HERMAN HICKMAN SAYS:
Strife-torn from Seattle to Southern California, the Pacific Coast Conference lurches uncertainly into the current football season. The unprecedented series of upheavals started at Washington early last winter, smoldered and smoked there for months, then burst into full flame at the West-wood home of the Uclans. Swept across town by an ill wind, the conflagration caused considerable financial loss to the University of Southern California and reduced some of the powerful Trojans to part-time personnel. Some of these sparks ignited a minor fire at Berkeley, but losses were negligible except for one important part-time casualty—the brilliant Fullback Jerry Drew. Thus far, Pullman, Corvallis, Eugene, Palo Alto and Moscow have not been touched. Truthfully, these seats of learning are in no way sympathetic to their suffering brethren, particularly those in the Los Angeles area.
As spring came to the slopes of the Pacific, it looked like the same old story. Southern California seemed headed for its alternate-year appearance in the Rose Bowl. The battle for Coast supremacy would again be between the Trojans and the Uclans, with Stanford given an outside chance. Then charges and countercharges rent the air. The University of Washington had already been given a thorough going-over: fined, reprimanded and excluded from the Rose Bowl. But this was nothing compared to the conference action against UCLA and Southern California. Fines, probations, reprimands and Rose Bowl exclusions were pronounced, the latter important to the Los Angeles schools because the Pasadena affair had been practically their own private enterprise. One year's eligibility was taken from all players who had accepted excess aid, an action affecting nearly every member of both squads. Later, the conference, doubtless considering that the players were suffering most for sins equally shared by others, ameliorated the penalty to allow seniors to play—any five straight games. Tommy Prothro, whose Oregon State Beavers were runners-up for the title last year in his first head coaching assignment, sums up the situation pretty well: "The fans of the Pacific Coast will really have an exciting season when they go to the games this fall. They not only won't know who will win, they won't know who is playing." The seniors at UCLA and USC will probably be split pretty well over the season.
Unscathed Stanford looks like the best bet to win the Pacific Coast title and go to the Rose Bowl. Coach Chuck Taylor has gotten a lot of mileage out of sometimes thin material in the past few years and has finally acquired depth and size at a time when the giants of the southland are at low ebb. The pass-minded Indians, with John Brodie doing the pitching, and a large line, spearheaded by Tackle Paul Wig-gin, may even be a candidate for top national honors. This contention will be tested early, when they meet Michigan State and Ohio State on successive Saturdays.
But, Washington, under new Coach Darrell Royal, is my dark-horse pick for the title. Better morale and better techniques are the basis of my selection. If the quarterback situation can be solved and not too much physical damage incurred in early-season inter-sectional games with Minnesota and Illinois, the Huskies should be a definite contender.
USC should again be strong, despite the fact that 12 players will lose five games of eligibility. UCLA, contrary to popular belief, did not have depth even before the loss of Ronnie Knox and All-America end candidate Tom Adams to Canadian pro football.
LOS ANGELES, CALIF.
COLORS: Blue and gold.
BASIC OFFENSE: Single wing, balanced line.
1955 RECORD: Won 9, lost 1.
Rose Bowl: Lost to Mich. St. 14-17.