Rated underdogs for the first, and possibly only time this year, Dick Harlow's 34-man football squad entrains for Virginia, the land of plantations and imported gridiron talent, tonight at 11 o'clock from South Station.
The send-off ceremony at the station will feature a serenade by the University band, which starts south an hour later, and a large group of undergraduate supporters are expected. "We'll need all the backing we can get," said one of the Varsity coaches last night.
The Crimson unit, accompanied by athletic director Bill Bingham, H.A.A. business manager Carroll Gotchell, and Varsity mentors Harlow, Hal Kopp, and Bob Margarita, will arrive in Charlottesville in time for a Friday afternoon practice session on Virginia University's home grounds, Scott Feld.
Crimson Rating Down
According to this week's Williamson Ratings, Harvard--fifteenth last week--has slipped to sixty-second in the nation by virtue of the Crimson's close call against Boston University last Saturday.
One of the more reliable of the plethora of gridiron scratch sheets foisted on the public by "experts" who see one game per week and, on this basis, place over one hundred teams, the publication rates Virginia eighth.
In the north-south battle which is expected to fill the 20,000-capacity Scott Field for the first time, the Crimson squad has two distinct advantages.
First, the Cavaliers, favorites on paper, may be too convinced of their invulnerability in actual combat. Crimson rooters well remember what happened to the Varsity when it got too cocky before last year's Rutgers game.
Second, Indian summer set in last Monday and the warm practice weather is certain to have Harvard in much better physical condition for the trek southward.
Yesterday's workout was marked by contact work against Virginia defenses as well as offenses, a long passing drill, and a combined Varsity B and C team's spirited scrimmage against the first-string J.V. eleven.
After the session, Dick Harlow praised the running of wingback Herb O'Connell and the fight of Chet Pierce, whom he termed "the most improved man on the squad."