HERMAN HICKMAN SAYS:
This fall, for the first time, the Ivy League becomes a football reality, not just a way of life. More important, the hard-core Harvard-Yale-Princeton group, possibly at the insistence of Princeton, has restored "full rights and privileges" to Pennsylvania, blackballed in 1946 by fellow conference members for going big league in a definitely non-Ivy way. Since then, Pennsylvania has done penance, conducted a victory-with-honor campaign wherein the Red and Blue stacked a squad of honor students against the nation's best elevens week after week. Needless to say, the campaign was highly unsuccessful through two winless seasons.
So now the round robin begins in full, with each team playing the seven other members of the league every year. The schedule is limited to nine games, with Harvard playing only eight, thus precluding much outside competition.
In this, the inaugural year, Yale seems equipped to sweep through its schedule. With 33 lettermen returning and only two members of the first two teams lost by graduation, the Bulldog could well be one of the top teams of the nation (see The Eleven Best Elevens).
Cornell looks like the best bet to thwart Yale's bid for the first official Ivy League title. The Big Red has the best backfield in the conference. The big weakness during the last two years at Cornell was in the line, but this fall they have good experience and size returning.
Dartmouth showed tremendous improvement last season under the first-year tutelage of Coach Bob Blackburn. Although they won only three games, all the losses, with the exception of the Yale game, were by a touchdown or less. The big line and fast backs of last fall's undefeated freshman team should turn some of those close losses into wins. The first-string line returns intact, headed by End Monte Pascoe who was one of the nation's leading pass receivers a year ago. Biggest problem here is in filling Bill Beagle's quarterback position. Mike Brown, son of Cleveland Coach Paul Brown, has some experience. The Indians must be considered a threat to the title.
Princeton has just three regulars returning from last year's championship team, and of these only John Sapoch remains of the starting backfield. The Tigers must rebuild their backfield and find a capable tailback, key to Charlie Caldwell's brilliantly conceived single wing attack. The frosh record was mediocre, but Fred Tiley was a standout and may grab that tailback spot. On paper, Princeton chances seem slim. The Tigers have no Kazmaier or Flip-pin, but I know from sad personal experience never to count out a Charlie Caldwell team.
Pennsylvania has lost 18 straight games, but this streak should be broken before too many Saturdays in an Ivy schedule.
Harvard has a tremendous potential in the backfield but problems in the line where all but one regular is missing. Junior Tailback Walt Stahura could play on any team, but I doubt if the Cantabs can be considered a serious Ivy contender.
Brown does not have a single returning letterman in the backfield but loses only Jim McGuiness from the line. There should be some excellent material coming up from last year's frosh squad.