WATCHING THE POLLS
I commend Walter Bingham on his recent article Going to the Polls, Weakly (Sept. 18). By now, everything that was said about the polls has come to pass.
First, after dropping to seventh in the AP following lackluster wins over "powerhouses" Temple and Rutgers, Penn State defeated a highly ranked Ohio State on television and moved up to No. 3. If Penn State was No. 3, then I have to believe that Temple deserved a place in the Top 20.
But the next week the sportswriters outdid themselves. Alabama, then No. 1, was beaten by USC. This left about six teams (Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Michigan, Southern Cal and Penn State) with a claim to the No. 1 ranking. Arkansas defeated Oklahoma State by 12. Texas defeated Wyoming by 14. Michigan defeated Notre Dame by 14. USC defeated Alabama by 10. Penn State defeated SMU by 5. And Oklahoma defeated perennial power Rice by 59. So who got No. 1? Oklahoma! Thanks for a fantastic and very accurate article.
Incidentally, on his television show after the Rice game, Oklahoma Coach Barry Switzer used two of the excuses you cited for running up the score on the Owls.
Fort Smith, Ark.
October 15, 1978
What has happened to the rule that if you are a major team and you beat No. 1 you become No. 1? After defeating Alabama, USC should have been first. We need a playoff system to determine a true national champion.
In the middle of Walter Bingham's otherwise terrific (not to mention accurate) article on the polls and pollsters, one glaring statement stands out. He said that Arkansas, No. 3 at the end of last season, had not made the AP or UPI preseason Top 20. This is true, but SI cannot claim to be more accurate—we didn't make your 1977 preseason Top 20 either!
Now, now, SI! I thought you knew more about Alabama football than you showed in your Oct. 2 article on the Alabama-USC game (It Was Sum Game!). The touchdown pass from Jeff Rutledge was caught by No. 87, freshman Tight End Bart Krout, not No. 77, All-America Linebacker Barry Krauss.
You might want to keep an eye on Krout. He reminds one a lot of Dave Casper, the former Notre Dame great who is now catching passes from former 'Bama great Ken Stabler.
BILLY R. GAUSE
I thoroughly enjoyed your article on Michigan's victory over Notre Dame (A Day Without Legendry, Oct. 2), but I disagree with your comment that "Michigan was not in awe of tradition." Certainly Michigan was in awe of tradition—the tradition of Fielding Yost and Fritz Crisler and Tom Harmon! There is also the Michigan tradition of beating Notre Dame (10 out of 12) and the tradition of "Hail to the Victors!" Who did you think Notre Dame was playing, Ruckle-Buck U?
NC STATE'S BROWN
After reading your half-sentence coverage of the Wolfpack-Mountaineer game, "North Carolina State downed independent West Virginia 29-15" (FOOTBALL'S WEEK, Oct. 2), we were furious to find that not one word was said about NC State Running Back Ted Brown's outstanding performance. Brown gained 158 yards rushing, 56 yards receiving and passed for 41 yards. Certainly 255 yards total offense merits some coverage. SI seems to have lost track of Ted's remarkable string of nine straight 100-yards-plus rushing games, including 251 yards against a historically stingy Penn State defense in 1977.
After four games this year Brown is averaging 154 yards rushing, 15.3 yards per reception and 22.4 yards per pass completion, with a passing accuracy of 71.4%. Ted has 45 career touchdowns (excluding bowl games), including runs of 95 and 81 yards. His 276 career points place him among the active scoring leaders in the NCAA. And his 3,868 career rushing yards put him ninth on the alltime list.
COLGATE AND DELAWARE
In the East section of FOOTBALL'S WEEK (Sept. 25), Herman Weiskopf stated that Colgate "had a 10-0 regular-season record last year." Not so! In last year's regular-season finale Colgate got knocked off by the University of Delaware's Fightin' Blue Hens, 21-3.
JOSEPH E. BACKER
JOHN J. DALEY III
KEEPING TABS ON GOODE
I want to congratulate Bud Goode on finally hitting one point spread right on the nose. It took five weeks and 70 games to get there, but he finally made it. He called Pittsburgh by 11 over the Jets (Scouting Reports, Sept. 4). The Steelers won 28-17. I don't know how Goode and his computer figured out these point spreads, and I don't think he does either. With a record of one out of 70, he should switch to a new method. If the Jets' Richard Todd hadn't been injured for that game, Goode would still be batting .000.
Phooey on Bud Goode and his computer! As stated in your pro football preview, "No team won a game [in '77] in which it threw 40 times or more." Well, on Oct. 1 Oakland's Ken Stabler put the ball into orbit 43 times against Chicago, and—Eureka!—the Raiders won. Goode and his Univac 1106 have been picking winners—not counting the spread—at only a 58% clip. I advise pulling the plug on Bud's computer.
