Also known as "Rhythm on the river" (but not to be mistaken for the 1940 Bing Crosby film of the same name), Freshman Love is similar to many college films of the era that carry the theme: Dimwitted athletics vs nerdy academics.
The twist is that this is Billings University, with a rowing team that lacks any punch. Their coach sets up a rigorous practice schedule for his team and insists they lead strictly disciplined lives (meaning no girls and no fun) so that they will become winners and thereby save his endangered job. Unfortunately, his efforts are constantly frustrated by Joan, a seductive co-ed who keeps luring the husky oarsmen away from practice.
Things look bleak until coach Hammond devises an ingenious method to get new oarsmen from other schools to enroll in his college -- by sending enticing letters with a sexy photo of Joan enclosed. He manages to recruit two of the best rowers in the nation, who just happen to be JC transfers - how else can you explain that the entire class of freshmen look like they're slightly over 40!
There is, of course, the inevitable love triangle of Joan, Tony Foster and Bob Smith.
Comic relief is supplied by the inept coach, "Speed" Hammond, and Squirmy, his college secretary.
Trouble brews when the boys can't cut it academically and of course the big race is on Saturday, and they all have to pass a special test...
You guessed it, the girls all pitch in to tutor our errant boys who would rather sing and dance than hit the books. The day is saved when it's discovered that the "boys" respond better to music than to the calls of their coxswain, who also happens to be the college band leader - and the refrains of a hot "Dixie" helps them to win the regatta.
There are some great scenes of L.A. Harbor, the Rose Gardens across from USC, and woody boats at Lake Arrowhead as well as some catchy musical numbers well sung by Patricia Ellis. Also look out for a bit part by a very, very young Lloyd Bridges.