How could you talk about Oklahoma-Nebraska as "This Year's Game of the Decade" (Nov. 22) without previewing the other Game of the Decade played the same week? This year's Alabama-Auburn meeting must certainly go down as one of those dream match-ups.
This is an article from the Dec. 6, 1971 issue
And of course the Sugar and Orange Bowls with this year's Big Four (Michigan who?) create two more Games of the Decade.
On Jan. 1, 1971, mighty Texas (10-0) met (and lost to) Notre Dame (9-1) in the Cotton Bowl in what was certainly the most publicized of the bowl games. Notre Dame had indeed suffered that single, damning defeat, but it had come more at the hands of fate and the climate than at those of the Trojans of Southern Cal. At any rate, the existence of the grudge-match atmosphere in Dallas, resulting from a Texas victory a year earlier, and the Longhorns' 30-game winning streak surely made it a classic battle in the truest sense.
JOHN D. HAFELI
Bay Village, Ohio
Dan Jenkins listed 25 college football games that were supposedly the most publicized before and after they were played. But how could he leave out either the 1969 or 1970 Ohio Stale-Michigan games? These two teams are consistently among the best, and their rivalry is something that results in nothing but the best and most "animalistic" football in the country.
In 1960 Iowa, under Forest Evashevski, was rated No. 1 going into the game against No. 2 Minnesota, coached by Murray Warmath. Minnesota won 27-10. Minnesota finished the season as No. 1 while Iowa wound up No. 2. The national championship definitely rode on the outcome of that game.
GARY M. WIGDAHL
You left out the 1959 Penn State-Syracuse game. Syracuse, after all, went on to be national champion that year. Had the Orangemen lost, Penn State could have been No. 1. Both were unbeaten at the time.
Unfortunately, SI overlooked one of the greatest college football games ever. It was played on the state of Oklahoma's 50th birthday, Nov. 16, 1957, in Norman. On that beautiful afternoon the Sooners executed many successful goal-line stands, but one failed. Notre Dame won 7-0, thereby ending the longest winning streak (47) in the history of major college football.
RUSSELL D. SHUPE
One of the best Games of the Decade would have been the Jan. 1, 1955 Rose Bowl game between Ohio State and UCLA. One finished first in the AP poll, the other first in the UPI ratings. Both were undefeated and untied. But, of course, due to the absurd no-repeat rule for the Rose Bowl, they never met.
In reading your list of 25 of the most publicized games ever played in college football, it is of more than passing interest to note that only seven of these were played at postseason bowls. Eighteen, or 72%, were regular-season contests.
I think this again points out the need for the NCAA to consider an annual national championship game matching the two top-rated teams as of the end of regular-season play. It is my opinion that such a game would generate more interest and publicity than any other sports event in this country, including the Super Bowl and World Series.
WILLIAM E. STAUFFER
Associate Director of Development
Franklin and Marshall College
Although the Crone family and friends insist I sue that scurrilous Mr. George Plimpton for what they feel is a scandalous article about my nephew, Eric Crone, 19, Harvard, I realize that Mayberry Fitzgerald caught him in the act (And the Curious Facts About Another "The Game," Nov. 22). However, some of the facts were incorrect, and I would like to set them straight.
Under separate cover I am mailing The Hat involved in The Game—not a Dobbs, size 7¼, as reported, but a Cavanagh, 7‚⅛ with the initials R.E.C.
After reading Mayberry Fitzgerald's article, my nephew Eric decided to dispatch the Yales early in the 1971 contest and Harvard won 35-16. He thereby averted a second end-zone caper and escaped George Plimpton's incredible investigative powers.
ROBERT E. CRONE
Jackson Heights, N.Y.
Thanks to Frank Deford for pressing for a moratorium on the most overused sports cliché of all time (Time for All Good Men..., Nov. 22). To hear Dandy Don Meredith speak anthropomorphically about good ol' Mo Mentum (who switched jerseys six times in the recent St. Louis-San Diego game), one would suspect that the MVP race has already been sewn up and the boys in Canton, Ohio arc just waiting to retire his number—if only Mo would stick with one number for a whole quarter or so!
MICHAEL J. CONNELLY
East Lansing, Mich.
Now that Frank Deford has generated the momentum for the anti-Momentum movement, may I suggest that all anti-anti-Momentum agitators send their voluminous petitions, signed or unsigned, to Howard Cosell, c/o Monday Night Clichés. Maybe he'll moment 'em.
