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HERMAN HICKMAN SAYS:
This is the year of the big switch in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Only three of the eight schools have the same head coaches as last season. This is a rather high casualty rate even for the precarious profession of football coaching. Only Bill Murray, Frank Howard and Earle Edwards are open for business at the same old stands—Duke, Clemson and North Carolina State.
Bowlmaster Jim Tatum's homing instinct returned him to Chapel Hill after a brilliant sojourn at Maryland. Thus the ball started rolling. Warren Geise, Tatum's right bower on the Terrapin staff, was asked by Rex En-right at South Carolina to take over his vacated duties as head coach when Enright, after a long and honorable career as both coach and athletic director, decided to confine his activities to the latter. Tommy Mont, another Tatum assistant and former Terp star, succeeded to the vacated throne at College Park.
Meanwhile, the Demon Deacons, dissatisfied with Tom Rogers at the helm, "called" Paul Amen, longtime assistant to Earl Blaik at Army, to take over the transplanted Baptist football operations at the new Wake Forest College campus near Winston-Salem, N.C. Finally, Ben Martin, formerly an Eddie Erdelatz assistant at Navy, succeeded Ned McDonald as headman at Virginia. Thus the only real coaching casualties were at Wake Forest and Virginia, where, incidentally, the outlook is dark for winning seasons. These two teams should battle it out for the cellar position.
Otherwise it looks like the same old melodrama being rerun for the folks who happened to miss it before. It is still Duke and Maryland, Maryland and Duke in the star roles, and on alternate years they play a single in the Orange Bowl. Of course they don't play each other and won't until 1960. So, picking them co-champions each year is a pretty good bet, with Clemson's hungry Tiger stalking either who falters. This season there is an added feature: Jim Tatum and his hardy troupe of Tar Heel players lurking in the wings and waiting for the day when their lines are stronger so they can take over the starring role. Southern critics say it will happen soon, because Tatum, in the parlance of the theatrical trade, is known as a "quick study." Geise inherits a better-than-average squad at South Carolina which could surprise, while North Carolina State will be much improved. Morale is high at both Wake Forest and Virginia, but the material is just not up to the standards of the other six members of the conference, and neither can be considered a threat, although both could be spoilers.
So, after a trip down Tobacco Road, it looks like Duke, with its brilliant split-T Quarterback Sonny Jurgensen hale and hardy, should be undefeated in conference play, represent the ACC in the Orange Bowl and be one of the top teams in the nation (see The Eleven Best Elevens). It is my hunch that Maryland could disappoint in the national picture, but should co-champion the ACC with Duke.
COLORS: Red and white.
BASIC OFFENSE: Split-T.
1955 RECORD: Won 10, lost 0.