After reading John Underwood's story on college football last fall (The College Game Is Best, Sept. 20), I decided to compare college football with pro football this year. My decision: college football by a mile.
Watching Tommy Prothro's gutty little UCLA Bruins win game after game, even though they were the underdogs all the time, and seeing Heisman Trophy Winner Mike Garrett's fabulous runs have given me some of my greatest football thrills of all time.
Two of the most exciting games I have ever seen were the UCLA-USC game and the Rose Bowl, where the Bruins beat the No. 1 team in the nation. In fact, all the bowl games were very good, while the NFL and AFL championship games were two of the dullest I had ever seen.
From now on college football is my cup of split T.
January 24, 1966
What was the big idea of not including the Sugar Bowl game in your January 10 reviews? This was one of the most exciting of all the bowl games. Steve Spurrier put on an aerial circus that any football or nonfootball fan would have enjoyed. Charley Casey's catch in the end zone in the fourth quarter was the most spectacular I have ever seen.
MARY Jo BATEY
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned—or a national alumni president who finds his school (Missouri) in a major bowl that is pointedly passed over by SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. I shall have nothing but contempt for your stuffy book from here to eternity.
MARVIN D. MCQUEEN
Being a 32nd Degree 'Bama Fan, I devoured your choice article on the Orange Bowl. However, if I were a Missouri or Florida fan, I would have mailed you a package containing a bowl filled with sugar (complete with ant colony) with the caption, "Didn't you forget something?"
C. RUSSELL FARMER JR.
I wish to congratulate you on your splendid and colorful coverage of the major bowl games. There seemed to be a lot of static in the air around the New Orleans area concerning your lack of coverage of the Sugar Bowl game, but I say, when New Orleans is able to land two teams of national prominence and with something at stake, such as the national title, then, and only then, will they deserve equal coverage in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED.
J. L. SIMPSON
What a wonderful article on Forddy Anderson (Tradition Sprouts in a Cornfield, Jan. 10)! It is a pleasure to learn that he has found a spot at the new Hiram Scott College. No man is better qualified to do credit both to the college and to himself.
You did allude to Coach Anderson's basketball ability by saying he could dribble down the court and challenge his players to take the ball away from him, but it was disappointing not to find a single reference to the school at which he achieved basketball stardom and received his education—Stanford University.
J. DONALD MCCREADY
Your article about the new Hiram Scott College on the outskirts of Scottsbluff, Neb. was very good, but I (and my fellow students) feel hurt. We also attend a new college, Midwestern College in Denison, Iowa. We have had an undefeated football team in our first season, and we have a very good basketball team. Come see us when we play Hiram Scott and judge for yourselves which school should have been written up first.
From one of a great many basketball fans who would rather sit in on a Forddy Anderson-coached team's losing effort than watch some other team in victory, sincere thanks to you and Writer Gerald Holland for Tradition Sprouts in a Cornfield.
I still will travel to East Lansing for each Spartan home game, but my heart is now beside the sandy Platte.
MAX E. BEEBE
Are all your basketball writers graduates of St. Joseph's (The Hawk Is a Mighty Hunter, Jan. 10)? There must be some rational explanation for their preoccupation with the Hawks. St. Joe's probably could beat the Celtics in the Palestra, but they have consistently displayed their mediocrity outside of it. Why don't you look to the South, where the top three teams in America are playing ball?
With so many "poverty games" with teams like Penn, the Hawks naturally rate much better than a team like Duke, which only beat weaklings like UCLA, Michigan and North Carolina.
CHRIS A. CUBBISON
The Hawk may be a mighty hunter in the Palestra where panic and bedlam prevail, but in Provo, Utah, Laramie, Wyoming or Providence the Hawk is a dead duck.
PAUL E. FLAMAND
I'm glad to see that one of your writers knows where the hotbed of basketball is. The article by Frank Deford was sensational! The Hawks will fly high for many years.
Frank Deford says Charlie Wieners, the St. Joseph's Hawk, is called Cholly because "everybody in Philadelphia says Cholly for Charlie." Why is it that every time your writers want to be cute about the way Philadelphians pronounce words they listen to someone about a week removed from The Bronx or Brooklyn?
You can tell Deford that I work in an office with four Charlies. I listened carefully. No one calls them Cholly. I asked eight people to listen for Cholly during their lunch hours and on the street. No one has heard a Cholly yet.
JAMES F. CONNOR JR.
Now that it's over, I think that the year 1965 has definitely proved the validity of southern California's claim to be sports capital of the U.S. Let's see what happened.
