Don't be surprised if Michigan finishes on top of the Big Ten and ends up No. 1. Taylor and McKenzie warned you.
4 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
John McKay's record in 11 years as head coach at USC is such that a season without a Heisman Trophy winner or a trip to the Rose Bowl or both is a disappointment. After four straight Pacific Eight championships, the Trojans' 6-4-1 record in 1970 had some alumni considering leaps off the top of the Coliseum scoreboard. What probably dissuaded them was the season-ending upset victory over Notre Dame. 4 "They have not beaten us in four years," says McKay, himself a fighting Irishman. The mediocre season was blamed on a few premature daydreams by seniors about fat pro contracts, a defense that allowed the most points in USC history (233), injuries and a tough schedule. The Trojans of 1971 are stuck with that last headache again.
Apart from difficult conference games, notably Washington, Stanford and UCLA, the Trojans must play Oklahoma at Norman and three weeks later meet Notre Dame at South Bend, where they have won only twice since 1933. The '70 upset cost the Irish the national championship, so the 43rd renewal of the rivalry should be bloody.
As usual, McKay and his staff have gathered plenty of material to compete at this level. One of the dangerous weapons will be Sam (Bam) Cunningham, who has the most alliterate name of any Los Angeles athlete since Bill (The Hill) McGill was playing high school basketball. Cunningham is a junior fullback who averaged 6.4 yards a carry last season and blocked well. He did even better in the spring game—running, throwing and receiving for three touchdowns. McKay is not known for letting talented runners stand around idle.
"We've been thinking about Sam," he says. "He'll carry the ball twice as much as any of our fullbacks have since Ben Wilson left. He'll get the ball 20 or 25 times a game."
Senior Quarterback Jimmy Jones should pass Mike Garrett and O.J. Simpson to become Troy's alltime total offense leader (if he doesn't hand off to Cunningham too often, and if he can keep a promising backup quarterback, Mike Rae, on the bench). Jones, a Pennsylvania import who was blamed by some fans for the failures last year, already holds or shares 10 school passing records and in two seasons has led the team to a 16-4-2 record.
True to the traditions of a school that has had such football stars as Grenville Archer Lansdell Jr., Morley Drury, Garrett Arbelbide, Aramus Dandoy and Marger Apsit, there are some strange and fancy names on the Trojan squad. Soph Artimus Parker is a likely starter in the defensive backfield. New Split End Lynn Swann beat UCLA's fabled—and ineligible—Jim McAlister in the long jump at the state high school meet. Defensive Tackle Mike McGirr has the name, shape and disposition of a grizzly bear.
And speaking of interesting names, on the very strong freshman team this fall there is a wide receiver by the name of John McKay Jr. Wonder where he learned his football?