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Eight major bowl games will be played this year, spotted over 11 days and the breadth of the country. Beginning with Philadelphia's Liberty Bowl and ending with the Rose in Pasadena, bands will march, majorettes will strut and queens will be crowned. There will even be, as Artist Arnold Roth admits in the panels beginning below, football—and lots of it. The parade is headed by the game of the year, Texas versus Navy. The burning question is: In this year of the quarterback, can the most sensational of all, Navy's Roger Staubach, avoid the perils of on-coming Texas tacklers often enough to bring his team out on top? The answer—and selections of the victors in all the bowls—can be found in the scouting reports starting below.
THE COTTON BOWL
Texas against Navy is the game that had to be. Throughout the whole last half of the 1963 regular season the Longhorns and the Midshipmen were rated one-two in the national polls, and that is how they finished, amid a generous showering of trophies and plaques. Texas, the only major college team to wind up unbeaten and untied (10-0), was appropriately crowned national champion. Its leader, Darrell Royal, was voted Coach of the Year, and its tackle, Scott Appleton, was voted Lineman of the Year. Navy, a restless No. 2 team with a 9-1 record, had to settle for the Lambert Trophy, awarded to the best football team in the East, while Navy Quarterback Roger Staubach took the Heisman Trophy as Player of the Year. Now they meet in what should be the best of the postseason games.
That the game is in the Cotton Bowl spreads irony everywhere. It was in the same stadium on successive days in mid-October that Texas became No. 1 by defeating Oklahoma and that Navy lost all chance of attaining the same first-place rating by suffering an upset to SMU. Navy continued to lay claim to the national championship by defeating a variety of impersonal intersectional opponents by impressive scores. But Texas was even more impressive, shouldering the burden of the top rating week after week and surviving.
All season the strength of Texas lay in its alertness, agility, depth and courage. At the core was a group of 22 seniors known as the Duke Carlisle Crowd, named for the Texas quarterback who became their leader when they were recruited by Royal in 1960. In three years these two full teams won 28 regular season games, lost one and tied one. But they did not have to play all the games alone. They had so much help, in fact, that they were able to suffer injuries that other teams would have considered grievous. Before the season began, Sandy Sands, the Longhorns' best end, dropped out because of injury. Ken Ferguson, the tackle opposite Appleton, was injured and has never won back his position. Ernie Koy, one of the nation's best punters, was lost in the third game and out for the year. By the seventh game Royal was down to his third-string fullback.
Texas will need every bit of its depth if it is going to prevent Navy from tarnishing its trophies. Coach Wayne Hardin's team is as thoroughly aggressive as Royal's, and many of its weapons are obscured by Roger Staubach's fame. Hardin has good reason to believe that Fullback Pat Donnelly is the best there is, that Halfback Johnny Sai, given daylight, can outrun any defender with his 9.7 sprinter's speed, that Tackle Jim Freeman is among the best in the East, and that Staubach is blessed with wonderful receivers. But it is Staubach, of course, who makes Navy a superb team. "He's a good enough runner to make a fine pro halfback, but he's even a better quarterback," says Royal.
Texas has not seen a passer who can escape rushing linemen like Staubach. Navy, on the other hand, has not tried to block any linemen, linebackers or ends as fast or as determined as the Longhorns'. Texas may well use a concealed rush on Navy, as it did on Baylor's Don Trull, never letting Staubach know whether the linebackers, led by sophomore Tommy Nobis, or the ends are going to fire through. And Texas' hard-tackling secondary will punish the Navy receivers for every completion. With its aggressiveness, however, Texas will be vulnerable to the big play, Navy's specialty.
In the end the question is not whether Texas' defense is as good as Navy's offense, but the opposite. Is Texas' offense, a grinding ground attack with Duke Carlisle keeping and running, and with Halfback Tommy Ford (738 yards gained) going under and over tacklers, better than Navy's defense? It most likely is, for Navy surrendered too many points this year to lesser opponents. Navy, the team learned against Army, cannot score if Staubach cannot get the ball, and Texas is the type of team that keeps it all afternoon—and then takes it home. Texas will do it again.
THE ORANGE BOWL
For three years Miami's football enthusiasts watched local boy George Mira put more passes in the air than there are Capri pants on Biscayne Bay. Thus it may be a welcome if less stimulating change when these same ticket buyers go to the Orange Bowl to see two other gifted quarterbacks, Auburn's Jimmy Sidle and Nebraska's Dennis Claridge, operate in a wholly different way. Theirs is the art of running. And in that special event known as the quarterbacks' 10-game dash, both Sidle and Claridge ran a 9-1. Miami may come up with the day's best game, even though Mira has to watch it in golf shirt and sunglasses.