PICKS AND POKES
Congratulations on another marvelous issue of SI. The College Football 1971 section (Sept. 13) was sensational. Although I disagree on LSU's place (No. 5) in the Top 20, I would like to commend you on your fine choice of Tommy Casanova as the best player in the nation.
Seldom does a defensive player receive the honors he deserves. The Heisman Trophy rarely, if ever, goes to a defensive player. And that doesn't seem right. In this day and age of the great offensive talents, there is an even greater need for more sophisticated defensive units. It is the fine cornerbacks and safeties, along with the other defenders, who have made the game the sensation it is today. The time has come to recognize these fine players, and the young sensation from Crowley, La. stands first in line.
JAMES E. LEBLANC
Your article on college football's Top 20 teams was spectacular. Notre Dame deserves all the credit you've given, and more.
Kings Park, N.Y.
What about Alabama? The unranked Tide is rolling.
Much as I hate to second-guess the experts, I feel I must point out that you snubbed Stanford again. For shame! Didn't you learn anything at all from last season?
JAMES G. DONART
In your analysis of the so-called small colleges you failed to mention Texas A&I University. In the past four seasons, the Javelinas have compiled a record of 41-4-0, winning the championship in the tough Lone Star Conference four consecutive times.
A&I is also the NAIA defending national champion, having won the title in the last two campaigns. And last year's squad sent five gridders to the professional ranks. What more can a football program do to be recognized?
The University of Tampa, cited last year in your Nov. 2 article on small colleges and on the verge of losing football a few years ago, has revamped its football program and compiled records of 7-3, 8-2 and 10-1. X Ray McQuay will be missed this year but not enough for Tampa to miss the national championship for small colleges.
A LITTLE COACHING
Thank you SI and John Underwood for your article (And This Man Is at the Top, Sept. 13) on the winningest coach in college football, Bob Devaney. For once you showed Nebraska and its great coach as they are, and not as a bunch of country bumpkins.
But somehow you have listed Notre Dame No. 1. Nebraska is No. 1 in '71.
How could you fail to include Duffy Daugherty in your "First-Class Section of Coaches"? This is his 18th year as head coach at Michigan State and in that time he has won a national championship, a Rose Bowl, two Big Ten titles, been Coach of the Year and made the cover of TIME. He has sent more assistants on to head jobs than any other college coach. As you mentioned, Bob Devaney was once a Daugherty assistant. The most recent Daugherty protégé to make it big is Wake Forest's Cal Stoll. Perhaps this is Duffy's greatest accomplishment—that he has established the record he has while continually rebuilding his staff, the toughest and most often overlooked part of a coaching job.
The very idea of listing as many as eight of America's greatest football coaches with no mention of Eddie Robinson of Grambling must stand out as one of the glaring journalistic errors of the 20th century.
In addition to ranking No. 1 in the small college division for career victories (197), Robinson has sent more athletes to the professional ranks than any other coach.
GILES W. HAGOOD
BY WORD AND DEED
Your article on the baseball announcers (And Here, to Bring You the Play by Play..., Sept. 13) was the exceptional kind that I've learned to anticipate from your magazine. The baseball announcer is a stimulating subject, since he is at the same time an anomaly and an all too common victim. As Jerry Kirshenbaum points out, several factors, such as length of game, lulls between action and audience dependency for information, make the role of a baseball announcer a distinctly challenging one, although his potential creativity and usefulness can be cut short by the myopic outlook of the club's management.
Until the ruling powers of baseball cease to treat the sport as a three-ring circus of endless, idiotic promotions, baseball as a true art form will be tainted. Long live Vin Scully and others of his class!
J. JOEL LEA
Your recent article on baseball announcers was an interesting one. But surely Harry Caray, who now broadcasts for the Chicago White Sox, is one of baseball's finest and more colorful broadcasters.
This year the White Sox will nearly double last year's home attendance. And Harry Caray will have to be counted among those who helped bring people into the park. He makes the game exciting and he calls them the way he sees them, handing out praise and criticism to players and umpires.
JOEL A. LIPKIN
Jerry Kirshenbaum says Phil Rizzuto is one ex-player who offers gentle criticism. I've been listening to Yankee games for about eight years and his criticism must be very very light because I never heard it.
I couldn't agree more with Jerry Kirshenbaum's unreserved praise of the announcing talents of Dodger Sportscaster Vin Scully. I can't, however, support the opinion of Frank Deford (TV TALK, Sept. 13) that CBS's Bud Collins is the best announcer and interviewer handling tennis. For an intelligent and insightful analysis of the court action give me either of the Yalies, Don Dell or Gene Scott. The best on-court interview I ever heard was conducted by Clark Graebner. But if we viewers must content ourselves with Collins, let us hope that he has learned not to open his interviews with embarrassing, unanswerable questions like, "Well, Ilie Nastase, what's a good Communist boy like you going to do with all that money you won out there today?"
KERRY M. WOOD
Palo Alto, Calif.
I have just finished reading the third and final installment on George Blanda's football career (I Keep Getting My Kicks, July 19-Aug. 2) and have come to the conclusion that old George is more of an athlete than we here in Houston gave him credit for.
Like the other Houston sportswriters, I castigated George disgracefully in print. Being black, I even accused him of being a racist. Perhaps the old war-horse wasn't dogging it after all, but had simply lost his enthusiasm for playing here, which seems to be a dilemma that many athletes have faced.
When an old pro like Blanda unashamedly cries after a loss, that is proof enough for me that he is a real competitor. Here's hoping that he has another super year.
Editor and Publisher
AS A CIGARETTE SHOULD
In his article on the world of offshore powerboat racing (Hop, Skip and Kerplunk, Sept. 6) Hugh Whall notes that Builder Don Aronow named his Cigarette hulls after an old rum-running boat called The Cigarette.
In 1876 Robert Louis Stevenson and Sir Walter Simpson set out in sailing canoes for an inland voyage through the waterways of France. Dressed in great red sashes, with flashing knives affixed, the two men titled themselves and their canoes Cigarette and Arethusa. Through the Sambre-Oise Canal to Origny Sainte-Beno√Æte, down the Oise to Compi√®gne, the intrepid two were perhaps pioneers not only in their dress but in the very sport itself.
Certainly, Benny Higgins, swashbuckling into another era, could not have chosen a more apt name for his long, lean rumrunner. And I feel sure that the spirit of Robert Louis Stevenson rides high with a smile on the bow of every Cigarette hull that goes hop, skip and kerplunk!
STEPHEN G. CLARKE
West Hartford, Conn.
The rum-running Cigarette was owned by Vanny Higgins—not Benny Higgins—and if I recall correctly, after the loss of The Cigarette Vanny acquired a Cigarette II before he was bumped off in 1932 by persons unknown.
Clearwater Beach, Fla.
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