1. ALABAMA (9-0)
2. LSU (6-1-1)
3. FLORIDA STATE (7-1-1)
Not all the incentive was gone in the Southeastern Conference. ALABAMA already had the championship and a place in the Orange Bowl, too, after its 24-7 win over Georgia Tech (page 24), but there were still presents for losers. LSU was almost sure of going to the homebred Sugar Bowl—although it had to get past worrisome Mississippi State. The Bulldogs started trouble on the first play, as sophomore Marcus Rhoden took off on a 76-yard scoring sprint. LSU, however, came back on Billy Ezell's two touchdown passes to Doug Moreau to win 14-10.
Two notable SEC failures won. MISSISSIPPI finally had one of those days Coach Johnny Vaught dreamed about last spring. Jim Weatherly completed 11 passes for 126 yards, the defense pounced on three Tennessee fumbles and blocked a kick, and Ole Miss turned them into touchdowns to beat the Vols 30-0. Georgia Coach Vince Dooley, who used to be an assistant at AUBURN, gave his old buddies a shock with a tackle-eligible pass play, but it was not quite enough to upset the Tigers. Tucker Frederickson blasted the Bulldogs for 101 yards and Auburn took the game 14-7. Kentucky, expecting a flood of passes from BAYLOR, got a smashing running game instead and lost 17-15.
Florida's independents had a ball for themselves. FLORIDA STATE'S Magnificent Seven choked off North Carolina State's running game, leaving the distressed Wolfpack with just six yards rushing. Meanwhile, Quarterback Steve Tensi and Flanker Fred Biletnikoff teamed up on two touchdown passes and State romped 28-6. MIAMI'S Bob Biletnikoff was even more spectacular. He ran for two scores, set up another with three long passes and the improved Hurricanes shocked Boston College 30-6 for their third straight.
It was no contest when those two old blood rivals, MARYLAND'S fastidious Tom Nugent and Clemson's rotund Frank Howard, got together at College Park. While Nugent gloated gleefully on the sidelines, his young Terps crawled over Howard's toothless Tigers for a 34-0 win. VIRGINIA'S Bob Davis and North Carolina's Gary Black traded touchdowns like so much worthless wampum—two running and one passing for Davis, three passing for Black—but Virginia knocked the Tar Heels out of the Atlantic Coast race 31-27.
West Virginia's Southern Conference champions nailed down a 24-14 win over William & Mary on Quarterback Allen McCune's second touchdown pass.
THE TOP THREE:
1. NOTRE DAME (8-0)
2. NEBRASKA (9-0)
3. OHIO STATE (7-1)
Somebody, but not Duffy Daugherty, boasted before Michigan State played Ara Parseghian's unbeaten NOTRE DAME team, "We'll pluck that magic carpet from under the Armenian rug peddler." It is just as well Daugherty denied authorship, else things might have been worse than they were. His Spartans never had a chance. Parseghian sprang a new double-wing T on Michigan State, and Halfback Nick Eddy broke loose for 61 yards on Notre Dame's second play. After that the Irish just poured it on. While old Coaches Frank Leahy, Hughie Devore and Terry Brennan looked on wistfully, Quarterback Johnny Huarte passed for one touchdown, ran 21 yards for a second and Notre Dame won going away, 34-7. "Once we got rolling," explained Parseghian, "well, it just felt too good to stop."