For the first time in Joe Kuharich's three years at Notre Dame, the only thing green about his team will be the uniforms it wears. Properly hardened by several seasons of adversity, the Irish are ready to march through a traditionally tough schedule to national rating. The team's depth—there are at least two experienced men at each line position—should guarantee a good season even if injuries are frequent, as they have been in the past. Guards Norb Roy and Nick Buoniconti and Center Tom Hecomovich provide a really hard core in the line, but the men who are going to make Kuharich's straight-T offense work are Halfback Paul Costa (230 pounds) and Fullback Jim Snow-den (235 pounds) and Quarterback Daryle Lamonica passing in the flat to truly fast Halfbacks George Sefcik and Angelo Dabiero.
CONCLUSION: The Irish lost four games by a touchdown, once by a point. They shudder at the thought, and so should their opponents.
After three years in Athens Coach Bill Hess has developed his lines of supply and there will be no slackening off by the Bobcats, who last year won their first championship. To compensate for the loss of last year's entire backfield, Hess has in Tackles Chuck Nickoson (265 pounds) and Ted Stute (225) and Guards Dick Schultz (235) and Allen Miller (219) some of the nation's best defensive linemen. There will be a good new backfield, too, led by Quarterback Roger Merb, who, during a brief trial last season, demonstrated a flair for the dramatic. A good ball handler, he completed only seven passes, but three of those were for touchdowns. Complementing him in an opened-up offense will be Fullback Harl Evans, a linebacker who as a substitute in 1960 compiled a 5.5-yard rushing average.
CONCLUSION: Ohio, battling to keep the title, will be on even terms with at least three other teams. This may be one too many.
Woody Hayes is said to resist change as diligently as a Tory at a Birch Society meeting. That is only partly true. While his huge, graceless teams seem like throwbacks to the cloud-of-dusters of pre-World War II days, they also throw the ball (50% pass completions, 814 yards in 1960) and take off on an uncommon number of dangerous end sweeps. The Buckeye T requires the quarterback to run with the power of a fullback and the grace of a scatback as well as pass. Tom Matte, who did all three superbly last year, is gone, but Hayes has converted two fullbacks, John Mummey and Bill Mrukowski, to quarter, and while they learn should give work at last to Halfbacks Bob Klein and Ed Ulmer (they carried 30 times last year), and to Fullback Bob Ferguson (he carried 160 times for 853 yards and 13 TDs in 1960).
CONCLUSION: Perfectionist Hayes's teams seldom make mistakes. Their ungiving defense will keep them up among the leaders.
Fast backs and a mean, ungiving defense were the Sooner trademark during 14 years as Big Eight champions. In 1960 the line melted, the runners slowed and the result was disaster. Prideful Oklahoma has no intention of repeating that dismal season. Coach Bud Wilkinson has gathered about him a line that can rout runners and spill passers with all the oldtime arrogance—linemen like Guard Karl Milstead, Tackle Bill White and Center John Tatum. Unfortunately, there is only Halfback Mike McClellan, who scored five touchdowns in 1960—and perhaps the promising sophomore Quarterback Bill Van Burkleo—to move the split-T to the choppy, rapid-fire gains of yore. The other backs, Fullback Phil Lohmann and sophomore Halfback John Smith, owe their team positions to their sharp defensive skills.