HERMAN HICKMAN SAYS:
There is little balance of strength in this venerable conference, which once stretched from College Park, Md. to New Orleans and was composed of the present powerhouses of the Southeastern Conference and the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The nine-team conference could probably best be divided into the haves and have nots. West Virginia, Virginia Tech, George Washington, William and Mary and Richmond are the haves. Less fortunate are Davidson, The Citadel, VMI and Furman.
West Virginia's Mountaineers have figured rather prominently on the national scene for the past few years, but late-season lapses have cost them some prestige. They open the coming season with Pitt's Panthers on Sept. 22 at Morgantown, W. Va. Word is that they have pointed for this one since the close of last year. Despite key losses the Mountaineers will again be powerful and should certainly add to their 16 straight victories against Southern Conference opposition.
George Washington and Virginia Tech should rate close seconds to West Virginia in the power department. The Colonials are loaded with veterans and could be a threat to West Virginia. A win over the Mountaineers would undoubtedly give them the title, because Virginia Tech plays only three conference games and none of these with George Washington or West Virginia. The rest of the conference shapes up pretty much catch-as-catch-can, and it will be extremely difficult to make any sense out of their standings, since there is no requirement that members play any definite number of games with conference opponents.
Richmond, with a slew of veterans returning, and William and Mary, with a less murderous schedule than last year, should have winning seasons, as should Davidson and The Citadel.
Youth and inexperience appear to be the main problem at VMI, where a winning season is still a couple of years away, while Furman, though improving, is playing out of its class.
COLORS: Gold and blue.
BASIC OFFENSE: Split-T.