Under a revamped schedule every Ivy team will begin the season with a league game. Yale opens on the road for the first time this century in a televised contest against Brown that could have significant bearing on the Ivy race. Coach Carmen Cozza's Elis have an outstanding quarterback in Stone Phillips, a solid group of runners headed by John Pagliaro and an offensive line with experience at every position. The Yale defense, however, is relying on reinforcements from the 1975 freshman team.
Brown graduated 13 starters, but Coach John Anderson contends that he has no serious weaknesses. The Bruins' multiple offense has some breakaway threats and an outstanding pass catcher in Bob Farnham, but Anderson has to find a replacement for graduated Quarterback Bob Bateman.
Waiting for the winner of the Yale-Brown opener will be Harvard, favored to take its third straight Ivy title. Rollout Quarterback Jim Kubacki could be the nation's all-around yardage leader if he can get blocking from an offensive line decimated by graduation. With adequate blocking, Tommy Winn could join Harvard's alltime rushing leaders.
Dartmouth has been out of first place for two years now, and Coach Jake Crouthamel is feeling pressure from the alumni. As an assistant, Crouthamel put together championship defenses. He needs one now.
Pennsylvania will go to the air. Quarterback Bob Graustein completed 107 of 183 passes last year and twice had 22 completions in a game. Princeton has four quarterback candidates, but none has played a minute of varsity ball. Columbia won only two Ivy games but may improve. Cornell, 0-7 in league competition, won't.
Tulsa, in a class by itself, beat conference opponents last year by an average score of 42-10, the year before by 33-10. But because the 1976 Golden Hurricanes are young and still about a season away, there is a little bit of hope among the downtrodden. Tulsa will be more inclined to run than to throw, partly because graduation claimed the MVC's leading passer, Jeb Blount, and the nation's top TD receiver, Steve Largent, partly because the running backs, including speedster Rickey Watts, are the best at Tulsa since the early '50s.
With 37 lettermen returning, New Mexico State could have its first winning season since 1967. An accurate place-kicker—Skip Vernon missed only one field-goal attempt inside the 35 last year—and veteran blockers headed by two-time All-America Guard Carl Dean are the Aggies' strengths, but they lack an offensive threat.
Wichita State is relying on the strong arm of Sam Adkins, a 6'3", 214-pound senior who was the MVC's No. 2 passer and total-offense performer. West Texas State hopes that its offense, which averaged 317.5 yards a game, will be able to control the ball well enough to allow an inexperienced defense to rest. How well the Buffaloes do depends on the restored right arm of senior Quarterback Tully Blanchard. Five muscles in Blanchard's right side just under his arm were severed in an automobile accident before his sophomore year, but he seemed to be approaching full strength again last year, even though he lacked experienced receivers.