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September 04, 1985
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September 04, 1985

The Conferences

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Maybe everybody's too busy breathing the rarefied air in Boulder to notice that Bill McCartney is 7-25-1 at Colorado after three years. The fourth season won't represent a Rocky Mountain high either, what with McCartney changing offenses. Last fall it was pro-style passing. This year it's—Ta Da!—the wishbone. At Kansas State, Jim Dickey is going to a pass-oriented attack, even though the Wildcats finished 104th in the country last season in passing and have as many good receivers as the state has expert ski slopes. See you at the bottom.


Last year was Bo Schembechler's worst in Ann Arbor, and 1985 doesn't portend much better. The Wolverines have multiple holes to fill on defense. Quarterback Jim Harbaugh is back after breaking his arm against Michigan State. But with no runners to support him, Harbaugh will have to do it with mirrors.

Third-year coach George Perles has things looking up at Michigan State after beating Michigan and Iowa and landing the Spartans in the Cherry Bowl, their first postseason appearance since 1966. Perles will depend on running back Lorenzo White. What do you do for an encore after beating Notre Dame, Ohio State and Michigan in the same year? If you're Purdue, you hope your opponents forget and your star quarterback remembers. That would be senior Jim Everett, who led the conference in passing yards (3,003) and completed 58% of his 389 throws. Everett has his three best wide receivers going for him, too, including 1,000-yard gainer Steve Griffin.

Wisconsin had a mild brush with glory in '84, but forget '85. Eleven Badgers were selected in the NFL draft, three of them in the first round. So if Wisconsin faithful don't find Saturdays all that pleasurable this year, there will always be Sundays. Last fall Minnesota finished second to Ohio State in the conference in rushing (2,281 yards). Four of the Gophers' top ground-gainers return, including sophomore quarterback Rickey Foggie, who led the team with 647 yards. Trouble is, Minnesota's defense could be as sorry as it was last year, when it finished last in the Big Ten in total D.

Sandy Schwab and Mike Greenfield will fight for the quarterback job at Northwestern. But considering that Mildcat signal callers were sacked for more than 300 yards last season, perhaps they should draw straws. Winner gets to keep the chart on the sidelines.

The longest sustained streak of indigestible football belongs to Indiana, Loosiers of 16 straight. That Indiana averaged 79.6 yards per game rushing last year lends a clue why. Coach Bill Mallory brought in Damon Sweazy, a transfer from Fullerton J.C., to provide some zip. How bad have the Loosiers been? Folks are saying Sweazy could be the next Mike Harkrader. That's how bad.


The long and short of it is that Bowling Green will win the Mid-American behind 6'7" quarterback Brian McClure, who may become the leading passer in NCAA history, and 5'9" tailback Bernard White. Last season White became the third player in Division I-A history to rush for 1,000 yards and catch 50 passes. McClure will start his senior year with 7,606 yards, about 500 more than Doug Flutie had at this stage of his career.

Defending champ Toledo will have good defense—eight starters are back from the league's best unit in '84—but not much offense. Central Michigan needs quarterback Ron Fillmore to regain the form he displayed during a great sophomore year two seasons ago. He has the conference's second-best arm.

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