Around the smaller U.S. colleges Saturday in the fall is as big a day as it is in Seattle or East Lansing or Atlanta. The difference is that almost everything is on a smaller scale. There is less publicity, the crowds are smaller, and the squads generally total from 20 to 30 players, not the 50 who pour single file into the stadium at South Bend.
Skimpy budgets often make it an uphill fight for small colleges to field teams. (Another item that is sometimes uphill is the small-college field, which is occasionally higher at one end than the other, thus permitting teams to show their best form only every other period, when the going is downhill.)
But for all this, football as it is played at William Jewell, Tennessee Tech and Fresno State is fun. The people who attend the games are no less enthusiastic than they are at the big schools, and the teams play just as hard. At times they play harder and better. There are teams with major-college status which would do well to avoid the smaller schools with their bigger lines and faster back-fields. Here is a glimpse at 13 of the better small-college teams, their coaches and their players.
East Texas State (Commerce, Texas): The coach's name is J. V. Sikes, but the boys are strictly varsity. A 7-0 loss to Texas A&I was the lone smudge on a 9-1 record last year and helped tie the two clubs for first place in the Lone Star Conference.
There is only one trouble spot—quarterback, where Sam McCord, a two-time Little All-America, will be replaced by untested Jim Williams and Transfer Carl Johnston. The rest of the backs are excellent runners. George Boynton, already drafted by the pros, and Jim Shaw are back at the halves, and Wallace Miller returns with his rumbling stride at fullback.
With Guards Jerry Davis and Jerry Peveto, End Bill Hopkins and 240-pound Tackle Evaristo Nino the defense will be strong.
Fresno State ( Fresno, Calif.): Optimism is one of those intangibles that can be produced by little things like sunshine, a good meal or 17 lettermen and a batch of good junior college transfers. Cecil Coleman has the ingredients to make a coach optimistic.
For instance, he has an all-veteran first unit, including seven starters. He has ' Doug Brown and Dale Messer. Brown, a 245-pound guard, has been drafted by both the Los Angeles Rams and Dallas Texans even though he still has two years of college eligibility left.
If Messer, who weighs a scant 165 pounds, does not carry much weight, his football statistics do. Last year he led the Bulldogs in rushing (485 yards at 6.7 a try), pass receiving (17 for 297 yards), scoring (56 points), kickoff and punt returns.
On the line, which averages 218 pounds from tackle to tackle, Brown will get ample help from Center Don Brockett (215), Tackles Lou Popelar (225) and Sonny Bishop (225).