HEIDELBERG (Tiffin, Ohio): Around the 14-team Ohio Conference, where Heidelberg's Student Princes have annually done most of the dancing, rakish new rivals like Muskingum, Ohio Wesleyan, Otterbein and Wittenberg are cutting in on the victory waltz. Coach Bob Winterburn must replace six starting offensive linemen who graduated, along with four quarterbacks. But three small but hard-running backs—Steve Scott, Paul Bindas and Jim Pannozzo—return, and opponents will have trouble getting past Tackles Glenn Fischer (225 pounds) and Larry Good (235), as well as seniors Bob Brater, Dale Kriz and Jim Martin. Still, a slightly muted musical year at old Heidelberg.
HILLSDALE (Hillsdale, Mich.): After winning the Michigan Intercollegiate crown seven times in a row, and 15 times in some 60 years, the Dales have been kicked out of the conference—or have withdrawn, if you will—for participating in a Bowl game. Hillsdale is suddenly an independent, and Coach Muddy Waters is concerned about the move up to a more difficult schedule. However, over 80 candidates, including a rousing 33 lettermen, have appeared from the total (coed) student body of 700, so Waters' career record of 58 wins, seven losses and a tie is not likely to suffer too much in 1961. The offense is paced by speedy Halfbacks Bill Knapp and Tom Ridley and passers Peter Stoner and Chuck Redding. The defense is selfish, especially when Tackles Jim Richendollar (255 pounds) and Neil Thomas (240) and Guard Gene McFadden are involved.
HOFSTRA ( Hempstead, N.Y.): Ever since Coach Howdy Myers guided his 1956 team to a 7-3 record with a squad of only 20 men, it has been clear that the Flying Dutchmen are not a team to be taken lightly. But this is a "heavy" year—the roster numbers 70—and Hofstra may have its best team ever. A big line features 225-pound Tackles Pete Carew and Ted Poliskin, Guards Dick Caproni (210) and Tim Gannon (200). Quarterback Ron Zoia has good receivers in Dick Cooney, Terry Kosens and John Muccillo.
JUNIATA (Huntingdon, Pa.): The Indians have lost only four games in eight years while winning 55 and tying two, but Albright has their number. The Lions ended Juniata's 27-game win streak in 1959, then snapped a 34-game home string last year. Although Coach Ken Bunn's 1961 edition is sure to ring up another winning season (the 14th straight), it is due for some bumps from such as Gettysburg, Westminster and, of course, Albright. The starting line is strong from end to end, but the backs are too small, which may cause 205-pound sophomore Grey Berrier, the team's best player, to shift from guard to fullback.
LENOIR RHYNE ( Hickory, N.C.): Having nudged Humboldt State, 15-14, in the national small-college championship Holiday Bowl, the Bears might be expected to hibernate on their laurels. No such thing. Coach Clarence Stasavich's teams have lost only four games since 1954 (his lifetime record: 111-36-6) and they will be out foraging for their seventh North State Conference title in a row and, possibly, their second Holiday Bowl appearance. Their line is "better than last year's," Stasavich says, although he has fewer men. Tackle Ed Haupt and End Ronnie Frye are the main reasons why the Bruins are all smiles up front, while the backfield is set with Tailback Tony McClamrock, an improving passer, and runners Dick Kemp and Marcus Midgett.
LOUISIANA TECH (Ruston, La.): An 86-yard punt return in the closing minutes brought Tech a 17-14 victory over Southeast Louisiana and a tie for the Gulf States title. This year Coach Joe Aillet, who has kept his Bulldogs in the top 10 of America's small colleges for three years, doubts if any team, even his own, will stop Southeast—but he is ready to try. Two well-balanced units will alternate, but neither is as strong as 1960's first team, which sent three men up to the pros. Quarterback Mickey Slaughter, a fine passer, has lost his five best receivers, but has Tackle Herschel Vinyard, the team's best lineman, Guard Don Tippitt, and a big sophomore center, John Robert Williamson, to protect him while he looks for new receivers.
MUSKINGUM (New Concord, Ohio): Cannonball Cooper, the most valuable player for three years in the Ohio Conference, first-string Little All-America fullback and the nation's leading scorer (152 points), is gone. Cooper's departure would be cause enough for any team to suffer a depression. Any team, that is, except Muskingum, which has three other all-conference starters returning—End Clyde Benninghoff, Tackle Charles Kruzan and corner man Ron Dierks—plus a set of halfbacks like Sam Miller and Dave Cunningham, who averaged 7.2 and 8.0 yards per carry last fall. Coach Ed Sherman's Fighting Muskies are only slightly weaker than the undefeated crew that outscored nine foes by a resounding 425 to 39 in 1960.
ST. BENEDICT'S (Atchison, Kans.): A monster defensive line that averages 230 pounds from tackle to tackle and an offensive wall that is only 15 pounds lighter should help Coach Ivan Schottel's team squash the rest of the Central Intercollegiate Conference. Quarterback Corky Jacobs has plenty of time to pass or to hand off to backs like Ron Lewis and John McGlinn, who were worth five yards a try last year. Lewis and End Dennis Cawley are the best receivers, while the line's meanest blockers are 220-pound Tackle Larry Kaminsky and 230-pound Center Bill Maus.
SAN FRANCISCO STATE ( San Francisco): A 21-18 loss to Humboldt State ended the Gators' three-year domination of the Far Western Conference, and a perfect record as well. Enrollment at State has ballooned to 12,500, but football prospects are going the other way. New Coach Vic Rowen lost eight starters from the offensive team and four from an excellent defensive unit that yielded just seven touchdowns in 10 games. He does have some exceptional first-liners in Halfbacks Jesse Racines and Tom Manney, Guards Al Abraham and Neil Laughlin and End Jim Collopy.
SOUTHERN ILLINOIS ( Carbondale, Ill.): Saluki Coach Carmen Piccone is feeling fully protected these days. He has a pair of 245-pound tackles, Sam Silas and Gene Williams, a smart, strong guard named Paul Brostrom and Amos Bullocks, a halfback who gained 996 yards for a 5.4-yard average in 1960. SIU's unusual size has led Piccone to plan a series of power plays, which will be balanced by the running passes of Quarterback Ron Winter.