Please slap Mr. Dan Jenkins' hands for his article Ohio Slate: Alone at the Top in your Nov. 24 issue. Too bad we did not get to see the great game that he suggested: Ohio State's offense against Ohio State's defense. Instead, we had to watch both of those great teams against poor little Michigan. Which of the two great Ohio State teams was responsible for the loss, the offensive or the defensive?
Fortunately, Ohio State can sit by the fire on New Year's Day and watch all the games without having to meet the now No. 1 team in the nation. For the game of the year that he was probably trying to describe, watch Texas vs. Arkansas on Dec. 6.
W. O. FRAZIER
Re your designation of Columbus as football's mecca. Goodbye, Columbus!
Camp Hill, Pa.
Congratulations on your excellent article, Missouri Waltzes to Victory (Nov. 17). It gave a good insight into the total spectrum of a football weekend at Mizzou. I was glad to see you praise the Big Eight Conference and especially the 1969 Missouri Tigers.
December 8, 1969
Thank you for putting into print some of the reasons why I have journeyed back to Columbia for four games this season even though I graduated from MU several years ago.
JIM R. CONNELY
As Roy Blount said, "The Big Eight is the toughest conference in the country this year." You would never know this if you read your college football section every week. As a rule the Big Ten and Notre Dame get much more coverage than the Big Eight. I'm sick and tired of hearing stories of Notre Dame nipping those powerful Pitt Panthers or Purdue just getting by the ferocious defense of the Wisconsin Badgers. Seriously, it hasn't been quite as bad this year. But you seem to have forgotten that the Big Eight's best team, Missouri, pounded Michigan 40-17. The depth of the Big Eight Conference is unmatched anywhere in the country. Let's start getting things straight.
Many thanks from Coloradoans for the nonmention of us in connection with Missouri's 9-1 record. Does that make us the Nameless One-ders?
I would like to inform you that Missouri isn't the only team in the Big Eight. Nebraska also happens to belong. As a matter of fact, Nebraska tied Missouri for the Big Eight championship.
You said that Missouri virtually wrapped up the Big Eight Conference title by defeating Oklahoma 44-10. If you happen to pay attention to other football games in Jesse James and Quantrill country, you will notice that Nebraska beat Oklahoma in the snake pit of Norman 44-14. This was the first time in three years that Oklahoma had lost at home, and the great Steve Owens was held to under 100 yards.
Nebraska City, Neb.
I enjoyed reading some of your opinions concerning Italian skiing (The Country Is a Castle, Nov. 17) but I feel that many enthusiasts reading the article will get the wrong impression of Val Gardena.
For example, I can remember a two-mile, 30-minute tie-up of traffic caused by an overcrowded intersection in Ortisei. The long line of parallel-parked tour buses would only permit one lane of traffic through the town. To me this did not appear to have "that undiscovered look," nor was it "monumentally isolated." In fact, the scene reminded me of my instructor days back in Wilmington, Vt. during Christmas vacation.
Val Gardena is not "the only ski area in the world where the communities all have two names." In fact, northern Italy (because of its geographic location) has a German name and an Italian name for everything. Of course, "they speak a different language from their countrymen down in Milan and Rome"—northern Italians speak mainly German. If they didn't, they would lose a lot of tourists.
The point books for about $7.25 "will last the average skier two or three days" provided that he doesn't plan on riding too many lifts. I am a senior member of the National Ski Patrol (European Division), and I've seen a lot of average skiers. I have even seen two average skiers ski up one of those point books in four hours. It takes a little luck to find areas that only require two or three points per lift, but if you are fortunate enough to find one you can enjoy yourself for several days with one book.
Just a question regarding your photography of the fashion models. The beautiful girls in their colorful outfits cast a real contrast with the gloomy weather in which they were photographed. Why did you choose such poor weather to reflect the "Italian mood"? People, at least in Europe, like to think of Italy as being sunny and mild, and it is. My 30 days in Italy, so far, have all been sunny ones. I realize, of course, that it would never snow if it didn't cloud up sometime. But don't get me wrong, it's a great place and a cheap place to ski, and it has an atmosphere all of its own.
