It was the final
big week of the season, and not without its surprises. But high up in the
stadium at New Haven Saturday afternoon, when the scores of the nation's big
games were read out over the public address system, a man growled, "Ye
gods! Who cares?" For at New Haven, Harvard was playing Yale and this was
The Game. Although other The Games were played across the country (see page
10), only what happened in the Yale Bowl had meaning for Yales and Harvards.
Especially, as it turned out, was this The Game for Harvards.
After losing to
Brown just the week before, they celebrated Saturday by demolishing Yale, which
had not been scored upon until the sixth game of the season. The score was
35-6, the largest point total the Crimson had run up on the Blue in 44 years.
In one 12-minute segment, with Chet Boulris banging through tackle and Charlie
Ravenel confusing the Yale defenders with his rollout magic and a bunch of kids
people had never heard of making like Billy Cannon's cousins, Harvard scored 27
points and put the game away.
Outside of the
fact that all sons of Harvard within several light years of New Haven went into
spasms, what happened there was really of no importance to the Ivy League. In
any other conference, most eyes would have been directed toward Princeton.
There Dartmouth, on the several talents of Bill Gundy and Jake Crouthamel,
scored a touchdown in the last minute of play and beat Princeton 12-7. It was
Dartmouth's fifth straight Ivy League victory, five in a row since Gundy got
his health back, and could mean a second straight league championship for
Dartmouth should Penn lose to Cornell on Thanksgiving Day. Penn, however, idle
Saturday, has given no indication that it is going to be knocked off by anyone.
It is almost certain to win the Ivy League title.
But outside the
Ivy League no one really cares about this eventuality, either. The reason is
that most sections of the country are not very impressed by Ivy League football
or, more particularly, by Ivy League football players. Mention of Ivy League
football usually suggests a certain picture to outlanders' minds that goes
something like this:
Take a tackle
from Michigan State—or Southern Cal or TCU or Tennessee—reduce his muscles and
build up his brain. Buy him a knit tie and a button-down shirt. Transport his
old man from the oil fields to a seat on the stock exchange, with a home on the
Main Line. Assure the boy of a job on Madison Avenue or Wall Street when he
graduates from school. Burn his paperback mystery and give him a copy of
Proust. Throw him a football—he will probably drop it—and tell him to have fun.
And what do you have? A Yale man. Or a Harvard or Dartmouth or Princeton or
Penn man. Or that is what everyone seems to think.
To find out what
the Ivy player is really like, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED has selected an all-star team
consisting, approximately, of the 11 best men in the Ivy League at their
positions. Approximately, because there are actually 12 of them—three halfbacks
being virtually equal in ability—and approximately, because even the Ivy League
coaches can't agree on who the best tackles and guards are. But it is a
representative team and a good one; the missing players (like Tom Budrewicz of
Brown, perhaps the toughest tackle in the conference when uninjured; Yale and
Harvard's splendid quarterbacks Tom Singleton and Charlie Ravenel; Ends Jon
Greenawalt of Penn and Ed Kostelnik of Princeton; Centers Frank Szvetecz of
Princeton and Ron Champion of Penn) are absent from the list only because there
is no more room.
One thing seems
certain. There is no typical Ivy League player. The boys are rich and poor,
neat and sloppy, large and small, quick and slow. Some are campus leaders and
belong to half a dozen clubs; others are quiet and retiring. The boy with a
career all lined up after graduation is an exception. Academically, they devote
more time to football than they should; their grades suffer and they must
hustle to take up the slack each spring. Some are married, some single; some
work, some don't. Most are proud of the tag Ivy Leaguer; a few abhor the phrase
and frequently wish they had gone some place else.
As a football
conference, the Ivy League suffers by comparison chiefly from two causes:
de-emphasis on victory and the resultant decision to abolish spring training,
and an insistence upon a relatively high degree of academic excellence, both
for admission and continued competition. While the standards are no higher than
those demanded by some colleges outside the Ivy League, they are certainly
higher than most—and this has materially contributed to lessening the number of
outstanding football players who can get in.
There is no
question but that some of the players on this all- Ivy League team could star in
any league and might even make the pros. The others—remember this is the best
of the crop—could hold their own anywhere. If they practiced more and had more
competition for positions, they might do better than that.
But whatever the
limitations, each of the 12 boys expects eventually to benefit from an Ivy
League education; he has had an unusual opportunity to develop his skills and
poise; regardless of whether he is a brain or just a student who struggles to
get by, he has at least been challenged to think. There are few snap courses in
the Ivy League.