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September 22, 1958
Auburn, Clemson and Miami will be whistling in Dixie
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September 22, 1958

The South

Auburn, Clemson and Miami will be whistling in Dixie

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(1957 scores):

SEPT. 27

LSU at Mobile, N (0-28)

OCT. 4

Vanderbilt at Birmingham, N (6-6)

OCT. 11

Furman, N (no game)

OCT. 18

at Tennessee (0-14)

OCT. 25

at Mississippi State (13-25)

NOV. 1

Georgia (14-13)

NOV. 7

at Tulane, N (0-7)

NOV. 15

at Georgia Tech (7-10)

NOV. 22

Memphis State (no game)

NOV. 29

Auburn at Birmingham (0-40)

A long with the Midwest the South has been the prideful parent of some of the best football teams in the nation through the years. No other area in the country currently produces and supports as much good football or as many good football conferences, and as a result the South frequently lacks enough good homegrown football players to fill the lineups. Periodic raids to the north have helped alleviate talent shortages, however, and it is not uncommon to find Dixie elevens dotted with young men from the hills of West Virginia or the mines of Pennsylvania.

Although the southern recruiters have well-organized posses prowling through the North, you can be sure they leave no stone unturned or high school unexplored in the ceaseless hunt through their own area for the kind of brawn that excels in football. This frequently leads to some pretty enthusiastic competition for the young athletes.

All of which brings to mind the case of Auburn, the 1957 national football champion as determined by the Associated Press poll of sports-writers. Alabama Polytechnic Institute, as Auburn is more formally known, makes its home in some sparsely populated farm country just over the border from Georgia. There are no particular natural attractions to lure football players to Auburn, Ala., so it followed that attractions must be created. The Auburn football team speaks for the success of this venture. In the past six or seven years quiet little Auburn has evolved from farm community to football capital. But in so doing, it has had to pay a price. Twice in the last three years Auburn has been caught and penalized by the NCAA for illegal recruiting. The last penalty, a three-year probation which bans the Tigers from bowl appearances and television revenues, was imposed only a few days before the first ban was to be lifted.

Getting caught does not necessarily have an adverse effect on the caliber of football a team will play, and this year Auburn is again favored to win the Southeastern Conference championship. Mississippi and Mississippi State figure to give the Tigers the most trouble in the SEC race, particularly since both these teams have the incentive to try to earn an invitation to play in one of the bowl games that is forbidden to Auburn.

Let us now move a hundred or so miles northwest of Auburn to Tuscaloosa, the quiet town that houses the University of Alabama, once the most awesome football academy in all the South. Lately, Alabama's football has fallen off, so the renowned coaching services of Paul (Bear) Bryant were retained as a remedy.

When Bryant pulled up his stakes at Texas A&M and breezed into Tuscaloosa with an air conditioner under each arm, Auburn's Coach Ralph (Shug) Jordan became noticeably less serene. Bryant is a tireless recruiter, and now he will be doing his recruiting along the same highways and byways that Jordan has had to himself the past several years.

The first thing Bear did when he returned to his old alma mater was buy a house. It was a big, $50,000 house, much more imposing than the one that his predecessor, J. B. (Ears) Whitworth only rented. Then he tore up the football offices on the first floor of the men's gym. He made six rooms where there had been eight, redesigning it so there would be an attractive reception area for a pretty young brunette to sit in and receive his callers. He chucked out Whitworth's wooden furniture, replacing it with modern stuff made out of metal tubes and light green real leather. Then came the air conditioners. The two he brought from Texas were installed in his own spacious office. With money from his own pocket he bought seven more, installed six of them in his assistants' offices and a seventh in the coaches' dressing room. Now, prepared to think big, the Bear will be out to woo Alabama's finest football talent away from Auburn.

However, Alabama will not be a championship contender this season. Not even Bear Bryant could perform that kind of miracle. But watch the Crimson Tide develop into the kind of tough, unrelenting team that has always marked Bryant's coaching.

The Atlantic Coast Conference, the South's other large confederacy of football-proud colleges, should likewise provide plenty of exciting football. Since its inception in 1953, the ACC has taken a back seat to the Southeastern Conference. But this year the ACC need not take a back seat to anyone. Clemson, South Carolina's old military college now turned civilian, will probably be the classiest of this group and is a definite contender for national honors. Its fate will be decided early for Clemson meets North Carolina, its No. 1 rival for the championship, on September 27. Three years ago Coach Jim Tatum, after years of outstanding success at Maryland, returned to North Carolina, where he himself had played as an undergraduate, and the seeds he has been planting are now ready to bring fruit at Chapel Hill.

While not enjoying the stature of either the SEC or the ACC, the Southern Conference, the South's oldest athletic group, contains several of the nation's better teams. Bo Sherman, the head coach at George Washington, sizes up the Southern Conference this way: "Picking West Virginia is like picking the Yankees."

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