Well, fans, here is the 1968 college football issue—proof, among other things, that Superspectator Mervin Hyman has done it again. In order to turn out preliminary scouting reports on two sports, as well as FOOTBALL'S WEEK and BASKETBALL'S WEEK, Merv watches more contests in any given year than anyone else on this magazine. Hyman, currently president of the Football Writers Association of America, will have seen enough of football and basketball to last a reasonable man a lifetime before the seasons even begin, but fortunately he is not an entirely reasonable man. After 10 years of this treadmill he still likes it, though he admits that recently it was high school basketball that really got to him. His son David, now a 20-year-old junior at Rutgers, was co-captain of Dwight Morrow High's basketball team in Englewood, N.J. "All the hundreds—thousands—of games I've seen where I've sat impassively," Hyman muses, "but I'd go to these damned high school games and agonize!"
Merv has always enjoyed sports, and a classic combination of pluck and luck has had him writing about them since he was 12. The pluck lay in going to the Englewood Press at 12 to announce that he was willing to be the paper's sports editor, and though they declined that offer they did set him to writing sports for a stipend of 5¢ per inch. The luck lay in the fact that when he came to Time Inc., TIME magazine's sports editor was a woman, Pearl Kroll. "A very nice lady," Merv recalls, "but she couldn't go into a locker room, so I was asked to do little things like that." When SI was launched in 1954 Merv was drafted from TIME.
To help prepare the scouting reports for this issue, Merv covered a record 15,000 miles, and he came back much in favor of the football at Purdue and not at all in favor of the weather at Notre Dame. Spring weather is always chancy. "At Illinois a few years ago there had been tornado warnings, and suddenly the wind began to blow. I saw a little black spot in the sky and I said to Coach Pete Elliott, 'I think I'm going to leave now.' He said, 'Why?' I said, 'Because I think that's a tornado.' He said, 'That's an airplane.' " It was an airplane, as it turned out, but this year the dust storm he encountered at Notre Dame was a dust storm. It drove dust so deeply into Merv that it took three baths to get it off. "Then the temperature dropped to 45°, and the next day there was a blizzard. It seemed kind of silly watching the team in a dust storm one day and in a blizzard the next."
As usual, however, neither dust nor snow stayed Merv from his appointed rounds. He made it safely back to New York where, along with the rest of the special issue staff, he helped put together our 15th annual college football preview (page 28).
September 8, 1968
With this issue we begin an airlift of magazines from our Los Angeles printing plant to subscribers in Arizona and New Mexico. Our readers in the Sun Country will now receive their copies each week by Thursday or Friday at the latest.