Thanks to Douglas S. Looney for his fine article (It Rained on SMU's Parade, Nov. 28). How can a team with only one loss—to Texas, the No. 2-ranked team in the nation—be passed up by the major bowls? As SMU Coach Bobby Collins has said, "If TV and all that stuff is going to control it, then why don't we just turn pro and go from there?"
I am a Michigan and UCLA fan, but on Jan. 2 I want to watch the best teams play, and that means SMU should be in action. Bring on the playoffs!
Even without playoffs, the networks and bowl committees should realize that a major bowl victory or two gives any team "marquee value," which makes it easier in the long run to get the best match-ups. The networks are underestimating fan interest in seeing new teams. Wild horses—in this case, Mustangs—could drag us away.
In regard to your article concerning the shafting of SMU, it is my opinion that there have always been several unwritten laws governing college football, one of them being that the best way to gain recognition and respect is to play a strong schedule. That lays the groundwork for television exposure and therefore aids a team with one or even two losses to get into a major bowl. Michigan getting the nod by the Sugar Bowl is a perfect example of this law in action.
December 12, 1983
So SMU has little to complain about. While it has no control over the strength of its conference opposition, playing nonconference opponents such as Texas-Arlington, Louisville and Grambling in no way enhances SMU's appeal. SMU is going where it deserves to go.
JOHN C. NEYLAND
Terrific! The article by Curry Kirkpatrick on Nigeria's and the University of Houston's Akeem (the Dream) Olajuwon (The Liege Lord of Noxzema, Nov. 28) was very much in order. Olajuwon is one of the most dominant centers in the history of college basketball, although I wouldn't go so far as to say he could make chopped liver of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. I'm not much of a Houston Cougar fan, but I recognize a truly fine athlete when I see one. I hope the Dream will keep on making the rest of the Southwest Conference eat basketballs.
THE TRAGIC LESSON OF TODD BECKER
Thanks to Rick Telander for pointing out yet another angle in the politics of college football ("Any of Us Might Have Done It," Nov. 21). It is a fact of life that colleges—Pitt is not alone—take 6'2", 214-pound boys, turn them into football machines and say they are making men of them, when in fact the only question on the college officials' minds is, "How much money can this kid draw for the school's athletic fund?"
It's a shame that it is human nature always to wait for a tragedy to occur before we open our eyes to change. But I am proud to see that one coach, Foge Fazio, and one school, the University of Pittsburgh, are taking the first steps toward treating these boys as growing human beings first, football players second.
MARY D. CHUBA
MEASURES OF A MAN
I enjoyed Curry Kirkpatrick's story on No. 1 North Carolina's Michael Jordan and Sam Perkins (A Towering Twosome, Nov. 28). It is our house that Sam calls home. I would like, however, to point out one tiny error: Sam's sleeve length is 43½, not 41. My husband had Sam measured for dress shirts last year and in doing so found that he no longer had a 41-inch sleeve.
Sam has added a dimension to our lives and we to his during these past four years. We have asked only that in the future he do the same for another youngster. When he does that, he will have repaid us in full for whatever sense of warmth, love and family we have been able to provide. We are better for having Sam come not only into our home but also into our hearts.
•When asked about it last week, Perkins insisted his sleeve length is still 41. This prompted Irving Stulmaker of Stulmaker's Ltd., an Albany, N.Y. menswear shop, to check his records. He found that he had personally measured Perkins at 43½. Either way, Perkins obviously is well armed to play his game.—ED.
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.