In basketball: the UCLA Bruins (Goodrich, Erickson) won their second straight national title in 1964-65, and the 1965-66 Bruins are also serious contenders for the national crown; the 1964-65 Lakers (West, Baylor) finished the second best team in the NBA, while the 1965-66 Lakers are already pulling away from the rest of the Western Division.
In football: two southern California teams, UCLA and USC (Garrett), were nationally ranked; the San Diego Chargers made it again to the championship game of the AFL.
In baseball: the Dodgers (Wills, Drysdale, Koufax) proved supreme.
In tennis: the UCLA team (Ashe, Crookenden), the best doubles team in U.S. history, won the national intercollegiate title going away.
In track: meets throughout the country had many athletes from southern California winning events; a southern California high school, Long Beach Polytechnic, had the best team in the nation.
In many other sports, such as swimming, gymnastics, sailing, etc., southern California was indeed well represented. No other area can claim so many excellent athletes.
Long Beach, Calif.
Hold it! Hold it! George Plimpton's article on the waiving of Tackle Mike Bundra by the Giants was well written and sympathetically handled (But Why Me, Coach? Dec. 13). I would enter, however, a small disclaimer in relation to the statement that the Buffalo Bills once "cut a player by having the equipment manager clear out his locker."
Never in the history of the Bills has a player been waived without the courtesy of a personal meeting with either the head coach—Buster Ramsey or Lou Saban—or the director of player personnel, Harvey Johnson.
Assistant General Manager
THE OTHER SIDE
After reading the article entitled "Revolt" in your December 20 SCORECARD section, I realized that you were taking sides with the fishing sportsman as opposed to the water skier. Since your magazine is directed toward the sports-minded reader, I think you should have evaluated the facts in this particular case a little better. You state that I "buzzed" Mr. Weber's dock and imply that Mr. Weber was justified in striking back by casting a "hookless dummy plug" around my waist. This was not the case at all. First of all I didn't buzz Mr. Weber's dock. Witnesses stated I was approximately 75 feet from the dock. Hardly buzzing distance. Mr. Weber proceeded to throw out the fishing line (75-pound test) without any previous signal that we were bothering him. The line left an 18-inch scar across my waist. Directly after the incident I swam back to the dock to apologize for breaking his deep-sea fishing line. It was then that Mr. Weber stated that this was an intentional act to commit bodily harm. This conversation and my apology were also witnessed.
Although I understand the problems between skiers and fishermen, this mishap is not one of them. Mr. Weber used the tools of a fisherman only in anger. If skiing 75 feet from Mr. Weber's dock had in some way annoyed him, he could have signaled us in a reasonable manner and we would have left. I am sure that if you will review the facts you will realize that the incident involved not a fisherman and a skier but a skier and a man with a potentially dangerous weapon.
As a paying football fan I feel entitled to put in my 2¢ worth, even though it probably won't go very far in this age of the half-million-dollar contract. These big bonus contracts come out of the fans' pockets. Besides paying at the turnstiles, we pay a little at a time to the bighearted TV sponsors who charge us a penny here and a penny there for our razor blades, beer, tires and what have you. Soon the inevitable ticket increases will be upon us.
For what? Can one of these unproved rookies provide more thrills and excitement than a Larry Wilson playing with two broken hands, or a John Unitas, Lenny Moore, Fuzzy Thurston, Ken Gray, Tommy McDonald, Pete Retzlaff etc., etc.? I doubt it. If these rookies won't play for less I'd prefer to watch the old men like Jim Taylor, Bart Starr and Paul Hornung and save the money. Besides, these "no-cut" contracts will ruin the game, not improve it. Can you imagine a rookie middle guard coming to camp 20 pounds overweight and not having to hustle to make the team? Even All-Pros have to fight to retain their positions, and that's why the 40 survivors are the "best."
The owners, I guess, are investing these large sums of money to fill the stands each Sunday. If that's all they are worried about I have a suggestion. The next time they have $350,000 to throw away on a rookie, they ought to spend it instead on the fans. Take $5,000 a week and offer it as an attendance prize. With seven home games a year the money would last 10 years (even without collecting interest).
I'm sure that once the bonus offers were eliminated, we'd find Donny Anderson, Tommy Nobis, Carl McAdams, Jim Grabowski and company would be very happy to play for a mere $25,000 or $30,000 a year—providing, of course, that they could make the team.
MILTON J. BEAUDINE
East St. Louis, Ill.