1. MISSISSIPPI (8-0)
2. LSU (8-1-1)
3. ALABAMA (8-1)
Everybody, including Miami Coach Andy Gustafson, anticipated a passing duel between his George Mira and Northwestern's Tom Myers. Gustafson even dreamed up a special defense for the occasion—a five-man line with three linebackers. Mira passed as well as he could (11 for 25) in the face of Northwestern's furious rush, but Myers passed only occasionally and, instead, sent his backs, led by Dick McCauley and Steve Murphy, thundering over Miami's bruised tackles. Despite the frightful hammering, Miami stubbornly stayed with its defense and absorbed a 29-7 shellacking for its trouble.
If North Carolina never sees Duke's Bill Reynolds again that will be soon enough. A year ago he beat the Tar Heels 6-3 with two field goals. Saturday he beat them again, this time with three field goals. With Duke trailing surging North Carolina 14-13 and 49 seconds to play, Reynolds calmly kicked a 20-yarder to give the Blue Devils the game, 16-14, and the Atlantic Coast title.
Clemson, too, needed a field goal to win. Rod Rogers booted the ball over from the 14 (for the second time) in the closing minutes to beat South Carolina 20-17. Maryland got one from John Hannigan but didn't really need it as it whipped Virginia 40-18. Frisky sophomores did most of the damage, with some help from senior Tom Brown, who ran back an intercepted pass 100 yards to snuff out a late Virginia rally. North Carolina State trounced poor Wake Forest 27-3.
Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia Tech were all idle, but LSU's Bengals sharpened their claws for the Cotton Bowl by romping over Tulane 38-3. Auburn, with no place to go come New Year's, blew a 14-point lead and muddled to a 14-14 tie with perky Florida State. Kentucky's Charlie Bradshaw was so moved that he wept when his hardened but skimpy squad, down to 26 able bodies, upset Tennessee 12-10. Clark Mayfield's 19-yard field goal, with 16 seconds to go, brought on Bradshaw's happy tears.
VMI celebrated Thanksgiving Day with a scrambling, come-from-behind 14-9 victory over Virginia Tech and, for its efforts, won the Southern Conference championship.
THE TOP THREE:
1. WISCONSIN (9-1)
2. MINNESOTA (6-2-1)
3. OKLAHOMA (7-2)
Oklahoma's Bud Wilkinson is a man who likes his football hard and crunchy and that's the kind of game Nebraska's Bob Devaney was prepared to defend against. But Devaney was in for a surprise—and a 34-6 licking. Quarterback Monte Deere—when he wasn't steering sophomore Fullback Jim Grisham through the middle on trap plays—passed over the puzzled Huskers for three touchdowns as Oklahoma won the Big Eight title and a trip to the Orange Bowl. Groaned Devaney: "...and we were concerned with their running game. We should have shot the air out of the football."