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THE ELEVEN BEST ELEVENS
Herman Hickman
September 23, 1957
The Bard of the Smokies greets the new season with his annual pick of the best teams, and Artist Joe Kaufman casts their coaches in Shakespearian roles which every football fan will recognize
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September 23, 1957

The Eleven Best Elevens

The Bard of the Smokies greets the new season with his annual pick of the best teams, and Artist Joe Kaufman casts their coaches in Shakespearian roles which every football fan will recognize

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Here are some added thoughts on the selection of my Eleven Elevens. There are some teams, such as Utah in the Skyline Conference, which may finish with better won-and-lost records than my personal choices for top honors, just as Wyoming did last season. But it is my belief that the caliber of competition is not quite strong enough in some of those areas to justify rating the leading teams among the country's best. Seven of the Eleven Elevens use some type of T, split-T, or wing T, with balanced line. These are Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Baylor, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, Navy and Penn State. The Tennessee type of balanced-line single wing, with the accent on double blocking, is used exclusively by Tennessee and Oregon State. Both Michigan State and Michigan use the multiple offense, aligning in an unbalanced-line T, running plays from this pre-shift formation or shifting to some variation of an unbalanced-line single wing. Listing the teams alphabetically and not in order of their strength, here are some comments on my selections for 1957:

Baylor. Two best and biggest lines in the Southwest, possibly in the country. Will miss graduated defensive secondary strength.

Georgia Tech . Well-nourished and trained reserve strength, although untried under fire. Perfectly planned kicking game and winning ways. May come late.

Michigan . Always on or near the top. Graduation losses were heavy in the line, but backfield is dangerous.

Michigan State . Well-fortified at all positions, same as last season, but cannot possibly have as bad luck with key injuries.

Minnesota . Gophers have best material since Bierman. Will need it with eight conference games and some of the tougher ones on the road. Team needs breakaway runners, but has Quarterback Bobby Cox, one of those superb players who comes along at rare moments.

Navy. Experience at every position in two-team depth. Good defense coupled with wide-open pro-type offensive play.

Oklahoma . Fast, slashing, aggressive play built on speed and quick reaction. Abundant material and high morale make them a permanent winner.

Oregon State . Arrived a year early but should be even better this season. Fine outside running strength. Need depth at vital tailback spot.

Penn State . Good depth and experience due to judicial use of two balanced units in 1956. Excellent running game and sharp passing. Season hinges on Army game first week in October.

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