By the somewhat arbitrary decree of the Football Writers' Association of America, there are this fall 112 "major college" football teams in the country. All the rest, some 624 of them, are "small college," a misleading phrase that provides a convenient catchall for enrollments ranging from 300 to 15,000. The small-college category has, in fact, nothing at all to do with a school's size but only with the quality of football competition it schedules.
One need only watch some small-college games to know there is nothing little league about the football. The National Football League certainly didn't think so last winter when it drafted 50 athletes from the small colleges on the reasonable assumption that a few of them will prove as worthy as predecessors like Roosevelt Brown and Andy Robustelli of the Giants; Ed Brown, Willie Galimore and Harlon Hill of the Bears; and John Baker of the Rams.
This year they will be drafting more. In fact, Guard Doug Brown, a 1960 Little All-America who has a year to go at Fresno State, has already been selected by both the Los Angeles Rams and the Dallas Texans. There are three other Little All-Americas (second team) returning this fall who will bear close watching—West Chester (Pa.) State Fullback Joe Iacone, for instance, the stubby, broad-armed young man shown above. As a sophomore Iacone crushed the bid of Northeast Missouri's Dale Mills to win his third straight national rushing crown. Last fall he gained nearly a mile (1,438 yards, to be exact), finishing the season with a wild, 199-yard day against Lock Haven.
Another Little All-America who led all rivals, major college or small, is Dennis Spurlock. While quarterbacking Whitworth College to the Evergreen Conference championship, he completed 135 passes for a national high of 1,892 yards. Spurlock faces a stiff challenge in defending his crown from an old rival at a nearby school, Bob Light of Pacific (Ore.) College, who has twice been the country's No. 2 passer and is back for a third and final try.
Also back is second-team Little All-America Curtis Miranda, the 6-foot-3, 230-pound center from Florida A&M's perennial winners. Miranda is good enough to play on almost any team in the country, as are many other players on leading teams still classified as small. Following are scouting reports on 23 of the best of them.
ALBRIGHT ( Reading, Pa.): Helped by what Coach John Potsklan calls "the largest turnout we've had in years" (37 men), Albright hopes to keep its 13-game winning streak alive. Prospects for another title in the northern college bracket of the Middle Atlantic League, shared last year with Wagner, are excellent, due mainly to the return of Quarterback Gary Chapman, a smart play caller who connects on 58% of his passes. Halfback Tom Olivo is about to become the highest scorer Albright has ever had, Tackle George Reagan solidifies a fast line, and 6-foot-4 End Gary Sheeler will again be Chapman's favorite target.
EAST TEXAS STATE (Commerce, Texas): The weather last spring was simply grand, a welcome change from the year before—when Coach J. V. Sikes's charges were able to scrimmage only six of the allotted 20 days. The difference will be most apparent in the line, where 238-pound Tackle Evaristo Nino holds ample sway. Guard Bob Herring brings size and speed to the one post that may lack depth. Passing is in the capable hands of Quarterback Jim Williams, who threw 800 yards' worth last year and ran for another 438. The backs are fast, especially George Boynton, who has a 5.5-yard average. State won six of its games last year. It should do just as well in 1961.
FLORIDA A&M ( Tallahassee, Fla.): Whew. The Rattlers, who attract good players rather than repel them, struck for 430 yards a game in 1960 while limiting their opponents to only 108. Both totals were second in national small-college rankings. Touchdowns? A&M averaged 52.8 points a game, the closest any team has come to Army's 1944 output of 56. This year, says Coach Jake Gaither, plans are to "open up the offense more," using three squads named Blood, Sweat and Tears. The backs are, to say the least, fleet. Five reserves run 100 yards in under 10 seconds, but none will displace flashy, versatile Halfback Jordan Pope or solid runners William Wilson and Ralph Burns or, finally, Quarterbacks Jim Tullis and Emory Collier. The line, built around Curt Miranda, is excellent. Gaither's teams have won 35 of their last 38 games, three national Negro college championships in four years, and are assured of playing in a Bowl game every year—their own (the Orange Blossom Classic in Miami's Orange Bowl).
FRESNO STATE ( Fresno, Calif.): Football in the California Collegiate Athletic Association, whose member schools have an average enrollment of almost 9,000, becomes stronger each year as entrance requirements at the bigger neighboring schools like Cal and UCLA get tighter. But Fresno Coach Cecil Coleman still manages to stay several touchdowns ahead of his rivals. Seeking their fourth straight CCAA title, the Bulldogs will have 17 lettermen back in the line, five in the backfield, and enough junior-college transfers to fill the draft quota. Quarterback John Anabo may be one of the school's best-ever passers. And in a big line are the league's two best centers, J. R. Williams and Don Brockett, and Little All-America Guard Doug Brown, a mean 6-foot-5 250-pounder drafted two years ago by the pros.
GENEVA ( Beaver Falls, Pa.): In two years Quarterback Joe DeNone has completed 147 of 251 passes for 20 touchdowns. Yet, Coach By Morgan's team has been unable to wrest the Western Pennsylvania Conference crown from the consistently good Westminster Titans, whose 7-6 win over Geneva last fall was a giant step toward their third straight title. Morgan hopes that 1961's unusually fast team, led by Halfback Paul Pupi, and a light but agile line will end Westminster's winning ways.