One day when Mike Love was a first-grader in Big Spring, Texas his teacher sent a note home with him from school. "Dear Mrs. Love," it read, "Mike is too rough for the other children in his grade in sports, though he doesn't intend to be." Love, now Abilene Christian College's fullback and probably the best small-college sophomore in the country, never stopped being too rough for his classmates. Says Coach Jim Cashion of Odessa's Permian High School, where Love was unanimous all-state, "I'm not sure we would have beaten anybody without him." Permian won six, lost four. As a freshman at Abilene Christian last year. Love gained 396 yards and had numerous pro scouts calling him one of the best running backs in the country. Love starts quickly, changes direction quickly, thinks quickly. ACC Coach Les Wheeler explains, "He has good speed and terrific balance." The quietly confident Love has more than one kind of balance. He can play first-rate defense, punt consistently over 46 yards and—in Coach Wheeler's words—"whether you're talkin' football or anything else, you can't go wrong on him." An almost A student in high school and a strong B at Abilene, Love tries to minimize his accomplishments and his seriousness—except about football. "Love's in love," winks his coach, "and engaged to be married November 20. That's one week after the season ends."