Two seasons ago rookie Coach Dave Kragthorpe took over an 0-11 Idaho State team and turned the Bengals into a winning (6-5) squad. Last year they won the Division I-AA national championship with a 34-23 victory over Eastern Kentucky. As masterful as Kragthorpe is, Idaho State has lost too much to repeat—including Mike Machurek, I-AA's No. 1 passer with a 60% completion average, who was drafted by the Detroit Lions. Boise State, on the other hand, has 16 starters returning, including 6'5", 225-pound Defensive Tackle Michael Bourgeau. The decisive battle for the Big Sky title figures to be Boise State vs. Idaho State on Nov. 20.
Idaho led I-AA in rushing and total offense and set a single-game record for total yardage (703) against Simon Fraser. (The Vandals won 52-7, one of three times they scored more than 50 points.) The Cincinnati Bengals drafted Russell Davis, who ran for 345 yards against Portland State, but Idaho still has Ken Hobart, the No. 4 passer in I-AA.
AFTER HOURS: Along with the Ohio Valley and Yankee conferences, the Big Sky adopted the tie-breaker last fall, in which each team gets a chance to score from the 15 in four plays. It was resorted to twice, and Weber State was in both games. The Wildcats won (24-23) when Northern Arizona missed a point-after, but lost to Idaho State (33-30) on a field goal.
A warning to Michigan and Ohio State, to Minnesota and Illinois, too. Beware of Wisconsin. The Badgers opened the 1981 season by beating Michigan, ranked No. 1 at the time, for the first time since 1962. They went on to defeat Ohio State for the first time since 1959—and earned themselves a bid to the now defunct Garden State Bowl. Most of the team—including All-America Noseguard Tim Krumrie—is back.
Purdue's hopes rest on Scott Campbell, the nation's No. 6 passer last year (he threw for 2,686 yards and 18 touchdowns), while 1981 Rose Bowl representative Iowa is depending on a punter. The Hawkeyes lost nine defensive starters and the No. 1 and 2 quarterbacks after their first winning season in 20 years. The man they'll be calling on all too often is Reggie Roby, who averaged an NCAA record 49.8 yards a punt. Michigan State is in the midst of a rebuilding program—again. Not helping the Spartans is the fact that their two non-conference games are against Notre Dame and Miami.
AND COUNTING: Northwestern's 31-game losing streak is the longest in college football history. The best chances for a break come early, against Miami of Ohio Sept. 18 and Northern Illinois Sept. 25.
Asked for the most significant statistic of Dartmouth's 1981 season, Coach Joe Yukica replied, "Frank Polsinello's birth date." After No. 1 Quarterback Rick Stafford was hurt, sophomore Polsinello led the Big Green to five wins in six games and a share (with Yale) of the Ivy title.
Dartmouth lost most of its defense, but the Elis lost almost their whole starting team, three of whose members were picked in the NFL draft. One who was not, free-agent Quarterback John Rogan, was in the Jets' camp as of this writing. The draftees are Linebacker Jeff Rohrer (the Cowboys' No. 2 pick). Wide Receiver Curt Grieve (Eagles) and Rich Diana (Dolphins). In all, 18 starters are gone from the Eli team that did in Navy (23-19) and was done in by Princeton (35-31). In New Jersey they still Rave On about Bob Holly's 501 yards passing and four TD passes that day. With Holly no longer Ivy (he's trying out for the Redskins), the Tigers' top player is Offensive Tackle Jon Schultheis, a preacher's son who plays the organ in the Keansburg (N.J.) Pentecostal Church.