The Harvards face the Yales this Saturday in the 76th game of college football's greatest rivalry. For one of the few times in recent years, more is at stake than college pride.
A victory over the varsity eleven is a must for the Bulldogs to hold onto their slim chance to tie for the Ivy League title. If, by some twist of fate, the Yalies happen to gain a victory at the Bowl, they still must wait until Thanksgiving Day to cheer on Cornell against first-place Pennsylvania in the annual League finale at Philadelphia.
Also at stake is the Big Three title. The Crimson seeks its first win in the round-robin competition since 1954, when the varsity beat Princeton, 14 to 9, and upset Yale, 13 to 9. The Bulldog team will be trying for its fourth Big Three championship in five years.
For the Crimson, The Game is important to its League status, although a 16-6 mistake last Saturday afternoon made first place out of reach. A win would mean a respectable third-place tie with Yale. And a loss--perish the thought--would result in a less than .500 record--no improvement over last year.
From New Haven comes coach Jordan Olivar's boast that he has never sent a Yale team into a game in better shape. After five straight wins and a trouncing over Princeton, his team, an underdog two months ago, is now favored by most observers to beat the Crimson.
John Yovicsin's eleven should relish the role of the underdog. Its two biggest wins of the season were over favored opponents, and its two worst showings were in games in which it was a clear favorite.
The starting backfield, one of Harvard's best running trios, will be making its last appearance this Saturday at the Bowl. Chet Boulris, Sam Halaby, and Albie Cullen will close out illustrious gridiron careers. Also playing their last games in Harvard uniforms will be guards Jerry Weidler and George Waterman.
The Crimson is ready physically for the big game, with the exception of Bob Pillsbury, whose injury sustained the Princeton game will keep him on the bench. Bruce MacIntyre, who sat out the Brown game, will be available for regular duty as Boulris' substitute and as the team's top punter.
MacIntyre has a punting average of 40.4 yards and can break Dick Clasby's varsity record Saturday. To have a chance at the mark, MacIntyre must kick at least three times (to reach the minimum) and must average over 41 yards during the day.
But the old grads--and the experts--will tell you that statistics and previous performances mean little in The Game. What decides this one is team spirit, and both coaches realize that their teams must be "up" for the traditional game.
In other action in the League, Dartmouth visits Princeton in an important game for the Indians. If the Big Green wins, it can hold on to a chance for first place in the League. But the spotlight of the day will be on New Haven. And there it seems that the Crimson will prove the old chestnut: Yale has the Bowl, but Harvard has the punch.