Thank you for the Aug. 31 issue. First, Steve Wulf lauds the Tigers, an exciting young team riding the crest of possibly the toughest division in baseball (Let's Give the Tigers a Great Big Hand), and then SI Picks Bo's Michigan Wolverines to be No. 1 in college football (The Top 20). You've made a proud Michigander even prouder.
JOHN P. LAMBERT
Michigan may be first in the Big Ten, but first in the country? Never. The records you quote show that Bo Schembechler can't win the big games.
Your cover for the College Football Issue was right on target, with one slight error: one numeral—take your choice—should be removed from Georgia's number . Then your cover would be not only esthetically rewarding—how 'bout that Herschel Walker?—but also prophetic.
Last year you didn't include Notre Dame in your Top 20 and the Irish made it to the Sugar Bowl. This year you ranked the Irish No. 5. At that rate of improvement, what will their ranking be at the end of this season?
South Bend, Ind.
Florida 13th and Miami unranked? Miami beat Florida 21-20. What are you trying to do, start a riot down here?
Your Top 20 left out the best Pac-10 team of all: Arizona State.
Where was Iowa State and its Heisman Trophy candidate, Dwayne Crutchfield?
Grand Junction, Iowa
Thank you, John Papanek. We finally have a writer who understands that the Pac-10 deserves recognition (What You See, You Get, Aug. 31). USC goes out every year and beats everybody, including the Alabamas and Michigans. Still, the AP and UPI pollsters say, "Oh, let's give the championship to Bear Bryant again." Fans of other conferences know that the Pac-10 is for real, but they hate to have the media, and especially SI, say anything of the sort.
If the SEC is not the best conference, why is it the only conference with five teams in your Top 20?
Alabama doesn't "get lucky"; it's just damn good.
KEVIN W. JOHNSON
Concerning John Papanek's statement, "The fact is that Big Eight football is as exciting as the geography of the land the conference spans," beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
How 'bout that article on that Dog (More Than Georgia's On His Mind, Aug. 31)! Thanks to Curry Kirkpatrick for a great story on a superior athlete, "Hushel" Walker. We Hunker-Down-Hairy-Dog fans agree with every superlative.
VIKI AND DOUG CURTIS
Your article on Herschel Walker reassured me that some college athletes still use college for its primary purpose: to get an education and build character.
When the Frogs Were Princes (Aug. 31) is truly an outstanding piece of writing by Dan Jenkins. Being a Southwest Conference junkie, I was glad to see the "gold old days" brought back to life. I'm sure a lot of TCU alumni wish they would come back.
But really, Dan, did you have to bring up last season's Texas Tech game? I'm sick and tired of hearing about those damn purple helmets.
Texas Tech '77
Congratulations to Dan Jenkins on his fine piece on TCU football. Jenkins seemed to capture in print the combination of rich heritage and pleasant atmosphere that makes TCU such a delightful school to attend and Fort Worth such a marvelous place to live.
One note about purple: During my TCU years the purple-jerseyed Frogs went 5-39. Upon graduation, I headed north to Northwestern where the Wildcats, also clad in purple, amassed a record of 1-31-1 during my stay. I think purple is jinxed.
MICHAEL W. PEREGRINE
With deference to Dan Jenkins and TCU football: " 'Lookie here.... Don't you know...that a man can travel far and wide—all the way to shame or glory, and back again—but he ain't never gonna find nothin' in this old world that's dead solid perfect?' "—Dan Jenkins, in his book Dead Solid Perfect.
BOB SILVERMAN, M.D.
Congratulations to Mike DelNagro for a unique and enjoyable treatment of the small colleges in your 1981 College Football Issue (Aug. 31). However, he has committed a grave sin of omission by leaving Bates vs. Bowdoin off his list of "Most Heated Rivalries." Like Williams vs. Amherst, Bates vs. Bowdoin is a clash of schools far more renowned for their academic excellence than for their athletic prowess.
Omitting Lehigh vs. Lafayette from your list of Most Heated Rivalries ranks No. 1 on a list of blunders. Lehigh-Lafayette is billed as the most-played college football game in the nation. On Nov. 21 those schools will face each other for the 117th time in a series dating back to 1884.
Knox College and Monmouth College began butting heads formally back in 1891. However, an informal rivalry dates back even farther, to the 1880s. The battle for the coveted Bronze Turkey is just as important as the ones for the Old Oaken Bucket or the Little Brown Jug.
Glen Ellyn, Ill.
Obviously, Mike DelNagro hasn't witnessed the intense rivalry between The University of the South, better known as Sewanee, in Sewanee, Tenn., and Southwestern College, in Memphis. This rivalry is not only the most heated in the small-college field, but it's probably the most heated rivalry of any two colleges in America as well.
How could you neglect to mention St. Olaf College vs. Carleton College?
SI's College Football Issue was outstanding. But perhaps the most significant piece in the Aug. 31 issue was in SCORECARD. The CFA and the NCAA both seem to have lost sight of why there are intercollegiate athletics in the first place. Athletics, at the varsity level and at the intramural level, should exist to complement a student's educational experience, not as an end in itself.
College football was perhaps the greatest experience of my life. There is no doubt that I was a better student bcause of football. Likewise, my studies made me a better football player. But, football alone would never have been enough.
KEVIN W. BILLINGS
SI says, "Assuming that intercollegiate athletics has a legitimate educational purpose, this question can be fairly asked: "Why shouldn't it be supported by the college's general funds just as the history department is?"
That's a big assumption. Over the last decade I have attended every Marquette University home basketball game that I possibly could, regularly watched practices and served on the Athletic Board. I have yet to see a scintilla of legitimate educational purpose. There are good reasons for intercollegiate athletics (the most basic one is that it's fun); but please cut the hypocritical cant about educational purposes.
JOHN PATRICK DONNELLY, S.J.
Associate Professor of History
Once again you tackle the morality problem in big-time college football. Then you turn around and glorify the worst offenders in your Top 20 list, Notre Dame, Alabama, Pitt, Penn State, USC, et al. It gets monotonous. Economics will once again prevail over morality in 1981.
JOHN W. BRENNEN SR.
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