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This is the East. Fallen on evil years, perhaps, but here football was born, nurtured, and first reached maturity. Here legendary figures strode the gridiron, even before the turn of the century. Those of us who love football have a debt of gratitude to pay to the pioneers who paved the way for our great American game. Even this year, plagued by the no-spring-practice rule and rigid academic restrictions, the cradle of college football is not completely anemic.
Although I am a transplanted, and at times chauvinistic, Tennesseean, there is nothing quite like an October Saturday afternoon in the still-glorious Yale Bowl. Critically, the teams may not have been the best but there were four touchdowns apiece and young Alva Kelley of Brown lost?because he had not been able to get the foot in football?by the margin of two extra points, 24-26. The Mahans, the Billy Booes, the Booths, and the Garbischs may have looked with disdain at this defection in the kicking department, but the foot is not the integral part of the game that it once was (except when you lose by that margin). In fact Yale only punted once in the second half Saturday and Brown forgot to punt at all...Shades of Walter Camp, Percy Haughton and Tad Jones.
So much for history, past and recent. The Giants won the World Series and King Football starts his reign. Long live the King! And first by right of succession is the Ivy group.
Yale . The Bulldogs have a hard core of veterans supplemented by the finest sophomores in Yale's proud football history. Sophomore Dennis McGiil is the finest outside runner since Al Hessberg of the middle thirties. Dean Loucks, another neophyte, reared in the tradition of a father football coach, is a brilliant adjunct at quarterback. Jim Armstrong is a dependable senior halfback while Captain Thorne Shugart heads a line that has size and quality. Defensive prowess will improve immeasurably. Not until the Cornell game on October 16th will real contention be established.
Cornell. Although upset by a fine Colgate team in their opener and beaten by Rice, one of the nation's outstanding teams, last week 41 to 20, Cornell still has the wherewithal to cop the Ivy title. The Big Red has a dangerous returning backfield in Dick Meade, Dick Jackson, Bill DeGraaf and Guy Bedrossian. Len Oniskey has been one of the East's best defensive tackles for the past two years and practically stands alone in the front line. A strong big team with outside strength that should progress with the season.
Princeton . The fall of Princeton last season from national greatness is still inexplicable. Charley Caldwell's single-wing offensive maneuvers rank with the best. Few tailbacks surpass Royce Flippin, who ran for three touchdowns against Columbia last Saturday and passed for another. The Tigers' defense is still a question mark, although Captain John Henn at center is outstanding. Princeton could win the title.
Brown. Playing without the services of injured backfield stars Don Thompson, Dave Zucconi, Vit Piscuskas, and Captain Everett Pearson, the Bruins impressed me against Yale. Pete Kohut's passing and generalship were magnificent. Archie Williams at halfback has speed to spare. Jim McGuinness has few superiors at tackle in the East. Brown now stands one win ( Columbia) and one loss ( Yale). They have failed to make a single conversion. Nonetheless this should be their best year since 1949.
Dartmouth . The Big Green opened with a last-second 27-26 win over Holy Cross and last Saturday after battling Navy even for three quarters succumbed to a fourth period five touchdown assault by the Middies. Bill Beagle is a competent quarterback and Captain Lou Turner is a halfback of note. But the line from end to end is a doubtful quantity despite the influx of promising sophomores.
Columbia . The 1954 edition of the Lions is pretty much like all of Coach Lou Little's teams of the past decade: short on material but dangerous at any time. You can bet on one thing?they'll beat somebody that they aren't supposed to before the season is over. An injury to Bobby Mercier, their only really dangerous outside runner, has handicapped Columbia's attack thus far. Claude Benham, a sophomore quarterback, looks good enough to spell Dick Carr, the Lions' individual leader in ground gaining last season. Captain Neil Opdyke is an excellent guard.