Coach John Bridgers, who revived the forward pass in the Southwest Conference, by now must have proved to the doubting Texans that you can win with it. Not that Baylor has forsaken running—it used 433 ground plays to 205 pass plays in 1960—but the Bears are willing to pass perilously close to their own goal lines. One reason is that they have the backs to correct any serious errors. Quarterbacks Ronnie Stanley (75 completions, five touchdowns in 1960) and Bobby Ply (4 TDs in 29 completions) can run, too, or they can pitch out to the authentic All-America, Ronnie Bull, and Ronnie Goodwin, who runs almost as fast as Bull. For the more defense-minded there are End Bobby Lane and Guard Herby Adkins, who should repeat on the all-conference team, and Tackle John Frongillo, who may join them.
CONCLUSION: Baylor should win its first conference title in 37 years, but no pre-season favorite ever wins in the Southwest.
The Cowboys are a pale patch of their former rough, tough selves. Oddly, Coach Howard McChesney has had some excellent players, and will again this year. The trouble is he never seems to have enough good ones at the same time. Last year, for instance, he had Hayseed Stephens, an outstanding quarterback who has departed along with three guards. Now along comes Jim Williams, a 6-foot 4-inch 200-pound rambunctious sophomore who could be brilliant playing the outside game while Fullback Sam Oates handles the inside. But a corral of capable receivers—Oates, End Tom Echols and Halfbacks Williams and Bruce Arrant—will go untested because Quarterback Fred Martinez can't find the mark, especially if he has to dodge the flood of tacklers who are expected to pour through the guards.
CONCLUSION: There is one hope in the line, 265-pound sophomore Tackle Roland Perry, who could help stiffen the defense.
Not long ago Coach Hal Lahar said, "We can play anybody in the United States and welcome the chance." These are brave words for a man facing a schedule like Houston's, but Lahar has a team to prove his point, and this may be the year Houston is recognized nationally among the best. Only at guard has Lahar had to improvise, and here he has excellent material in ex-Fullback Dick Elliott, a more than dependable linebacker. The rest of the line, led by Tackle Murdoch Hooper, Center Dan Birdwell and Guard Joe Bob Isbell, is burly and tough. The strength continues in the wing-T backfield, where Lahar can call on the passing of Quarterback Don Sessions (724 yards on 65 completions in 1960), the running of Halfback Ken Bolin (542 yards for a 7.2 average) or the punting of Halfback Larry Lindsey (38.9 average).
CONCLUSION: More than one prestige team will feel the Cougars' bite but, short of reserves, Houston is still a meow away.