Junior Phil Bradley is the Big Eight's best quarterback. He led the conference in total offense last season, with 2,081 yards, and hit 60.2% of his passes, third-best in the nation. Junior James Wilder is the Big Eight's best fullback. Despite being a sub until Missouri's fifth game a year ago, he gained 873 yards and personally took Nebraska apart, rushing for 181 yards and four touchdowns.
Tackle to tackle the '78 line is back, except for Center Pete Allard. All-America Tight End Kellen Winslow now plays for the San Diego Chargers, but with a total of seven starters back from an offensive unit that was sixth in the nation in scoring (31.6 points a game) and 10th in total offense (414.3 yards a game), Missouri again figures to be putting points on the board from everywhere but the parking lot.
To shore up the defense Powers has shifted quick End Kurt Petersen and quicker Nose Guard Bennie Smith to tackle, where things were sluggish, and in spring drills Norman Goodman played so superbly at nose guard that Powers says, "He might be another Rich Glover," the All-America of several seasons back at hated Nebraska. Goodman, a Missouri-bred lad, seems to feel that comparing him to a mere mortal like Glover is something of a comedown. "I'm from Metropolis," he says. "The name is Goodman, like in Superman."
Last year Missouri opened with Notre Dame and Alabama, but this season the Tigers start against San Diego State and Illinois. And that's not the only good news on Mizzou's schedule; the Tigers also face the other Big Eight heavyweights, Oklahoma and Nebraska, and their toughest non-conference opponent, Texas, at home.
A good team and a favorable schedule are all most schools need to assure themselves a good season, but at Missouri there's a tradition of upsets—of which the Tigers have been both perpetrators and victims—to be considered. For instance, last year Missouri shocked Notre Dame and Nebraska on the road, but in between, the Tigers lost games they were heavily favored to win against Oklahoma State and Colorado, the latter coming in front of 71,096 witnesses at home. To challenge Nebraska and Oklahoma, which have dominated the Big Eight for 17 seasons, Missouri must stop losing when it's supposed to win.
"We've got talent, and we're going to be reckoned with," Powers says. "Our chances for a Big Eight title are as good or better than anybody else's."
Which brings to mind the words of Missouri Congressman Willard D. Vandiver (1897-1905), who said, "I come from a state that raises corn and cotton and cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me." Now is the time you can do it, Warren.
Your typical Husky fan is blasé. Perhaps it's the view from the Washington campus—the green Cascades to the east and the towering Olympic Mountains to the west—that makes him that way. After all, compared to such majesty, the spectacle of college football is pretty uninspiring stuff. Husky fever normally consists of ignoring yell leaders and razzing a makeshift alumni band until it launches into Tequila, at which point everyone stands and bellows out the song's title.
At least that's what it used to be like. But then last November, when bowl bids came out and the 7-4 Huskies didn't get one, the tranquillity was transformed into bedlam. Washington was America's No. 1 uninvited team. Pac 10 colleagues UCLA, Stanford, Arizona State and USC all got invites. But the Huskies, who lost by just a field goal to the Bruins, beat Stanford 34-31 and crushed Arizona State 41-7, were a furious wallflower. "I hated sitting at home during the holidays watching all those other Pac 10 teams on TV," says Fullback Toussaint Tyler. "This year I'd like to go 11-0 and to the Rose Bowl." Because of the power of USC, Tyler might not get to go to the postseason game of his choice, but it's going to be hard for other bowls to overlook the Huskies this fall.