Attaboy, Rick Reilly, for your piece on the wimpy schedules that major colleges are playing (It Only Hurts For A Little While, Nov. 24). The Miami Hurricanes would be reduced to a tropical depression if they played LSU, Notre Dame, Penn State and Michigan on consecutive Saturdays.
This season's bowl matchup between Miami and Penn State will carry about as much weight in determining the "real" national champion as the cream-puff opponents these two sandbaggers have played this season. A playoff system is the only way to go.
Comstock Park, Mich.
I feel a flag should be thrown against you for roughing the Gators. True, Florida played Kent State and is dropping Miami from its schedule. But you failed to mention two important facts: Kent State was the Gators' homecoming game, for which everyone schedules a cream puff, and Florida is dropping Miami because the Southeastern Conference is expanding its required games from six to seven per season.
Since the SEC is surely one of the toughest conferences—if not the toughest—Florida's playing another SEC team could easily be considered an equal trade-off for dropping the Hurricanes.
December 22, 1986
After reading the story, I continued through the rest of the issue, certain that once again SI had touched the guilty consciences of the football pollsters.
Then what did my wondering eyes see but the SI Top 20, with Miami and Penn State right there at the top! Obviously, you guys don't subscribe to what you say.
Why don't you put some teeth into the vaunted SI mouthpiece?
PETER N. KAFKALAS
Reilly's criticism of Penn State for supposedly arranging a cream-puff schedule is nothing new. Pollsters all but ignored undefeated Nittany Lion teams in 1968, 1969 and 1973 for the same reasons.
But this time the jab is unwarranted. Where were the critics when Penn State went 6-5 in 1984, playing eight of the same teams on this year's schedule? Four of those '84 opponents went to bowl games—and that didn't even include Alabama.
Since NCAA football schedules are drawn up years in advance, it's ridiculous to hold Penn State accountable for the collapses of programs at Boston College, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Syracuse and Notre Dame, all of which seemed fairly robust a few seasons ago.
I've had it up to here with your magazine's calling East Carolina a cream-puff football team. In 1983 East Carolina went 8-3, losing to three Florida teams—Miami, Florida State and Florida, which, respectively, were ranked 4, 5 and 6 when ECU played them—by a total of 13 points. At the end of the season, SI had ECU ranked 18th and everyone wondered why the Pirates didn't go to a bowl. How soon SI forgets.
Your insult to the Claremont-Mudd football team was not appreciated by its students. Obviously a Division III school cannot compete with teams looking for a bowl bid. It should also be noted that the week your article appeared, Claremont-Mudd won the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship with a record of 8-1.
I am a lifetime hater of the Chicago Bears, and Willie Gault has done nothing to convince me to make an exception in his case (Gault Is Divided Into Many Parts, Nov. 24). Thanks to Bruce Newman for giving us a look at this self-centered man. The Bears deserve him.
As a high school wide receiver and track runner, I have always had tremendous respect for Gault's natural talent—his God-given speed. However, after reading your article, I have lost my respect for his attitude as a team player.
I have always believed that football is the ultimate team sport, and Gault is clearly not a team player. He wants to be the best receiver in the league, but he refuses to give fully of himself toward achieving that goal. Kudos to Jim McMahon and the rest of his teammates who see Willie for what he truly is, a selfish individual.
Not only are Gault's "perimeters really, really wide," so, it would appear, is his head, per se.
I like Jim McMahon and I think he's a great quarterback, but it saddened me to read about his attitude toward Gault. I think Gault has a lot of courage.
I enjoyed your article on skateboarder Tony Hawk (Chairman Of The Board, Nov. 24).
Being a skater myself, I know how good he really is. I don't think people understand how hard some of his tricks are.
Hooray! What an excellent piece. Armen Keteyian showed a side of skaters rarely seen. More, more, more!
Oh, come on! I subscribe to your magazine for its sports articles and photos, not for an article about skateboarding, of all things.
In your recent story on Colorado State running back Steve Bartalo (COLLEGE FOOTBALL, Nov. 17), Hank Hersch wrote that Steve received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty "for hitting a ref in the head with a shovel pass."
This statement gives the reader the impression that this was an intentional act. It wasn't. Steve is usually the first player up from a tackle, and he has the habit of tossing the ball to the official. In this instance the official was unaware that he would be getting the ball back so quickly and was not ready for it. The ref's calling of the penalty seemed to stem more from his own embarrassment than from any unsportsmanlike conduct by Bartalo.
JOHN C. FUSARO
I was thrilled by your item on Rick Rice, the high school football player who revived dropkicking (SCORECARD,
Nov. 17). In 1924 Forest Peters, playing for the Montana State freshman team, dropkicked 17 field goals in one game.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME
Kings Island, Ohio
Douglas S. Looney's observations (COLLEGE FOOTBALL, Nov. 10) about Penn State's generic uniforms are interesting, but the facts concerning the first uniforms are not exactly accurate. Penn State's original uniforms (blazers and caps) were black and cerise (cherry red). The Nittany Lions played only two games in 1887, three games in 1888 and four games in 1889, but by then State's colors were faded; hence the reference to black and pink.
About that same time Syracuse had pink and pea green, but in 1890, the same year Penn State selected blue and white, the football Orangemen got their orange. By the way, Baker University in Kansas also lays claim to orange as its one color. I mean: Who uses one color?
GEORGE EDBERG OLSON
PROFESSOR OF SPANISH AND PORTUGUESE
ONE TO WATCH
While reading your college basketball 1986-87 special issue (Nov. 19), I was impressed, as always, by the fine writing. But you missed what could be one of the biggest stories of the year.
Richard Baldwin, basketball coach of Broome Community College, Binghamton, N.Y., is, as of this writing, 18 wins away from becoming the winningest coach ever.
Baldwin has coached here for 40 years and has 858 wins. With a 29-game schedule for 1986-87, he has a good chance of breaking former Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp's record of 875.
JOSEPH A. SVIATKO III
BIG MEN BACK WHEN
My thanks to Walter Iooss Jr. for the unique photographs of basketball's celebrated skyscrapers (Twin Towers On The Rise, Nov. 3).
As an 11-year-old in 1969, my first twin towers were the two giants of Jacksonville University: Artis Gilmore and Pembrook Burrows III.
Would SI have a picture of these big men when they were together?
New York City
•Yes, we would. Here are Gilmore (53) and Burrows when they played for the Dolphins in 1970.—ED.
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