If the Oilers are going to grin just a little less, it probably will be HILLSDALE of Michigan that dampens the fun. Their November 6 game at Hillsdale should be a Michigan vs. Ohio State in miniature. ( Findlay won last year 34-12). The Dales have yet to lose more than three games in a season under Coach Muddy Waters (82-18-4) and rarely have they done that, dazzling opponents with T, wing T, single wing, balanced and unbalanced lines and spread formations. "We just don't have any glaring weaknesses this year," admits Waters, whose strengths, he does not admit, are glaring. Thirty-three lettermen have returned and Little All-America Halfback Bruce McLenna is among them. McLenna is a 6-foot-3, 220-pound 9.9 sprinter who transferred from Michigan, gained 553 yards last season, scored 13 touchdowns, caught 10 passes for 223 yards and was drafted as a future by the Detroit Lions. End Larry Fowler, Quarterbacks Pat Brown and Tom Zientek, Tackle Bob Mallendick (drafted by the New York Jets), Guard Gary Hills and 250-pound Center Jerry Rigelman make the Dales almost too good for everybody they play—except Findlay.
Ever since Hillsdale urned independent in 1961, ALBION'S Britons have enjoyed delicious success around the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association. Coach Morley Fraser makes predictions like, "It will be another dogfight for the title this year," but more than likely the Britons will fare as well as they did in 1964, when they won all eight starts and outscored the opposition 226-41.
The days of George Bork are gone at NORTHERN ILLINOIS, but the Huskies still managed to tie Western Illinois for the Interstate Intercollegiate championship in 1964. As usual the Huskies are the team to beat, but one may look for surprises from CENTRAL MICHIGAN. The Chippewas have steady quarterbacking in senior Pat Boyd and steady running in Bob Foldesi, Joe Welton and Jamie Gent. It is up to the Chip defense to make Central a titlist.
Either WESTERN ILLINOIS' Art Dufelmeier is preparing his co-champions for a hard fall or he has plans that depend upon surprise. During spring practice Dufelmeier said—loud enough for everyone to hear—"Western Illinois will need to pull some great upsets to stay out of the cellar. Only spirit will keep the Leathernecks from finishing last."
The Indiana Collegiate Conference is about as even as it can get. BUTLER, a perennial leader in the league, had to defeat Evansville in the last game of 1964 merely to share the title with four other teams. INDIANA STATE and BALL STATE will be the strongest contenders this time, but Butler—big, mobile and well coached under Tony Hinkle—is the one they must beat. Quarterback Joe Purichia threw for 874 yards in 1964, and Halfback Dick Dullaghan was the Bulldogs' most valuable Bulldog. VALPARAISO'S Crusaders will miss Quarterback David Lass, but the defense is bigger.
Bradley and DRAKE are both hardworking members of the Missouri Valley Conference except during the football season, when for three months they play the role of carefree—or careless—independents. Both teams throw the ball every chance they get. Bradley has one of the best passers in Quarterback Bob Caress, who completed 161 of 288 attempts last year for 1,964 yards and 17 touchdowns (second in the nation). Ron Royer of Drake is less spectacular, but he is no addict of the quarterback sneak, either. In two years he has completed 123 of 234 passes for 1,623 yards.
At Carbondale, Ill. there is another fine passer, but if he misses, watch out! Defense is nowhere to be found. Jim Hart of SOUTHERN ILLINOIS has thrown for 2,635 yards and 27 touchdowns in two years and, without bothering to add the bloody totals, his opponents have done more in return. But look for marked improvement over last year's 2-8 record.
Sewanee is in Tennessee, but it plays in the College Athletic Conference, and lately it has played well. It was tied for first place last year by WASHINGTON OF ST. LOUIS, but the Tigers appear to have too much quality to suffer a similar indignity this fall. Washington lost Quarterback Claude Frazier, Fullback Jerry Maher and Halfback Jim Powers, among others, but it does have a defense, for all but Sewanee.
Shortly before the opening game last year NORTHEAST MISSOURI STATE'S Maurice (Red) Wade said: "I feel the coming season can be classified only as a rebuilding year." The Bulldogs "rebuilt" with seven wins in nine starts, and that means a second straight Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association title is imminent, if only because Halfback Mike Richardson has been All-League three years running. Tackle-End Rich Rhodes made it last fall and Halfbacks T. J. Jackson and Sharron Washington ran for 1,161 yards.
Parsons College of Fairfield, Iowa is an independent that acts like one. The Wildcats really get around. Parsons will meet teams from seven different states in 1965 ( Texas, New Mexico, Michigan, Illinois, Missouri, South Dakota and Iowa) and can assure a rough Saturday for every one of them. The Wildcats won six of nine last year and have 22 experienced players back. Quarterback Gary Gardner is gone, and he threw for 1,566 yards and 11 TDs before he hurt his knee and missed the last four games of 1964. Daynor Prince, however, learned quickly enough when he took over: Prince completed 91 of 135 for 1,092 yards and 10 touchdowns. But, of course, there were receivers. End Steve Gilliatt topped the NCAA's college division with 81 catches for 984 yards and 12 touchdowns, while Halfback Charlie Moore ran for 240 and caught passes for 373 more. They are both back. The line is big. Enough said?