CONCLUSION: Georgia's chances rest too heavily on ifs. In the Bulldogs' rough milieu, there is no room for might-have-beens.
Coach Bobby Dodd likes a relaxed atmosphere. He also likes to give all of his boys a chance to play. Each year, as a consequence, he has a backlog of experienced players to fill in the first-team ranks. This year he lost 25 lettermen, yet he still has 26 returning. If anything, the replacements are bigger and more skillful than their predecessors. Six-foot-4, 226-pound Billy Martin moves up to team at end with another junior, pro-sized Ted Davis. And the center of the line, with its strength focused at guard, is Dodd's most menacing ever. Here two likely All-Americas, Dave Watson and Rufus Guthrie, block and tackle with unmatched effectiveness. Tech's pro-set formation will not be hobbled by the loss of the team's leading receivers and breakaway backs. Thanks to Dodd's forward look, a herd of fast backs is ready to run the quick openers and catch the sure passes thrown by Quarterbacks Stan Gann and Billy Lothridge.
CONCLUSION: Relaxed football's strongest advocate this side of a de-emphasized campus has come up with a barn-burner.
After five seasons of patient losing, Kentucky wanted a winner. Blanton Collier was out as head coach, and Charlie Bradshaw, a no-nonsense disciple of Paul Bryant, was in. While Bradshaw isn't promising a championship, he has said he will play tough, Bryant-style football, stressing running and a strong defense. But he may not get the chance. On the 35-man squad, only 17 are lettermen. At least two sophomores, Guard Terry Clark and Halfback Phil Pickett, are likely starters. The best of his returnees, all undistinguished runners, play an excellent passing game. Quarterback Jerry Woolum, a fine thrower, has Ends Tom Hutchinson, who caught 32 passes in 1961 for 543 yards and made the all-SEC team, and Dave Gash (16 catches) and brilliant Halfback Darrell Cox to throw to. The line will be uncertain in the middle. At tackle, Junior Hawthorne and Hersch Turner are outstanding. Their replacements, however, are not.
CONCLUSION: Bradshaw has to win, and to win, the Wildcats have to pass. Even so, they won't beat the best of the SEC.
How well LSU plays this year will depend directly upon how well it adjusts to life without Paul Dietzel, now at Army. In seven years Coach Dietzel's teams won 45 games. He has left his successor, Charlie McClendon, well fixed, maybe even better fixed than he was in 1961, when the Tigers won 10 games and lost one. They may give up a touchdown or two more this season, but they will score more often, too. Behind a big, fast line (235-pound Tackle Don Estes, for example, is one of the swiftest men on the squad) Quarterback Jimmy Field calls the slot T plays and runs in a most impressive manner. He also passes on occasion, but with all-Southeast Left Half Jerry Stovall (405 yards rushing and 6.2 average in 1961) and 215-pound Right Half Bud Soefker to carry the handoffs, there is precious little need for passing. Should there be, though, the rich Louisianans could call on sophomore Pat Screen, an exceptional passer.
CONCLUSION: LSU's hardest schedule in years is the only thing standing between McClendon and a title the first time out.