It's very appropriate that your Jan. 10 cover shows USC's Matt Leinart preparing to pass without an Oklahoma Sooner in sight. Kind of the way the entire game was played.
We will assume that Austin Murphy's prediction of "Sooners by a field goal" (Inside College Football, Dec. 27--Jan. 3) was based on Oklahoma's showing up.
Dick Ripley, Springboro, Ohio
After seeing the likes of Oklahoma, Texas, Nebraska and Florida run up huge scores over the years against lesser opponents, it was good to see the Sooners finally get theirs (Without a Doubt, Jan. 10). USC could have scored 30 more points but showed class and didn't run up the score. All schools should remember, "What goes around, comes around."
Jack Barker, Chino Hills, Calif.
Like everyone else, you are calling invincible a Trojans team that nearly lost five games last season--Virginia Tech, Stanford, Cal, Oregon State and UCLA. And you are all but ignoring an Auburn team that beat four Top 10 teams (USC beat two) and had the fifth-strongest schedule in the country (USC was 18th) according to the NCAA.
Jason Hutto, New York City
I doubt we could beat USC, Auburn or Oklahoma, but that's not the point. Utah may never again finish undefeated and win a BCS bowl game, yet all you found space for was a two-page photo (Leading Off, Jan. 10) of the offensive line warming up?
Scott E. Hockin, Sandy, Utah
During your excessive praise of the Trojans, you overlooked one of the best stories of the year: coach Kirk Ferentz's magic act with the Iowa Hawkeyes. Despite losing his top four running backs--and having his team suffer numerous injuries--he led the Hawkeyes to a share of the Big Ten crown and one of the great finishes in bowl history when Drew Tate threw a 56-yard touchdown as time expired to beat LSU in the Capital One Bowl. Maybe next season, with a healthy backfield and Tate not having to Flutie his way around the field, Ferentz and the Hawks will get the recognition they deserve.
Ryan Gerdes, DeWitt, Iowa
What a wonderful surprise to open my mail box and find Sports Illustrated: Fifty Years of Great Writing which was sent to charter subscribers. My wife protested when I subscribed to SI; now I have to fight her over who gets to read it first.
Wesley E. Rich II, Gainesville,Va.
Heir and Space
I loved Steve Rushin's paean to his new baby daughter, Siobhan (Air and Space, Jan. 10). I remember how his love letter to his then new bride, Rebecca Lobo, turned me to mush. Should Siobhan inherit her mom's athletic skill, I'm betting her nickname will be Sha-Boom!
Mary Bilinkas, Chandler, Ariz.
I would like to offer my congratulations and welcome another Siobhan into the world. I have suffered through many unusual pronunciations of my name, and I have also hung up on telemarketers who call asking for a Mr. SI-O-BAN. I hope she enjoys the many positives to her name.
Siobhan Devlin, Bridgewater, N.J.
Cold Hard Truth
My first thought when I saw that there was a hockey story in the latest issue of SI was, Honestly, how many people care? But then I read Michael Farber's account of the immigration of NHL players to the Russian Superleague (Tampa Bay to Tatarstan, Jan. 10) and thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks to Farber for a brilliantly written article about a fading sport.
Tim Dwyer, Wichita, Kans.
Maybe the key figures in the NHL debacle should hitch a ride on a Yak-42 to Siberia to see how the other half lives. It might bring some humility to the negotiations and end the lockout. And they shouldn't forget to bring along their own toilet seat.
Susan Lindell Radke, Orinda, Calif.
I was disappointed to see a feature on Body Art (Tale of My Tattoo, Jan. 10). When friends tell me that they are going to get a tattoo, I always ask if they still like '80s music. Usually they say no. Then I ask them why they think they are going to like their tattoo in 20 years.
Carl Wylie, Annandale, Va.
After reading Karl Taro Greenfeld's article on Tracy McGrady, I believe McGrady should hop in his BMW or Falcon 2000 jet and head about 200 miles west (The Good Life? Jan. 10). He would find a player who is less concerned about his "image" and never "slacks off" on his teammates as McGrady admitted doing last season. This player also happens to own two championship rings. Mr. McGrady, meet Tim Duncan.
Alex Hoffman, Catonsville, Md.
Note to Tracy McGrady: Out here in the land of minivans and grilled cheese sandwiches, if we don't do our jobs, we don't get traded--we get fired. At a time when most Americans feel like they have the world by the tail if they have a job that offers benefits, and folks in South Asia are searching to find their missing family members, McGrady's trouble with his image seems spectacularly unimportant.
Geralyn Macklin, Plainwell, Mich.
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