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LETTERS

Dec. 22, 1997
Dec. 22, 1997

Table of Contents
Dec. 22, 1997

Sports And Politics [bonus Piece]

LETTERS

To declare any all-white team that competed before full
integration as "the best in history" is dead wrong.
MATT CHANEY, WARRENSBURG, MO.

This is an article from the Dec. 22, 1997 issue Original Layout

THE BEST TEAM

Thank you for Paul Zimmerman's nostalgic story about the Notre
Dame football teams of 1946 and '47 (The Golden Boys, Nov. 24).
I was born in '67 and have lived in Nebraska all my life. If not
for such articles, I would be brainwashed into believing that
college football started in 1970, with the Cornhuskers' first
national championship.
MARK A. EMMONS, Omaha

The 1947 Notre Dame team may be the best ever, but Frank Leahy
ranked his '49 team as the best he coached. It had many of the
same players as the '47 team and also won a national
championship. From '46 to '49, Notre Dame went undefeated and
won three national titles.
JACK MEANEY
Santa Barbara, Calif.

A seldom-mentioned fact about the 1946 scoreless Army-Notre Dame
game is that it was the only one in the history of college
football in which four Heisman Trophy winners, past, present and
future, played: Army's Doc Blanchard (Heisman '45) and Glenn
Davis ('46), and Notre Dame's Johnny Lujack ('47) and Leon Hart
('49).
JOHN TWOMEY, North York, Ont.

I disagree that the Notre Dame teams of 1946 and '47 were the
best college football teams ever. Michigan had the best team
ever in '01. That year, the Wolverines went 11-0, outscored
their opponents 550-0 and even forced Stanford to quit the first
Rose Bowl game (with eight minutes remaining) because it was
being beaten 49-0. To prove this wasn't a fluke, over the next
four seasons Michigan outscored its opponents 2,271-42, while
amassing a 44-1-1 record.
JACOB O'ROURKE, Ada, Mich.

The question Zimmerman should have addressed was whether
Oklahoma's 1955 or '56 team was the best of all time. Each was
undefeated, won a national championship and contributed to the
Sooners' record 47-game winning streak.
ROGER N. BUTLER JR., Tulsa

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

I realize that Cincinnati may have been a little overrated last
season and may be rebuilding, but to ignore the Bearcats in your
field of the 64 best teams is ridiculous (Scouting Reports, Nov.
17).
PATRICK TARPLEE, Cincinnati

When your rankings came out, No. 52 Princeton had already beaten
No. 43 Texas and No. 38 North Carolina State. The Tigers should
have been included at least in the top 50.
MARC F. LOVECCHIO, Williamsport, Pa.

I can commiserate with Arizona guard Miles Simon over his car
accident and all the lost time and illness but not over his
self-inflicted academic woes (Simon Says, Nov. 17). As a
professor of English I have athletes begging me to save their
eligibility. I wish that student-athletes would learn that most
professors expect only that they attend class regularly, turn in
assignments on time and master some basic skills. In other
words, I'd like my students to give my class a tenth of the
effort that they, like Simon, give their sports.
RAE CARLTON COLLEY, Carrollton, Ga.

MISSING PIPPEN

For some reason, people like to forget that the season after
Michael Jordan left the NBA to play baseball, Scottie Pippen led
the Bulls to more than 50 wins (Hurry Back, Nov. 24), and they
barely lost to the Knicks in the second round of the playoffs.
MIKE HIDER, New York City

B/W PHOTO: AP [University of Michigan football players in game]

MICHIGAN '47

It's true that the final poll of the 1947 regular season had
Notre Dame No. 1, but after undefeated Michigan beat USC 49-0
(above) in the Rose Bowl (the Irish had earlier beaten the
Trojans 38-7), the AP conducted an unprecedented postbowls poll.
It listed the Wolverines, not the Irish, as the top-ranked team.
The next year Michigan went undefeated again and won another
national championship.
WILLIAM G. BRUNER III, Glen Arm, Md.

--Paul Zimmerman replies: When I die and go to heaven, I'll see
Notre Dame '47 line up against Michigan '47, but until then the
only way to justify my position that the Irish were better is to
repeat that they had better players, and more of them. Michigan
scored more points because Fritz Crisler believed in running up
the score and Frank Leahy didn't. Amen.