What's so amazing about the NFL is how quickly the stars come and go. Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Smith, Andre Johnson and Chad Ochocinco were the featured receivers in SI's 2009 season preview, but in the playoff preview (The Game Changers, Jan. 11) a new set—Miles Austin, Robert Meachem and Sidney Rice—was touted as game changers.
This is an article from the Feb. 1, 2010 issue
Ezra Tanen, Thornhill, Ont.
The Bad Old Days
Jared Allen is a badass on the field (The Thrill of It All, Jan. 11), but the way he has changed his ways off the field may be more significant. While Allen may display the persona of an Old West outlaw, he is now far from it—with the exception of the way he terrorizes opposing quarterbacks.
Tom Kain, Havre, Mont.
Was it intentional or ironic that in your opening photograph of Jared Allen he was exhibiting a narcissistic celebration over what was probably a standard play? Old-school football? I don't recall Dick Butkus or Jack Youngblood performing such self-absorbed antics when they did their jobs.
Doug Bigelow, Fulton, N.Y.
Thanks to Coach Cal and John Wall (He's the Shizz, Jan. 11), hoops are fun again in the Commonwealth. But if John is the Great Wall, Patrick Patterson is Kentucky's foundation.
Fort Wright, Ky.
I pity the fans of programs that sign NBA-bound superstars such as John Wall and Derrick Rose for one year. At Wisconsin we've had the pleasure of watching point guard Trevon Hughes mature from promising freshman to senior star.
Gills Rock, Wis.
The Great Debate
It sounds as if Bill Hancock is as smart as he is nice. The BCS playoff system (SCORECARD, Jan. 11) may not be perfect, but it beats every alternative. At the end of a long season, college football has figured out how to get what most people consider the two best teams to play for the national championship. Sounds pretty reasonable to me.
The bowl system can't be changed because of tradition? No one seems to be lamenting the demise of leather helmets, single platoons, tees for kicking field goals, tearaway jerseys and whites-only SEC teams.
Don Saak, Bountiful, Utah
Did Hancock actually say, "Isn't that pretty good?" when referring to the BCS system? Since when did "pretty good" become good enough for a championship? There is no mythical champ in any other sport. I never want to see politicians get involved in sports, but I would make an exception here. Congress should legislate the creation of a major college football playoff system.
West Yarmouth, Mass.
Any system that gives more than two teams a chance to win a national championship is superior to the BCS. Undefeated Boise State deserved to play for a national title, and there is no way that a major-conference team like Cincinnati should run the table and not get a shot at the big game.
Drew Houck, Portland, Ind.
Why can't the bowls be used as the playoff games? I'll bet the GMAC Bowl would love to have Texas versus LSU in a game that mattered instead of two mid-majors. Would that eventually kill the bowls? Maybe, but why is the continued existence of the bowls a higher priority than determining a true champion? The BCS apologists want us to believe that just because a perfect system cannot be devised, we should stick with the grossly imperfect system we have now.
Jim Ogden, New Fairfield, Conn.
Time to Dance?
Thank you for giving Northwestern basketball a shout-out (POINT AFTER, Jan. 11). This team will definitely be dancing with the stars in March.
Jay Casady, Evanston, Ill.
I was surprised that Chris Ballard failed to mention the most ironic fact regarding Northwestern's being the only major-conference school never to reach the Big Dance: The tournament's first title game, between Oregon and Ohio State in 1939, was played at Northwestern's Patten Gymnasium. Even if the university never gets an NCAA bid, it is still a part of the tournament's history.
Mark J. Mitchell
Ballard not only mischaracterizes the Wildcats but also perpetuates the "white guys can't play" stereotype. John Shurna, despite his unorthodox shot, is an athletic 6'8" forward who rebounds well and has made many above-the-rim plays. Kevin Coble's game reminds me of Antawn Jamison's in his ability to make crazy off-balance shots look routine. Ask Michigan State coach Tom Izzo; he'll tell you that Shurna, Coble and Juice Thompson would start on any Big Ten team.
Michael Sidorov, Boston
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