A googolplex of thanks for the magnificent cover on this year's College Basketball Issue (Dec. I). I shall frame it for my den.
HOWARD (RED) SAGE
I have been reading SI since 1958 and there have been many memorable covers, but none with the impact of "That Old School Spirit." Photographer Raeanne Rubenstein did a fantastic job.
It's the best magazine cover I've ever seen.
Forest City, N.C.
I'll bet you the price of a year's subscription that 99% of your readers would rather have an action photo of any one of the three players pictured on your cover.
December 15, 1980
I loved your scouting reports on this season's Top 20 (Dec. 1). However, there are a few flaws. First, why is Virginia ranked only No. 8? Ralph Sampson will be even better than he was last year.
Second, DePaul is going to reassert itself as a great team, but in no way is it No. 1.
My predictions for the top three are: 1) Maryland, 2) DePaul and 3) Virginia.
Glen Burnie, Md.
Once again you have refused to adequately recognize the University of Kentucky Wildcats, ranking them only third. Once again you will be proven wrong.
UCLA will be No. 1 in '81.
St. Petersburg, Fla.
Missouri, Georgetown, LSU—yep, that's a real tough Top 20 you have this year. As usual, I guess you know best in not putting lowly North Carolina in this elite group. Judging by the caliber of the field and the results of the Great Alaska Shootout (Hot Hand in a Cold Clime, Dec. 8), I think you blew it.
Ask No. 14 LSU, which lost to the Razorbacks 86-76 in Alaska, and No. 10 Missouri, which was defeated 81-73, if Arkansas should have been in your preseason Top 20.
You included South Alabama and Bradley in your Top 20, but not Syracuse?
I am shocked that you left out the University of Connecticut.
Bil Gilbert's article on Georgetown Basketball Coach John Thompson (The Gospel According to John, Dec. 1) was beautifully done. It's a welcome relief to read of a college coach who is more concerned about his players getting a quality education than about their next opponent. I believe scandals like those that recently have hit some NCAA schools could be nipped in the bud if more coaches would practice Thompson's methods of coaching and recruiting.
Jefferson City, Mo.
John Thompson is the first college basketball coach I've read about who has his priorities in proper order. If I were a highly recruited high school basketball player, I would make Georgetown my first choice.
Richmond Hill, N.Y.
How could Bil Gilbert have failed to mention the deflated basketball that John Thompson keeps in his office? It has become his trademark. The message has been the same since 1972: when you no longer have basketball, be sure you have a degree.
Brockway Area High School
Your article on the Eagles-Raiders game was excellent (Preview of Super Bowl XV? Dec. 1). As for previewing the Super Bowl, maybe. The Eagles are by far the best team in the NFL. But Oakland? No.
BEECHER T. BAKER
Silver Springs, Fla.
I'm delighted to see Paul Zimmerman finally giving the Oakland Raiders credit for being a superior team, especially after making the outrageous prediction earlier this year that they would finish 7-9 (Paul Zimmerman's Scouting Reports, Sept. 8).
Upon examining the opening photograph of the Eagles-Raiders layout, I realized how right you were in stating that it was "a throwback to rock 'em, sock 'em days." It appears to me that No. 55 of the Raiders is being socked by one of those "clean" Eagles. Perhaps the Philadelphia player attended a Flyers game the night before.
I certainly agree with Paul Zimmerman that the Eagles-Raiders defensive battle was a classic. But I insist that most fans would much rather see a game full of razzle-dazzle. The new passing rule allows for a more exciting offensive battle.
Lido Beach, N.Y.
GOOD VIBES (CONT.)
Jack McCallum hit my memory button with his funny article on Electric Football (SHOPWALK, Nov. 24). I remember playing the game at my home with star Syracuse Halfback Jim Brown—who showed more excitement and emotion over the electric game than he ever did in the real game—and with Syracuse's former coach, the great Ben Schwartzwalder. Like Darrell Royal and Woody Hayes. Ben hated to put the ball in the air on Saturday afternoons—and with runners like Brown, Ernie Davis, Floyd Little, Larry Csonka and Jim Nance, he rarely had to. Ben lost a few real games, but he was undefeated in Electric Football. How did he win? By mastering the difficult, patience-draining execution of a springman forward pass!
Jack McCallum's SHOPWALK was a masterpiece. However, he failed to mention Electric Football's "automatic timer." Mine sometimes took well over two hours to tick off a quarter of game time, and when conditions were just right, the clock would actually go backward.
Kansas City, Mo.
For Sportsman of the Year I nominate Tom Osborne, head football coach at Nebraska. He turns out good teams every year, but even when they lose he and his players always show sportsmanship.
PHILIP RILY JR.
I nominate the heart and soul of the 1980 World Champion Philadelphia Phillies: Tug McGraw.
Some people have named George Brett, John McEnroe and Magic Johnson, but I say it has to be Larry Holmes.
Sugar Ray Leonard.
Earl Campbell. Who else?
Steve Carlton, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bjorn Borg, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Eric Heiden, John McEnroe, George Brett and Chris Evert Lloyd are all worthy candidates. But no American will ever forget the pride that rippled through each one of us as we watched the U.S. Olympic hockey team.
JOHN P. LISTON
Eric and Beth Heiden.
M. AND P. VANDENBERG
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