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Kansas State. Coach Billy Meek may have the sleeper. He told me: "This is the best-looking physical squad at K-State since 1951. For the first time we have a few 200-pounders on the line. We will be capable of giving any opponent a tough battle." Corky Taylor is a halfback to note and Ron Marciniak at guard is outstanding. Even though eight starters are lost Kansas State will be an improved team.
Nebraska. Biff Glassford hasn't had the kind of material that once made the Cornhuskers the scourge of the West. He has had his troubles during the past year with players and athletic administrators, but temporarily at least he has weathered the storm. He has some fine backs returning in Jon McWilliams and Bob Smith. Speed up front, however, is badly needed.
Kansas. Under Coach Chuck Mather, Kansas is starting a new regime. His best men are Captain Bud Buxler at center, Halfbacks Ralph Moody and Bob Allison, and Fullback Bud Laughlin, back from the service. Coach Mather's comment on the coming season: "We won't know much about our prospects until November 20th. Our season ends on that date."
Iowa State. There is building to be done at Iowa State. Fourteen lettermen are lost from the team that beat Missouri 13-6 last year. Max Burkett, an All-Conference fullback, and Gary Lutz, an excellent halfback, are back. Leading sophomore prospects are John Breckenridge at quarterback and Don Schulze at tackle.
Notre Dame. Much has been written about the big task that faces youthful Terry Brennan in his first year as head coach. Terry has been brought up in the Notre Dame tradition and groomed well for the position. His team has lost more in quality than in numbers. Ralph Guglielmi at quarterback is another coach on the field and has a sensational emergency replacement in sophomore Paul Hornung. Joe Heap should have another great year at halfback. Better linemen than Frank Varrichone and Ray Lemek won't be found. Word comes from Notre Dame that Terry is "putting them through the mill," and there are many minor early season injuries, but if I know Notre Dame they will be healed into toughness for that first great test with Texas on September 25th.
Pittsburgh. Red Dawson will have a better team than last year, but his schedule is even more difficult. Tackles Lou Palatella and Eldred Kraemer will bulwark the line. Halfback Henry Ford is the leading back.
Cincinnati will have another one of its fine teams this year, if all its successful seniors still have the will to win. Halfback Dick Goist is tops. Glen Dilhoff is an end to watch, Mike Murphy is a brilliant quarterback, and don't forget Dave Faulkner at center.
Miami University of Oxford, Ohio is a tough neighbor of Cincinnati and should win the Mid-American Conference, with Ohio University in the second spot. Tom Jones, the National Intercollegiate shot-put champion, is Miami's outstanding tackle.
Marquette has been Big Ten caliber for many years, and this year has more depth than in 1953. Halfback Ron Drzewiecki ranks with the best, and Quarterback Dick Shockey and Fullbacks Bob Girman and Dave Donarski are also outstanding. Tackle Frank Scaffidi is a rock in the line.