CONCLUSION: Cradle of big-time coaches, Miami will play its usual smart game, only in the middle of the conference, not at the top.
The Wolverines' Big Ten title chances may have been done in by a baseball bat—End Bill Freehan's, to be specific. A heavy hitter as well as an All-America prospect, Freehan forsook football for the Detroit Tigers and a fat bonus. His departure leaves Bump Elliott with another hole in his line, which is porous everywhere except at Captain George Mans's end position and at right tackle, where the Big Ten's best, 235-pound Jon Schopf, returns. However, Elliott, who keeps a busy bench, has experienced reserves in Center Todd Grant (230 pounds), Tackle John Houtman (235) and Guard Lee Hall (220). In the strong backfield there is speed and passing, and Halfbacks Dave Raimey and Ben McRae, a hurdler in the off season, may be a step ahead of any other set of backs in the conference.
CONCLUSION: Michigan begins the season a stride behind Iowa but Elliott's imaginative coaching could put the Wolverines ahead.
Coach Duffy Daugherty literally had the Spartans in chains this summer. His players wore weighted bracelets around their ankles and wrists. The theory was that when their fetters were removed the players would be stronger and their movements quicker. Result? Men who weren't fast before still aren't. This is the only drawback to an otherwise typical Daugherty team. With 26 lettermen back, only two sophomores will break into the offensive and defensive platoons, 6-foot-4, 220-pound End Matt Snorton and 175-pound Linebacker Charley Migyanka. Strictly a ball-control team, the Spartans will have Gary Ballman (a 5.7-yard rushing average in 1960), Carl Charon (5.6) and Ron Hatcher (6.1) pounding up dust behind 212-pound End Art Brandstatter, Tackle Jim Bobbitt (235) and Guard Ed Budde (240).
CONCLUSION: With its rumbling runners, State could be good if Quarterback Pete Smith proves a capable passer.
The Biblical prophecy is seven lean years followed by seven fat. Coach Murray Warmath, however, struggled through only six harsh years before winning the conference championship. He may have triumphed too early—there shall be no fulfillment in 1961 for this solid but hardly exciting team. It is, in fact, the Gophers' lack of dash and daring that will reduce them prematurely to hard days. Heavy-legged Halfbacks Bill Munsey (196 pounds), Dave Mulholland (192) and Judge Dickson (210) can virtually guarantee three yards a try, but that means a kick on fourth down, and Quarterback Sandy Stephens, although a stirring runner, further limits the split-T with his sprayed passes. Warmath does have the usual ponderous Minnesota line, although this year, led by Tackle Bob Bell, it is a step faster than usual.
CONCLUSION: Warmath's best hope is a softer first-half schedule which may give him a chance to look around for new means to win.