THE TOP THREE:
1. MISSISSIPPI (7-0-1)
2. AUBURN (8-1)
3. MEMPHIS STATE (8-0-1)
Alabama's Bear Bryant, scouting his next hurdle before meeting Mississippi in the Sugar Bowl, was in the stands when AUBURN played Florida State. He took home at least one bit of useful information: teams should not come at the Tigers on the ground. The Seminoles tried it for a while and came away with minus two yards. They did much better when Quarterback Steve Tensi began to pass, but that was too late. Auburn Quarterback Jimmy Sidle, the nation's leading rusher, had already mashed FSU with 132 yards running, 28 passing and all three touchdowns. The Tigers won 21-15. The bear was suitably impressed, but not quite enough to keep from showing up in Birmingham Saturday. "I still think we can win," he said.
Miami and FLORIDA, two preseason tigers who turned out to be tabbycats, wound up in an offensive free-for-all before the Gators took a 27-21 victory. Florida could not stop George Mira's passes (19 of 42 for 278 yards and three scores), but neither could the Hurricanes hold Hagood Clarke, who broke up the game with a 70-yard touchdown dash in the third quarter.
LSU, still hoping for a bid to somebody's bowl, lit into poor Tulane with a strong running game and clobbered its old rival 20-0. TENNESSEE, with no place to go, was just as destructive in a 19-0 whacking of Kentucky. The single-wing Vols pounded the Wildcats with power thrusts until they neared the goal line, then Hal Wantland and Mallon Faircloth passed over them for all three touchdowns. There was even some late cheer for heretofore winless VANDERBILT. Fullback Bill Waldrup scored three times and Vandy trounced George Washington 31-0.
North Carolina State's Jim Rossi had another one of his good days. He ran for two scores and passed for a third as Wake Forest succumbed 42-0. The win earned the Wolfpack a tic for the Atlantic Coast Conference title with the winner of Thursday's North Carolina-Duke game.
THE TOP THREE:
1. TEXAS (9-0)
2. BAYLOR (5-3)
3. RICE (5-3)