Once again, the MAC will be wholly Toledo. The Rockets enter the season with a 23-game winning streak, longest in the United States and Texas. Frank Lauterbur, their Wernher von Braun, has moved to Iowa, but Jack Murphy inherits Quarterback Chuck Ealey, who will be in quest of the conference Back of the Year award for the third straight time. Split End Don Fair returns, too, and Tackle Mel Long anchors a sturdy defense. Defense also will make Western Michigan a contender since Coach Bill Doolittle has most of a unit that allowed just 13 touchdowns. Offensively, Quarterback Ted Grignon adds to his school-record yardage mark and sophomore runner Larry Cates seeks to duplicate his impressive freshman statistics of 6.2 yards per carry and 29.6 yards per punt return.
Injuries have prevented Miami from finding out which of its quarterbacks is the most effective. Without an established passer, the Redskins, who gave Toledo a 14-13 scare last year, may have trouble gaining their 29th straight non-losing season. Ohio University was also looking for a quarterback until coach Bill Hess discovered that Dave Juenger, who last year caught enough passes to rank 16th in the nation, could also throw the ball—and well. Sophomore Paul Miles of Bowling Green looked so promising that Julius Livas, the team's leading rusher, was shifted to defense. Don James, the new coach at Kent State, begins rebuilding a team that has lost 21 of its last 30.
Last year the battle in the WAC was for the No. 2 spot; who would be Avis to Arizona State's Hertz? This year it's probably going to be a fight to see who will be No. 3—something Madison Avenue hasn't coped with yet. Arizona State, the defending champion, seems a shoo-in for the conference title. " New Mexico, with 37 lettermen from last season's surprising second-place team, seems likely to do it again without surprise. For the first time in years Coach Rudy Feldman has the depth to back up his starters. He is sure to rely on his rushing game, which was ranked second in the nation in 1970, and two-time MVP Quarterback Rocky Long. Which takes care of No. 1 and No. 2. Utah will have problems on offense. The Redskins have to replace a total of 15 lettermen, no less than nine from the offensive unit. But they still have Punter Marv Bateman, who last year established an NCAA record average of 45.6 yards, and Coach Bill Meek appreciates the kind of field position that can provide.
Arizona has switched to a Veer alignment and will be relying on junior Quarterback Bill Demory to make it go. Elsewhere, Colorado State is rebuilding its offensive line, planning to clear the way for Laurence (The Clutch) McCutcheon, who gained 1,008 yards last year. UTEP is hoping a strong offensive line will counteract a tough schedule and BYU is counting on half a dozen transfers and a bunch of sophomores. That's about it except for Wyoming, which is welcoming Fritz Shurmur, its new coach. Welcome, Fritz.
Dartmouth has often brutalized the Ivy League, but never so much as in 1970 when it finished 9-0 and ranked 14th in the nation. Everything is different now. Dartmouth is barely favored over Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Cornell. Strong offenses, weak defenses and perhaps the best running back in the country could further confuse the picture with a m�lange of high-scoring games.
The back is Cornell's Ed Marinaro, who has led the nation in rushing average for the last two years. If he and the quarterback (either junior Barrett Rosser or sophomore Mark Allen) click, the Big Red could be Big Trouble. Unfortunately, the line and defense, habitually weak, are vulnerable. New coaches have their problems, too. Jake Crouthamel, Dartmouth's replacement for Bob Blackman, has lost his best backs, but runners like Brendan O'Neill, Chuck Thomas and Alex Turner should help cool his baptism of fire. Yale's Carmen Cozza told new Harvard Coach Joe Restic to expect one problem. "You have to decide which of the best quarterbacks in the Ivy League [Rod Foster and Eric Crone] to start." Harvard's real problem is in its defensive secondary. Harry Gamble of Penn will have to do without Pancho Micir, the Ivy League's total-offense leader.
Yale has good offensive linemen and ends and an excellent tailback in Dick Jauron. Princeton's Doug Blake and Hank Bjorklund, first 1,000-yard rusher in school history, will supply more offense. Columbia has its usual pass-catch combo ( Don Jackson to Jesse Parks). Brown faces another season of despair.