THE DOPE: The Sun Devils, who play eight of their 10 games by moonlight, appear to have too much strength for the rest of the Border Conference. Line Coach Frank Kush, succeeding Missouri-bound Dan Devine, loses only three starters from the squad which ranked with Auburn as one of the two unbeaten, untied majors of '57. Hardest to replace is Halfback Bobby Mulgado, the country's second-best scorer (93 points) behind Teammate Leon Burton. With 250-lb. Guard Ken Kerr as the behemoth in a first-rate line, Kush is three deep at every position but left tackle and right end. The Sun Devils' debut in their new stadium with Burton at right half and John Hangartner at quarterback. Burton won both the national scoring and rushing championships in '57 with 16 touchdowns for 96 points and 1,126 yards rushing. His 9.62-yard rushing average was also a new mark. Hangartner completed 61% of his passes for 1,203 yards and 14 touchdowns. Ball Hawk Bill Spanko also is back, with star Guard Al Carr. Arizona State should be in the national spotlight.
COLORS: Cardinal and white
BASIC OFFENSE: Multiple T
1957 RECORD: Won 6, lost 4
LETTERMEN RETURNING: 13 of 25
WATCH FOR: Fast and powerful Donnie Stone at fullback
THE DOPE: The Razorbacks have lost their entire starting line plus first- and second-string quarterbacks and fullbacks. With a new coach also introducing a tricky new system, it may take most of the season for Arkansas to jell. Ex-Missouri Coach Frank Broyles—one of the most brilliant young football strategists in the nation—will use the multiple offense to spring loose a fleet of fast backs and open the defense with a fair passing game. James Monroe, a crafty junior, could be a real sleeper at quarterback, while ex-Halfback Donnie Stone might give Arkansas its fifth straight all-Southwest fullback. Breakaway Runner Billy Kyser, whose two touchdowns spoiled a perfect record for Mississippi, returns to halfback with Don Horton. The Razor-backs are fast up front, too, but very thin at all spots. Barry Switzer is an outstanding replacement for Jay Donathan at center. Billy Michael has been shifted from guard to tackle and John Boles from tackle to guard. Billy Tranum, an excellent pass receiver, heads the ends. The Porkers are good enough but not for the title.
COLORS: Green and gold
BASIC OFFENSE: Multiple T
1957 RECORD: Won 3, lost 6, tied 1
LETTERMEN RETURNING: 12 of 34
WATCH FOR: The line blasting of Fullback Larry Hickman
THE DOPE: The Bears lose 22 lettermen and all but two of their starters and are picked by the Southwest to finish last again. But Coach Sam Boyd still has alltime Baylor Rusher Larry Hickman and is hoping to build an offense around him that could mean anything from third to fifth place. Hickman, a 6-foot-2, 212-pounder, is regarded by many as the most powerful runner in the Southwest. Halfback Farrell Fisher is the only other starter back from a '57 squad which could not pull off a single conference victory. He'll work opposite Billy Pavliska, who played in '56 but was scholastically ineligible last year. The return of Pavliska and the help of sophomores like Elbert Whorton will give the Bears a little more speed and take some of the burden off Hickman. Replacing graduated Doyle Traylor at quarterback will be Buddy Humphrey, Traylor's 1957 understudy. His running is good, passing only fair. Big men of Boyd's one fairly good line are Guard Charley Horton and Tackles Paul Dickson and Billy Joe Kelley. The Bears are rebuilding.
COLORS: Purple and gold
BASIC OFFENSE: Slot T
1957 RECORD: Won 5, lost 5
LETTERMEN RETURNING: 21 of 32
WATCH FOR: Another razzle-dazzle passing attack a la Baugh
THE DOPE: The Cowboys have lost the best arm in the country and must develop another passer in order to match points with some of the toughies they meet. Coach Sammy Baugh, the old Washington Redskin slinger, will miss the nation's No. 1 passer, Quarterback Ken Ford, and must turn to his No. 2 man, Johnny Jones. The latter attempted only 30 passes last year but completed 17 of them for 217 yards. Jones is also a good field general and needs to be with the pro offense—split ends, flankers, etc.—Baugh has whipped up. Hal Stephens may be relief man for Jones. Tearing up the middle after Cowboy passing opens up the defense will be Fullback Pete Hart, a small but powerful runner whose 669 yards made him the team's leading ground-gainer. Dewey Bohling provides more power, and Earl Brown adds speed in the backfield. The line will be strong between tackles and will feature Center Carroll Dickson, Guard Joe Biggs and Tackles Ted Edmondson and Burley Polk. The nocturnal nomads will be tough if their passing develops.