As a native Arkansan, I was in Hog Heaven when I saw that SI had picked our Porkers No. 1 in its college football scouting reports (Sept. 11). I recall that SI picked Notre Dame No. 1 last fall and that is where the Irish were after the dust had cleared.
Neither Doug Looney's adoring prose nor Lou Holtz' new supply of red sweaters will overcome Alabama's pure talent.
JOHN L. SEER
Come New Year's Day, Lou Holtz and his Razorbacks will be the biggest one-line joke in the country. Penn State will be No. 1.
Arkansas' No. 1 ranking is just what the doctor ordered here in Austin. We're going to hate letting you down on Oct. 21.
September 24, 1978
Congratulations on a most accurate prediction. Your Big Ten scouting report asked, "Can either team win the Illinois-Northwestern season opener?" The answer is a resounding no—a 0-0 tie!
S. M. BELLER
Through his articles in SI, John Underwood is becoming the conscience of football. In his Sept. 11 piece (Half Would Make It Whole) he has very skillfully struck at the heart of the college game. As an ex-college player (DePauw) and ex-assistant coach (U.S. Marine Corps/DePauw), I strongly agree that a return to the one-platoon system would be a tremendous thing for college football and, more important, for its players. In addition, a return to one platoon would enhance the quality of the small-college game, because more class players would be available for the small-college ranks—and everyone knows that the best college-football experience is had at the small-college level!
Moreover, as a father of a very gifted all-round athlete, I wish to see my son spend his college years enjoying other sports, too, not just overdeveloping his football specialty. I hope many college administrators will agree and apply pressure to revive the one-platoon system. I doubt that the impetus will come from the coaching fraternity.
JOHN A. KELLOGG
Director of Admissions
What next? After reading about how Joe Jones was redshirted while in the seventh grade ("I Was Never Sure About Anything," Sept. 11), I think it is obvious that our football priorities need rearranging.
Without downplaying the excellence of some of your earlier series (such as The Black Athlete), I feel your series on Football Brutality (Aug. 14 et seq.) is the finest and most responsible piece of journalism ever published in SI. However, I can't decide which is more revealing—John Underwood's insightful reporting or the readers' reactions to those insights. While SI might have appeared to be a lone voice crying in the wilderness, recent letters to the editor show that more than a few of the fans share Underwood's concern. There won't be an end to violence and brutality until the fans demand it.
The letters of John Blacksher (Aug. 28) and David Deaton and Kyler Foster (Sept. 11) make it clear that excessive violence in football is not simply a result of inadequate rules and misdirected coaching. The problem lies in the very philosophies of many of the players. We need to examine the attitudes that are being fostered by the sport.
This letter is not being written to debate the validity of your series, but to express my view of the other side of being hurt. Throughout my athletic career, I found that it was when I wasn't being overaggressive that I was injured. I don't feel you can let up even that little bit and still survive. There will always be injuries in football, some of them very serious. The way the game is designed to be played, what else can we expect?
JAMES A. BECHER
I believe the biggest danger in sport today is that state of mind which equates brutality with productivity. Athletes who dope themselves before a game are neutralizing their most dependable asset: their minds. They are, in effect, practicing stupidity, because the mind is not only the greatest motivator in sport but also the most important safeguard.
WILLIAM X. BARRON
Colorado Springs, Colo.
GOODE'S NUMBERS (CONT.)
As sports fans with a high regard for the value of mathematics and applied science, it disturbs us greatly to see SI give such uncritical praise to Bud Goode (Big D by Three, Sept. 4). A case in point is Goode's ridiculous theory that the more a team runs, the better its chances of winning. He has completely confused cause and effect. Teams tend to run more often when they're ahead, and pass more often when behind. They don't win because they run; they run as a result of being in the lead.
Statistics are worthless unless one knows how to interpret them, and Goode doesn't.
MR. STRAIGHT ARROW (CONT.)
We in the Dallas area know that Roger Staubach is for real (A Do-Gooder Who's Doing Good, Sept. 4). He is neither a figment of some P.R. man's imagination nor the dull namby-pamby Robert F. Jones depicts. Staubach gives us and our children a hero worthy of admiration and imitation. But let Jones snicker. Cowboy and Staubach fans will snicker, too—all the way to the Super Bowl.
In this age of ecumenism, you have chosen to subtly mock the sacred Sacrament of Reconciliation. The use of the fictional penitential scene only served to strengthen the stereotyped image of this facet of the Roman Catholic faith. I demand a printed apology. Cancel my subscription!
CHARLES A. PIZAGNO
You and other publications have created a new religion: Staubachism. You call him a do-gooder and a straight arrow. Others say he can walk on water. I say phooey. Enough is enough. Staubach is the best and his team is the champion, but with all this publicity you would think he was the new Pope.
Oswald Jacoby's record in tournament bridge is even more outstanding than your story indicated (Just Name Your Game, Aug. 28). The article is entirely accurate as to Jacoby's many victories in championships conducted by the American Contract Bridge League, the primary contract-bridge organization in North America for many decades. However, before he participated in ACBL tournaments, Jacoby had won four American Bridge League challenge cups, two American Auction Bridge League team championships and four American Whist League pairs championships.
HENRY G. FRANCIS
RUNNING WITH THE CHAMPIONS
Having been an official entrant of the Falmouth (Mass.) Road Race the past two years, I particularly enjoyed Kenny Moore's article on Bill Rodgers' victory in this year's event (Even in a Crowd He Runs Alone, Sept. 4). The Falmouth race gives one a chance not only to be a participant, but also to rub shoulders with the greats of the sport. Road races are the only so-called happenings that allow the fan to associate himself with the pain and joy that the champion goes through under the same conditions. Being among the finishers on that ball field at the end of the race gave me a wonderful feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment.
The Falmouth Road Race "perverted by the crush"? How dare Kenny Moore pontificate a gospel of running elitism in an era of positive trends in the campaign for national physical fitness!
New York City
Regarding the Sept. 4 SCORECARD item on the impressive attendance figures for the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers, I have often wondered what the attendance would be if both these clubs played all their home games during the day. So far this year the Chicago Cubs have drawn 1,437,853 fans playing only day games in a park that seats 37,741, despite the fact that the team televises all its home games. What's more, Chicago gives ample support to an American League team, too!
R. J. KARZ
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