SI Vault
September 23, 1957
HERMAN HICKMAN SAYS: Year in and year out the enthusiastic fans of the SEC territory see some of the best football in the country. This is going to be the hardest year of all to pick the top teams, as the conference seems to have the best balance in years. Perhaps they should be rated in groups. Top group of championship caliber: Tennessee, Georgia Tech, Mississippi, Auburn and Kentucky. At least a couple of these teams could emerge as national powers the way Tennessee did last year. Tough middle group: Florida, LSU, Vanderbilt, and Georgia. Upset crew: Mississippi State, Tulane and Alabama.
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September 23, 1957

Southeast Conference

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THE DOPE: The Volunteers are the consensus choice of opposing coaches to sweep the SEC championship for the second year in a row. Though Coach Bowden Wyatt lost one of Tennessee's alltime great tailbacks in Johnny Majors and several starting linemen, he has a flock of replacements coming up who ought to keep Tennessee at the top of the Southern football heap. Wyatt has two good units, although the talent gets a little thin at ends and center on his third team. Guards will be fast and experienced and should make the middle line one of the toughest in the country. Tennessee, which made flagrant and effective use of the quick kick last year, will be up to its same old tricks in 1957, thanks to Tailback Bobby Gordon. Gordon averaged 47.1 yards per boot last year and had a better than 50-yard average on quick kicks. Backing up Gordon is Al Carter, who has seven touchdowns during 1956 as his recommendation. Fullback Tommy Bronson will again be a major cog in the Vol backfield. He netted 562 yards rushing last year, for an average of 5.4 yards per carry. Stockton Adkins will be blocking back for his third straight year, while Bill Anderson, an excellent receiver, returns at wingback. The Vols probably will not duplicate last year's 10-0 record, but they will not be far off.

1957 SCHEDULE (1956 score):

SEPT. 28 Auburn (35-7)
OCT. 5 Miss. State (no game)
OCT. 12 Chattanooga (42-20)
OCT. 19 Alabama at Birmingham (24-0)
OCT. 26 at Maryland (34-7)
NOV. 2 at North Carolina (20-0)
NOV. 9 Georgia Tech (6-0)
NOV. 16 Mississippi at Memphis (27-7)
NOV. 23 at Kentucky (20-7)
NOV. 30 Vanderbilt (27-7)

New Orleans

COLORS: Green and blue
1956 RECORD: Won 6, lost 4
WATCH FOR: Quarterback Gene Newton, fine ball handler, excellent on option play

THE DOPE: The Green Wave will field a light, fast squad whose major strength will lie in its running game. The key to the attack is little (5 feet 10, 160 pounds) Gene Newton, whose jitterbug style at quarterback keeps players and fans alike guessing. Biggest question mark is at the halfback slots. Letterman Tommy Warner missed all of last season due to injury after great years in 1954 and '55, while Gene Tarzetti was hurt in mid-1956 and never came back. Unless these two are sound this season, backfield depth will be a serious problem. Coach Andy Pilney feels the season should be "interesting," if nothing else. "The losses of boys like Dalton Truax and Ronnie Quillian hurt," says Pilney, "but our boys are fast, full of desire and what veterans we have returning should form a good nucleus on which to build. Newton, End Will Billon, Center Ben Tyler, Halfback Claude (Boo) Mason and Warner, if he is ready, will give us a group of fine ballplayers with experience. We can go." Keep an eye on Richie Petitbon, a 6-foot-3, 197-pound sophomore who worked as No. 2 quarterback during spring drills. He also may see action as a halfback, since Pilney feels he is "too good to keep on the bench."

1957 SCHEDULE (1956 score):

SEPT. 20 Virginia Tech, N (21-14)
SEPT. 28 at Texas, N (6-7)
OCT. 5 at Marquette (no game)
OCT. 11 Georgia, N (no game)
OCT. 18 Mississippi, N (10-3)
OCT. 26 Georgia Tech, N (0-40)
NOV. 2 Miss. State at Jackson (20-14)
NOV. 9 Alabama at Mobile (7-13)
NOV. 16 Army (no game)
NOV. 30 at LSU (6-7)


COLORS: Gold and black
1956 RECORD: Won 5, lost 5
WATCH FOR: Halfback Phil King, explosive runner, team's high scorer

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