The word came just a few hours before Ray Eliot's Illinois team fashioned the upset of 1956—by beating Michigan State 20-13 (see page 16), after which Coach Eliot was carried off the field shoulder high.
Speaking of the Board of Judges, in addition to those named in the MEMO FROM THE PUBLISHER in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's Oct. 22 issue, the following expert witnesses on accomplishment and community service have joined the board: General Omar Bradley of Los Angeles, Roger Blough of Pittsburgh, Harlow Curtice of Detroit, Benson Ford of Detroit, Jerome Crossman of Dallas, George Peabody Gardner of Boston, Bernard F. Gimbel of New York, F. Peavey Heffelfinger of Minneapolis, J. Edgar Hoover of Washington, D.C., William Kirkland of Houston, Chester J. LaRoche of New York, Shane MacCarthy of Washington, D.C., John M. Olin of East Alton, Illinois, General Matthew B. Ridgway of Pittsburgh, Robert A. Uihlein Jr. of Milwaukee and Collett E. Woolman of Atlanta.
THE IRON IRANIAN
With all its philosophical conflicts and all its tincture of professionalism, college football is not quite the cynical institution which its critics imagine it to be; neither are its players the faceless mounds of muscle which distance and modern equipment may sometimes make them seem. Nobody is dramatizing this fact quite so refreshingly at the moment as Jamshid Abol Hassen (Jim) Bakhtiar, a husky young fellow from Teheran who plays fullback for the University of Virginia Cavaliers. Iran is not overrun with football scouts, and the Cavaliers (to put it charitably) do not have a granite line; nevertheless, Jim Bakhtiar, a pre-medical student, is rated No. 6 among the nation's ground gainers.
A fine aura of improbability, in fact, shines about almost every aspect of Bakhtiar's career on the gridiron. His father is an Iranian surgeon, his mother an American nurse; when he was brought to Washington, D.C. to get a high school education he was both fascinated and frightened by football. "When a player with the ball came at me, I stepped out of the way and let him go." There was some reason for this reaction—he weighed but 133 pounds. On a seven-month visit with his family in Iran, however, he ate so much rice, khoresht and Persian bread that his weight shot up to 188, and on his return to Washington he promptly made the all-city team.
Jim has been dragging tacklers toward goal lines ever since. He is a good-looking young fellow with a crew cut, a deceptively amiable grin and a good deal of interest in the girls of Sweet Briar College, but he is a rough man on the field. Last year, as a sophomore, during a season in which Virginia lost nine out of 10 games, he carried the ball 158 times for a total of 733 yards; this year in six games he has carried 127 times for 547 yards, an average of 91, and, due in great part to his heroics, the Cavaliers are even in six games.
For all this muscular competence, however, he does not fit the popular concept of the college football serf at all. He came to Virginia primarily to get an education, and he is a good student. He has some very decided ideas on how to achieve long life. His father, who is now 77, expects to live to be 150. "I don't know if he'll make 150, but he'll certainly make 115—he gets up every morning at 3:30 and exercises every part of his body every day." Perhaps in preparation for longevity, Jim refuses to wear a football helmet except in games. "It rubs your hair off," he says. "I don't want to lose mine."
He is also trying to decide whether Geritol, the highly publicized patent medicine, gives quick energy. "I took it for three straight days before the VMI game and broke the conference record for rushing with 210 yards. I took my bottle up to Bethlehem for the Lehigh game, and it dropped on the floor of the hotel lobby. Gosh, it made an awful crash." He has not reinvested in a new bottle because of the expense ($2.49) and his discovery that it is 12% alcohol, but feels that he might use it again in an emergency.
Although his father has offered to pay for his schooling, Bakhtiar is proud of the fact that he has made his own way for years—as a gas station attendant during his high school years and, at least in part, as a football player (room, board, tuition) at Virginia. "It is a fine way to learn the American way of life. On the field you take a knockdown, take a loss and get up again. You've got to have endurance. You've got to have teamwork too. That is something my people lack. In India, Pakistan, Arabia, the people need this idea of cooperation. This is what I want to take back with me. I can't bring them football. But I can bring back the spirit of the game."
DREAMS IN JAPAN