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HERMAN HICKMAN SAYS:
In the sparsely settled and widely-scattered environs of the Skyline Conference, football is booming. Greatest handicap has been the scarcity of high school football teams in many areas, making it necessary to recruit players from other sections. Now, however, more high schools are playing football, and the quality of young players entering college is improving every year.
Utah, under the guidance of veteran Coach Jack Curtice, is the unanimous pick of players, coaches and populace to regain the title taken, surprisingly, by Colorado A&M last year. Some critics even claim national consideration for the Redskins, whose caliber will be indicated by their opening-night bid on September 21 against the depleted forces of UCLA. Other nonconference opponents on the ambitious Utah schedule are Rice and Colorado.
Right behind Utah and in strong contention is Wyoming, which ended its 1955 season by taking Texas Tech 21-14 in the Sun Bowl. The Cowboys may present the best all-round play in the conference. Phil Dickens, former Tennessee tailback, has added a touch of T to his Tennessee single wing attack in order to increase the defensive problems of his opponents.
Denver should have an offense-minded team with the emphasis on running. There are enough good backs around to make Coach John Roning's split-T click, although the loss of Jimmy Bowen, who led the nation in touchdown pass output in 1955, will undoubtedly soften the aerial game. Denver must be classed as another contender.
The Colorado Aggies, 1955 champions, have a new coach this year in Don Mullison; Bob Davis retired to devote his full time to the athletic directorship. Gone from the scene is Gary Glick, one of the outstanding backs of 1955 and the pros' bonus draft pick. A&M claims to have another potential All-America player in Bob Weber at center, and other coaches substantiate the claim. The Aggie line should be better this year, but the backfield, big and strong, lacks speed.
Utah State has the best backfield it has fielded in recent years, with Halfbacks Jack Hill and John Whatcott, and should be improved if sophomores and transfers come through.
COLORS: Green and gold.
BASIC OFFENSE: Split-T.