The outlook is more pleasant at IOWA STATE. All-America Tom Vaughn, who last season made hash of Big Eight defenses with his pure line smashing (for 795 yards) from fullback, has moved to tailback, and now he will be turning corners as well as hammering middles. With some help from Mike Cox and Tony Baker, a flashy 210-pound sophomore fullback who hits like a skull cracker, and from a rough interior line that features 248-pound Tackle Norm Taylor and 222-pound Center John Berrington, Vaughn could put Coach Clay Stapleton's team into the Big Eight first division this season.
Oklahoma State, Colorado and Kansas State entertain no such hopes. Oklahoma State Coach Phil Cutchin, who likes his players nasty, does not have nearly enough of them, and there is an abyss at quarterback. Colorado, still rebuilding under Coach Eddie Crowder, will have to depend largely on three sophomore backs—Quarterback Hale Irwin, Oklahoma transfer George Reese and Terry McCarthy—and that is risky. Kansas State, weary of the dark Big Eight cellar, has adopted a unique approach to its troubles. Instead of firing the coach, K-State gave Doug Weaver a raise and one more assistant, increased the number of football scholarships and raised the student athletic fee from $5.50 to $15 to finance the plan. It may work, eventually. Meanwhile, Weaver will have to get along as best he can with what he has—a handful of eager backs and some diligent but mediocre players in the line.
The have-nots in the Mid-American Conference are beginning to stir, MARSHALL has the offense to cause trouble. TOLEDO, for so long the lowest totem on the pole, is showing signs of life under Coach Frank Lauterbur.
Kent State and Western Michigan look for some improvement under new coaches this year. At Kent State, Coach Leo Strang has moved up from Massillon in Ohio. At Western Michigan former Army assistant Bill Doolittle has taken over.
Good passers and runners abound in the Missouri Valley. Maybe the best passer anywhere is TULSA'S Jerry Rhome, a refugee from SMU, who could throw the Hurricanes right into the championship. WICHITA has lost its splendid passing team of Quarterback Henry Schichtle and End Bob Long, so Coach Chelo Huerta will have to look to his runners for action. CINCINNATI, last year's co-champion (with Wichita), has the fastest set of backs in the conference. Quarterback Brig Owens (called The Brig O, naturally) is an accurate passer who runs the option like a halfback.
Independent XAVIER, with Halfback Walt Mainer leading an aggressive attack, has high hopes, but it will be a long season for DAYTON and DETROIT.