olson and Guards Jim Payne and (if his neck injury is sufficiently healed) Jim McCanless. This team could be great.
COLORS: Black and red
BASIC OFFENSE: T
1957 RECORD: Won 5, lost 3
LETTERMEN RETURNING: 15 of 22
WATCH FOR: Brilliant all-round play of Dave Warden
THE DOPE: The Wildcats have lost some real topnotchers but have sufficient size and experience to break even. Coach Bill Dole is forced to switch his leading ground-gainer, Fullback Dave Warden, to the center spot vacated by Bill Price. The 210-pound Warden is rated one of the best linebackers in the Southern Conference. His backfield replacement is Dave McCullough. Another major shift is that of Craig Wall, the 'Cats' top receiver, from end to halfback opposite Paul Barbee. Dole's quarterback is Charlie Benson, a left-handed thrower who completed 57% of his passes for 582 yards and five touchdowns and also a defensive whiz who intercepted nine aerials. Paul Biggers, whom Coach Dole regards as the best guard in the conference, is the main strength in the forward wall. Another lineman to watch is End Hal Westervelt, the strongest man on the squad. Davidson's running will be good, the passing fair. Dole lacks back-field depth, and his second team is practically all sophomore, so it looks like a second-division year.