JON K. FITZGERALD
Obviously the author of Beware of Fierce Breeders (Nov. 10) has never had the joy of becoming acquainted with a bull mastiff! Yes, as she states, I live, breathe and dream bull mastiffs. But I would hasten to assure the writer that I would trust any dog of mine with any young child, without fear of the dog harming the child. Since this breed was founded to guard livestock and wildlife, and to guard and defend without mauling, I find some of the statements a bit farfetched. I resent the implication that guard dogs are bloodthirsty beasts. May we have a rematch?
LINDA H. KIGHT
SELL AND TELL
Having just finished reading Hot Pitchmen in the Selling Game (Nov. 17), I thought it might be interesting to look back at the last six or seven issues and see how many athletes endorsed products advertised in SI. Some of the athletes include Jerry Kramer, Jean-Claude Killy, John Havlicek, Bobby Hull, Pee Wee Reese, Frank Ryan and, last but not least, Rocky Graziano. Of course, we can't forget the 45 pro football stars who are listed in your own advertisement for posters.
Obviously, advertisers in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED go along with the trend.
I was most pleased with the article about sports personalities in advertising. I think Wilt Chamberlain climbing into a Volkswagen is pretty silly, but I would not say it to him face to face—even if I could stand with him face to face. The same applies to Tom Seaver crying on a Maypo commercial. Joe Namath's case, however, is different. For 10 grand even I would be serious about shaving off a Fu Manchu mustache.
PHILIP BRUCE SAIFER
Howard Beach, N.Y.
Although I enjoyed your article on athletes turning admen, I do disagree with one of your statements. You said that Joe Frazier has never endorsed a product, but I saw him the other night explaining how to shave an extra tough beard on a Personna blade commercial with Clint Walker. If that's not endorsing a product, I'd like to know what is.
Why don't they put Wilt in a VW and O.J. in a Chevy and send them to Smaks for a bowl of Maypo, a glass of Gatorade and some pancakes, while they listen to Denny McLain and Phil Linz do a duet? Then we can all take only one of La Capsule Bayer instead of two every time we see one of those commercials.
GAMES PEOPLE PLAY
After reading articles on bird watching and dart throwing, I wondered what was left for you to write about. Sandy Treadwell's article on tabletop football ("Dice Ball Keeps the Mind Fit," Nov. 17) came as a pleasant surprise, since my friends and I are part of the growing cult of armchair quarterbacks in search of fulfillment.
It was quite a disappointment to see Mr. Treadwell give the game a poor image by writing about the exploits of a group of overgrown children like the DFL. While they are well organized and have a great deal of fun, some of their stunts seem neurotic and don't reflect the behavior of all who play the game. Mickey Mouse hats and leopard skins? Ridiculous!
My friends and I are high school students and play Strat-O-Matic's game as another way to satisfy our appetite for football. The only thing approaching odd behavior in our games is a 16-year-old with a PEACE button screaming for Ray Nitschke to kill Joe Namath.
My vote, and surely yours, must be cast for Snoopy as Sportsman of the Year. This lovable character symbolizes fulfilled desires (New York Mets) and hopes, yet to be fulfilled (Boston Bruins). As a shortstop on Charlie Brown's misfits, he constantly delights the reader with his base-running ability and heroics. As a hockey player, he is envied by Bobby Hull for his slap shot. Even the Red Baron fears him!
Snoopy symbolizes conquered horizons and hope for all.
RICHARD S. SEIGLE
Even we West Coasters concede that the Sportsman of the Year is an Easterner—Joan Payson.
Bill Russell now belongs to basketball's history books. The historians will need a cluster of chapters to chronicle the career of this most remarkable man and athlete. I suggest you make him your Sportsman of the Year again.
H. C. BROWN JR.
My nomination for Sportsman of the Year is the most dominant force a sport has ever known, Wilt Chamberlain. Take a look at the records. He wanted to score, so he did—27,000 points. He's always been the best rebounder. A couple of years ago he decided to become a feeder, so he led the league in assists. His defense is terrific, and he is the best at intimidating opposing players. Those who said Russell was better are wrong. In terms of ability no one is better. Wilt has received many awards. Now it is time to add this one.
ROBERT STEELE JR.
I would like to nominate Don Maynard of the New York Jets. He has gained more than 10,000 yards and made more than 83 touchdowns in his career. Without his quick hands and moves, I believe that Joe Willie Namath's pass completion records would not be so impressive.
I would like to nominate Ted Williams. Although remembered as a great hitter he will also be known as one of baseball's greatest managers.
Santa Cruz, Calif.
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