In Douglas S. Looney's article (Staking a Claim to Best Ever, Oct. 10), he describes the 1983 Nebraska Cornhuskers as the greatest college football team of all time and suggests that "numbers offer some help" in making his case. Indeed, they do. Nebraska has out-scored its first five opponents 289-56, but many of those points have been scored against battered and vastly inferior defenses. As for Coach Osborne's weak apology regarding the late-game scoring, few residents of Minnesota would agree that Nebraska showed good sportsmanship by scoring 84 points, most of which came long after the outcome was no longer in doubt.
I do not wish to disparage Nebraska football. I do wish that judgment not be rendered until Nebraska has been tested by a top opponent. Should Nebraska defeat Oklahoma 63-7, then I, too, will join Mr. Looney in his opinion.
Let's remove the halo from Nebraska Coach Tom Osborne's head. Be real, Looney. Everyone knows that Nebraska runs up the score on any team it can. Last season, after Oklahoma's Kelly Phelps had a pass intercepted and run back to inside the five-yard line, Osborne was irate with his fans for running onto the field to display their relief. As far as I know, he wasn't angry because this showed little respect for Oklahoma's team. He was angry because the team was charged with a 15-yard penalty, and it couldn't score one more time. Nebraska led 28-24 with 24 seconds to go—Oklahoma had no time-outs left.
GLEN DIACON JR.
In discussing best-ever teams, how could you fail to mention the 1972 USC Trojans? This national championship team had a backfield of Sam Cunningham, Anthony Davis and Mike Rae, and receivers Charles Young, Lynn Swann, Edesel Garrison and J.K. McKay. This team produced no fewer than 20 pro ballplayers, finished 12-0 and destroyed its last three, highly ranked opponents: UCLA, Notre Dame and Ohio State.
Sherman Oaks, Calif.
October 23, 1983
How could Looney leave out the 1888 Yale team? I'm not an alum, but I know that the Elis, coached by Walter Camp, "The Father of American Football," were a great power that year. They won all 13 matches, and they played against all the powers of the day except Harvard, which forfeited what would have been the 14th game. In the process, Yale scored 698 points to none—more than 53 points a game. And back then, the field was 10 yards longer and a touchdown counted only four points.
So this oldtimer will take the '88 Elis over the "Bugeaters," whose nickname since 1900 has been the Cornhuskers.
Your story (Suddenly, the 'Eyes Have It, Oct. 3) said, "By beating Ohio State 20-14, the Iowa Hawkeyes showed that in the Big Ten, the Big Two has become the Big Three."
This now should be updated to read: "By beating Iowa 33-0 on Oct. 1, the Fighting Illini showed that in the Big Ten, the Big Three has become the Big Four!"
After identifying the lesser-known players on the cover featuring "The Best Rookies of 1968" (Memories Are Made of This, Oct. 3 and 19TH HOLE, Oct. 17), I wanted to learn more about them. I borrowed a friend's address list of former major league players and attempted to telephone the three "unknowns" in the picture. I reached two of them.
Alan Foster and his wife now live in El Cajon, Calif. Foster pitched 10 years in the big leagues with the Dodgers, Indians, Angels, Cardinals and Padres and had a 48-63 record and 3.73 career ERA. A shoulder injury cut short not only Foster's baseball career but also his singing and guitar-playing second career with former major-leaguer Tommy Hutton. Foster did, however, leave a couple of marks on the game. He retired the first batter he faced in the big leagues in '67 on a ground-out to short—not too unusual, but the batter was Hank Aaron. Later that season, while with Spokane in the Pacific Coast League, Foster pitched no-hitters in consecutive appearances against Seattle.
"Three of the five rookies on the cover—Don Pepper, Mike Torrez and myself—were sent back to the minors that year," said Foster. He now owns and operates the Face Factory, a retail store for women's cosmetics near San Diego.
The cover photo also proved to be a jinx to Pepper, a first baseman whose major league career consisted of four games and three at bats for the Tigers in 1966. Pepper's contract was sold to the Montreal Expos in the spring of '69, but he was quickly optioned to Vancouver when the Expos' first baseman, Donn Clendenon, ended a short-lived retirement.
Instead of reporting to Vancouver, Pepper, who now lives in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. with his wife and two children, retired from baseball and helped his mother run the family turkey farm until it went under in 1971. Pepper is now a sales representative for CCC Associates, a seller of gift products such as silk flowers.
I could not locate Cisco Carlos, who had an 11-18 career record and a 3.72 ERA in brief stays with the White Sox and Washington Senators.
•Cisco Carlos lives with his wife and two children in Scottsdale, Ariz., where he is a division manager for a company that designs and manufactures kitchen cabinets. He hasn't picked up a baseball since his career ended in the Mexican League in 1974.—ED.
SCOUTING THE ISLANDERS
In his Hockey 1983-84 Scouting Reports (Oct. 10) Jack Falla condemns Detroit Red Wing G.M. James Devellano for acquiring Ron Duguay. This is the same James Devellano who, as director of scouting for the New York Islanders, scouted and drafted Mike Bossy. Falla condemns Devellano for signing Brad Park. This is the same Devellano who scouted and drafted Bryan Trottier, Denis Potvin, Duane Sutter, Bobby Nystrom, Clark Gillies, Dave Langevin, Stefan Persson, Anders Kallur and John Tonelli.
Incidentally, those 10 players have their names spelled out on the last four Stanley Cups—and Devellano's name is right there beside them on the first three.
IRA J. CHECKLA
Congratulations on batting .308, 8 for 26, on your preseason baseball predictions. Your best picks included Baltimore and Detroit to finish 1-2 in the American League East and Los Angeles to finish first in the National League West. However, your worst picks included St. Louis to finish first in the National League East, Atlanta and Houston to finish fourth and sixth, respectively, and Texas to finish last in the American League West.
I was recently watching a football game on TV with my 15-year-old son and sharing his annoyance at the low quality of the announcing. I started telling him about the greatest football broadcasting team I have ever had the pleasure to hear. I recalled the deft, sure descriptions of every play, the clear explanations of the nuances and available alternatives and the knowledgeable discussions of strategy and of opportunities taken or missed.
I was trying to describe Marty Glickman and Al DeRogatis, who were the radio voices of the N.Y. Giants from 1961 to '68.
You can imagine my pleasure when I turned to William Taaffe's piece (TV/RADIO, Oct. 10) about Glickman. I found it particularly appropriate that it was Marv Albert who was on the screen behind him in the photograph. Albert grew up listening to Glickman, and it shows.
Three cheers for NBC for acknowledging that their announcers need some help—and for its choice of a tutor.
DR. ROBERT S. TANNENBAUM
Is there any way—any way at all—that you could arrange to send me an autographed photograph of Sarah Pileggi? She has always been a favorite, and her recent articles on the America's Cup races reflect a sense of drama, detailed research and just plain brilliant writing.
GEORGE C. FETTER
Letters should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.