Inevitably fall the leaves and football coaches. Sunday . . . Wayne Hardin, Muddy Waters. Monday . . . Bob Blackman, F.A. Dry . . .

Blackman, at Cornell, went the way Hardin of Temple did, in his own good time. Dry, at Texas Christian, had to be pushed, as did Waters of Michigan State -- protesting they weren't given fair chances. But all will be through upon season's approaching end.

TCU Athletic Director Frank Windegger on Dry's termination with two years left on contract: "It was the wins and losses (12-50-3). F.A. is a good man and he brought more talent here, but this is a harsh business and F.A. knows it."

Dry: "They gave me a chance to resign but I told them I had more class than that. We were just on the verge of turning this program around . . ."

MSU Athletic Director Doug Weaver on Waters' ouster with two years of contract to go: "Muddy is a classy man" but the program (10-22 in Waters' three years) did not make "the progress it should have made."

Waters: "I really think so (that his firing was a mistake). What we need here more than anything else is continuity." He suggests the next coach get a 10-year no-cut contract, protection against "a bunch of neurotic people screaming every time the scoreboard goes the wrong way" . . .

Blackman, 64, seeks his 165th major-college victory Saturday when his Big Red plays Penn; he trails only Bear Bryant's 322 and Bo Schembechler's 171 but says the pressures had begun to affect his health.

In Philadelphia, Hardin at 55 ditches two remaining years of a three-year "revolving" contract in favor of golf and relaxation, and can look back not only on a fine stand at Temple but as the coach in Navy's glory days of Roger Staubach.