West Orange, N.J.
Being a devoted Redskin fan, I have a suggestion for Bud Goode—punt!
•It seems only fair to give Goode credit for one thing: daring to pick the winner and predict the point differential of virtually every NFL game before the season, with its usual injuries and surprises, began. It's not quite the same as picking from week to week.—ED.
Ron Fimrite's unqualified assertion that Reggie Smith is the player most responsible for keeping the Dodgers in contention is ludicrous (His Old Self Is on the Shelf Oct. 2). Looking at the 1978 record, one must come to the conclusion that Gold Glover Steve Garvey, with a .316 average, 202 hits and 113 RBIs (versus Smith's .295 average, 132 hits and 93 RBIs) not only is the Dodger's real MVP, but also must be the choice for National League MVP honors. Smith's annual loss of playing time because of injuries, real or imagined, makes him a less valuable player than Garvey.
JAMES W. STRYKER
As a teen-ager, I followed the Red Sox during their impossible dream year of 1967. Reggie Smith was an outstanding rookie, and I was left with the indelible impression of a young ballplayer who took time after late-night games to rap with youngsters by his car. I was 14 years old and was amazed at the fact that not only did Reggie speak to us, but he also spoke with us as adults, with comradeship and respect. I have admired his self-discipline and poise ever since.
You sure pulled a fast one on me! Just when I was convinced your magazine was published jointly by the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, you go and print a story about a team that surprised the majors all year long: the Milwaukee Brewers. Larry Keith's Reluctant, but Not Draggin' (Oct. 2) was the article I had been looking for every week since the season began, and even though I had to wait until the last week, it was worth it.
I have followed the Brewers through many a season and, alas, many a manager, and can tell you that George Bamberger has performed miracles. He persuaded the players to believe in themselves, to care about every single pitch; and he has had faith enough to play them through slumps at the plate and sloppiness on the field. The Brewers are a team to be reckoned with next year.
JEFFREY R. HALLOIN
Eau Claire, Wis.
Even when the Brewers were in second place, all we read in the national publications was, "Will the Yankees catch the Red Sox?" But the glorious summer days I spent in County Stadium made me realize that these Brewers were not the figment of my imagination, but a solid, hard-hitting, fun-to-watch ball club. With all due respect to Jim Rice and Ron Guidry, the most valuable players in the AL are Larry Hisle and Mike Caldwell.
Though an occasional reader, I have always admired the quality of your journalism. But Kenny Moore's article and Heinz Kluetmeier's photographs on Hawaiian birds (If the Ie Ie Don't Get You, the A'a Will, Sept. 25) made me feel lucky to have picked up this particular issue. I have only one criticism. I realize you're not Natural History or Smithsonian magazine, but I'd like to have seen more of those sensational photographs mentioned in the story.
New York City
I grew up on the island of Hawaii and frequently hiked on the slopes of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. Though the terrain is rugged, the species that inhabit it are sensitive to any alteration or disturbance. You bet I believe that picking the 'ohia-lehua flower will bring rain! After all, why ruin a beautiful clear sky by testing a "silly superstition."
Jule Campbell's article (High but Dry, Sept. 18) was accurate as to the type of weather western Washington receives. The pictures were also excellent. However, the statement "At Shi-Shi Beach on Washington's Makah Indian Reservation, space-age tents nestle where tepees once stood" is erroneous. Because of the steady rainfall most of the year, tepees were never used in that area. My ancestors lived in longhouses made from cedar.
Thank you, Virginia Kraft and SPORTS ILLUSTRATED! I ran around to our local open-late markets, looking for a copy of your Sept. 25 issue and an article about the World Eventing Championships (Jumping to a Thrilling Conclusion). I loved that two-page coverage! I was a spectator in Kentucky but suffered the anguish of a trip back home to Colorado without being able to uncover so much as a line about the event in any major newspaper in four states. I was beginning to wonder if I had fallen off the end of this earth and landed in another one after I left the Kentucky Horse Park! How could 170,000 excited fans, a prince and noted equestrians from all over the world be overlooked? You folks have restored my faith. Bless you in 12 languages!
Fort Collins, Colo.
I was disappointed in your coverage of the World Eventing Championships. Seventy thousand attended the Spinks-Ali fight. An estimated 170,000 viewed the Three-Day Event. Muhammad Ali and Bruce Davidson are both current world champions. How many times has Ali made your cover? Davidson? You have treated the greatest equestrian event as a backyard horse show.
PATRICE C. WEBER
Blue Bell, Pa.
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