But before the Huskies accept their Rose Bowl bid, there are problems. One is having to play their two strongest rivals, Stanford and USC, on the road on successive weekends. Another is the apparent lack of a good running attack. Jim Owens, starting his 16th season as head coach, has no breakaway threats but hopes he has at least enough first-down threats in Darrell Downey, Luther Sligh and others to give Sixkiller an occasional breather. In other areas, Owens is preparing carefully. He is replacing Husky Stadium's old AstroTurf with a new, improved rug from the same company and he is buying an ample supply of purple paint.
The State of Mississippi has not had a Miss America or a championship football team in several years, and Ole Miss has not had a quarterback with a great name for longer than that. Back in 1953-55 there was a perfect quarterback name in Eagle Day, but consider what Mississippi has had to get by with in recent years: " Jake Gibbs" sounds like a prospector, "Glynn Griffin" should be a Hollywood set designer and " Archie Manning" could be that freckled-faced kid you went to high school with.
Names aside, however, the Rebels have had some pretty impressive figures in the quarterback slot. This year they have two. "Norris Weese" sounds like a minor, disagreeable Faulkner character, perhaps a querulous druggist, and "Kenny Lyons" might be the male lead in a Methodist Youth Fellowship film, but they came through for Coach Billy Kinard last year.
As sophomores both Weese and Lyons starred, Lyons less so only because he was hurt most of the year. Because they, instead of Manning, were around this time last year it was expected that Ole Miss would not be a power, but in Kinard's first season as head coach the Rebels went 10-2, including an easy win in their 15th straight bowl appearance (the Peach).
"Kinard"—a fine old name. Billy, 38, is the youngest of four brothers who played for Ole Miss, and his big brother Frank (Bruiser) is athletic director. When on successive weekends Alabama and Georgia beat Ole Miss resoundingly there was open talk that perhaps Billy was too young and inexperienced to be a coach. But that turned out to be a canard. Both Kinards hung in there, went the rest of the season undefeated and beat LSU in particular. Now it is clear once again that Kinards can do it. This year they're back with Kenny and Norris what's-their-names and all the other offensive starters of '71 except one.
The brightest returnees include senior Tailback Greg Ainsworth, who led the team in rushing last year; junior Tight End Butch (Make It Look Eazey) Veazey, who can do everything a tight end is supposed to do and can also get extremely loose, long, all of a sudden; 6'3�" pass-catching Wingback Bill Barry; junior Offensive Linemen Chuck Wood and Art Bressler; and senior Defensive End Reggie Bill, who scooped up so many fumbles last year that there was some danger he might become known as "Spoon" Bill.
The Rebel defense lags behind the offense, but in his years as a defensive backfield coach at such schools as Georgia and Arkansas, Kinard's units became known for their stinginess. So he is unlikely to neglect that part of the game.
Prospects look good, in fact, if Mississippi can only produce another Miss America. Now there is a name.