Linebackers Ed and Simonini Garth Ten Napel give A&M the better defenders, but Trojan Tackle Gary Jeter is excellent, too. The Aggie field goal kicker, Tony Franklin, and the USC punt returner, Danny Reecc, may also appear in decisive roles.
The injury-wracked Trojans have been playing out the schedule since McKay's resignation announcement, and the Aggies fell apart against Arkansas. Since USC seems to have forgotten how to win, it probably won't.
SUN ( EL PASO)
KANSAS VS. PITTSBURGH
DEC. 26, 1975 NOON EST CBS
Forget for a moment, as the sponsors of the Sun Bowl have, that the presence of Pittsburgh and Kansas makes this the postseason pairing with the fewest wins (14) and the most losses (eight). These, after all, are the teams which mortalized Notre Dame and Oklahoma. With Tony Dorsett of the Panthers and Nolan Cromwell of the Jayhawks, no record is safe and no opponent sacred.
Both teams have been frustratingly inconsistent this year. Pittsburgh broke away to a 5-1 record but then alternated wins and losses the rest of the way. After Kansas opened with a defeat against Washington State, first-year Coach Bud Moore sighed, "We may not win a game all season." He was wrong, but no one else was expecting the Jayhawks to do very well, either.
Kansas became bowl-worthy when Cromwell, a free safety, became the quarterback. He made the Jayhawk wishbone the best running attack in the Big Eight and was the league's individual rushing leader with 1,124 yards. Laverne Smith, with 6.9 yards a carry, helped out, but stop those two and you stop Kansas because Cromwell threw only 49 passes, completing 20.
Dorsett veered to 1,544 yards and teammate Elliott Walker had 780. Matt Cavanaugh makes Pitt the more dependable passing team, and the Panthers also have the better field goal kicker in Carson Long. This versatility should be enough to win.
PEACH ( ATLANTA)
N.C. STATE VS. WEST VIRGINIA
DEC. 31, 1975 3 P.M. EST MIZLOU
If N.C. State and West Virginia follow their normal patterns, the Peach Bowl may resemble the NBA Game of the Week. The two teams like to run up and down the field for three quarters before deciding the game at the final buzzer.
This is especially true of the Wolfpack, which defeated three bowl invitees in a 7-3-1 season. N.C. State used two-point conversions to nip Florida and North Carolina by one point and to tie Duke. A late touchdown beat South Carolina by seven and the Wolfpack sweated out a missed field goal before getting a third one-point win over Penn State. West Virginia also played beat-the-clock during its 8-3 season, but with less satisfactory results. The Mountaineers edged Pittsburgh on Bill McKenzie's field goal but lost to Tulane on a field goal and fell to Syracuse when a two-point running attempt was stopped short of the goal line.