JOSEPH D. BANZ
Congratulations to the trio of Dan Jenkins, George Plimpton and Frank Deford for once again bringing back the off neglected humorous aspect of sports.
Of course, it's not difficult to determine why all three of these articles—Jenkins' on this year's Game of the Decade, Plimpton's on the Harvard-Yale game and Deford's on the sanctity of American sports clichés—appeared in the same Nov. 22 issue. It's obvious that the reparteeists on the SI staff have picked up momentum.
As an appreciative sports fan with a particular liking for sports humor, I say thanks for the issue that I will affectionately think of as SI's Issue of the Decade.
CITY AND COUNTRY
I thoroughly enjoyed your Nov. 22 issue, what with Alice Higgins' article on the National Horse Show (Blues for an Orange Redhead) and Rudolph S. Ranch III's story of Elsie Morgan and the West Waterford Hounds (An Ounce of Prevention for the Banks and the Bogs). And when you added The Rediscovery of New York City by Coles Phinizy, I thought my week was made! There have been numerous articles about New York City lately, and I was all set for nostalgia. But you fooled me! I'm from Manhattan (love that island) but that Intrepid Six must have come from Brooklyn!
Wind and storm can be beautiful, and marshlands glistening in the rising sun can provide an unforgettable moment, but these voyageurs were too city-bred and too city-fed to even unearth oldtime tales or make up interesting new ones. For my money, this article was a bust!
Keep up the good work. I may not be interested in all the things you write about—but each week there is always at least one tasty tidbit.
Rudolph Rauch's narrative on the West Waterford Hounds is one of the finest articles I have ever read. Why? Because he has written for the reader. What one needs to know, he tells—but without condescension. That alone is unique.
EDWARD L. VIETS
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
While reading my favorite magazine the other day, I was surprised to learn that I had described all professional athletes as psychopaths (SCORECARD, NOV. 8). I am afraid there's been a bit of a slip between my lip and your printed page.
Several weeks ago, during a luncheon in New York City, I was discussing with several newspaper writers the tremendous pressures on athletes—especially the pressure to win, win, win. I commented that in view of these pressures and resulting emotional stress, it was surprising to me that more athletes did not suffer from emotional disturbances.
In my youth I was an athlete of sorts. In later years I officiated at basketball and football games until my aging legs no longer could keep up with speedy backs and guards. I have served as physician for high school, college, semi pro and pro teams. I also have served as medical adviser to the Nevada State Boxing and Wrestling Commission.
So, having known hundreds of athletes—and known them well—I'm sure there are no more psychopathic personalities among athletes than among bankers, plumbers, airline pilots, physicians or any other group of men who face the stresses of our times.
WESLEY W. HALL, M.D.
American Medical Association
Congratulations to SF and Mark Mulvoy for a fine, long-deserved article on the Minnesota North Stars (Minnies Who Are No Moochers, Nov. 22). It is about time hockey fans started classing the North Stars with the established teams in the NHL.
Congratulations on a wonderful article by Mark Mulvoy. It is about time Gump Worsley was recognized for what he is, a tremendous goalie.
What with all the talk about George Blanda being an old man (he goes into a football game for three seconds to kick the ball) people tend to forget that Worsley is just as old and plays 60 minutes of hard hockey in goal. So let us have a little less about Blanda and more about Gumper, who is truly amazing.
While I admire the job Wren Blair has done in making the North Stars the best of the expansion teams, I feel this is a highly temporary state. Such key players to the Stars' fortunes as Ted Harris, Murray Oliver, Charlie Burns, Dean Prentice, Doug Mohns, Bob Nevin and both goaltenders are at least in their 30s. Over a season that will last for 6½ months, it is going to be hard to prevent injuries or exhaustion from taking their toll.
The Stars will very likely finish in second place, but with more expansion coming up, I hope that they won't sacrifice youth for one or two years of success on the ice. The St. Louis Blues are starting to pay the price for building up in the way the Stars have, and I hope Wren Blair has taken note of that fact.
Thanks for Dan Jenkins' fine story of the World Cup tournament (For Jack. Thai Beat Goes On, Nov. 22), a proper tribute to the best golfer in the world, Jack Nicklaus. Nobody can match Big Jack's devotion to the game, his intelligence, his dedication, his passion for excellence and his concern for his fellow golfers. The King of Golf reigns supreme.
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