TO BE, OR NOT TO BE...
No! No! No! No! No! Pick Notre Dame, pick USC, pick UCLA, pick the Cincinnati Bengals, for Pete's sake. What have we Boilers ever done to deserve this assured plethora of ill fortune—the curse of impending doom manifest in the super whammy associated with an SI No. 1 selection in anything (College Football, Sept. 9)?
J. E. LUEBERING
You guys make me laugh. Purdue No. 1? That's the funniest thing I've heard since you rated Notre Dame a No. 1 contender last year. Leroy Keyes and the whole Purdue team put together don't match up to O. J. Simpson and John McKay. O. J.'s got more orange juice than ever!
HORATIO J. YILOSLAVITCH
Although I am not wholeheartedly satisfied with your No. 6 rating of Alabama, I do commend you for being one of the few magazines to rate them in the Top Ten. I'm glad you know that a Top Ten without 'Bama just isn't right. Roll, Tide!
I noticed a tiny error in your fine magazine. You placed a number "5" before Penn State. The correction? No. 1.
Mistakes will happen. I only hope Penn State Coach Joe Paterno didn't notice it. I'm lookin' forward to the weekly analyses by Mervin Hyman, the greatest.
HAROLD K. WILLIAMS
Not to have selected Arizona State, the most highly regarded team in the Western Athletic Conference, among your Top 20 collegiate elevens is not to have learned the lessons of recent gridiron history, e.g. year-end rankings, bowl records and intersectional performances. It seems to me that the time has come when at least one WAC eleven should be chosen on the basis of what is happening in the here and now in college football.
Western Athletic Conference
P.S. I felt this way before becoming commissioner, too.
Your College Football Issue was very interesting. But what happened in the Small College section? You left out one of the best small college powers in the Midwest and in the nation: Parsons College. This year, as in previous years, Fairfield will be the Football Capital of Iowa.
PETER S. TIEWS
Scratch the unbeaten season you said Fairmont State might have. On September 7, Whitewater beat Fairmont 16-14 on a 40-yard field goal by Neil Hanson. If I were you I would send someone up here to cover our 1968 NAIA Champs.
Your College Football Issue was excellent. It covered the best teams and players in the country.
ONCE AND FOREVER
For shame! Dan Jenkins writes an article on traditional football rivalries in your September 9 issue and the only mention of Stanford-California is a slight to the effect that USC no longer considers either of them suitable competition!
It is true that in recent years USC and UCLA have had the stronger nationally ranked teams, but the article was focusing on traditional rivalries of long standing. Mention of Harvard-Yale was typical, and certainly legitimate, copy, but the USC-UCLA contest is an upstart compared to the rivalry of Stanford-California which began in 1892—just 17 years after Harvard-Yale—and has been going strong ever since. In earlier days Stanford or California, or both, would have eaten USC or UCLA for breakfast.
J. DONALD McCREADY
USC is not a "stuffy private school." It is many things—dynamic, vibrant, progressive, great, historic, traditional, a major private university—but not stuffy! Although Dan Jenkins wrote an otherwise interesting satire on college football, I certainly want to call attention to this very poor word selection in his reference to the 1967-68 national and Rose Bowl champion.
W. G. SHEQUEN
La Crescenta, Calif.
Your accounts of the various intense traditional rivalries that have become an integral part of college football and its popularity were quite enjoyable, but to overlook the Syracuse-Penn State feud was certainly an oversight. The games between these perennial Eastern powers have produced some of the most exciting and hard-fought battles anywhere in sports.
Also, in your explanation concerning UCLA and its No. 14 national ranking, you state that, except for Penn State, the Bruins' first six games would be no problem. Indeed! Consider UCLA's third opponent. Syracuse, at Archbold Stadium. Think back a short year ago—a week after USC defeated the Bruins by one point to win the national championship—when Syracuse all but demolished The Great One and Co., 32-14, at Los Angeles! Think, too, about the facts that the Orangemen have virtually the same unit that ranked second in rushing defense in the nation last year and that UCLA must contend with it again. No problem, huh?
NOT SO LITTLE
I was extremely disappointed that SPORTS ILLUSTRATED did not present an article on the Little League World Series. Certainly this event is more important than the habits of tourists camping in national parks (Boondock Heresy, Sept. 2). In the minute article appearing in FOR THE RECORD, you even left the Virginia off of Richmond.
We of Richmond, Virginia are extremely proud of the Tuckahoe Nationals, especially Roger Miller. Miller pitched nine no-hitters, five in tournament play, and set a World Series record by hitting three consecutive home runs in a game against Canada.
You should have had an article, not so much to honor the team representing the U.S., which finished second, but to honor the Japanese team that won the series.
•SI's stylebook lists certain cities that are assumed to need no identification other than their names. Paris is on it, and New York, and San Francisco and London. So is Richmond.—ED.
Boy, am I disappointed! You mentioned a score in FOR THE RECORD—Wakayama 1, Richmond 0. You did not mention that the Tuckahoe Nationals are the Western Hemisphere champs, the American champs, Virginia State champs, etc. You did not mention that Tim Reid, the catcher, received the Sportsmanship Award for the game. Nor did you mention that the pitcher, Roger Miller, had pitched nine no-hitters before losing the championship game. What's the matter? Don't you like Little League baseball?
Yes, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, you definitely flunked this time!
JOANN L. WALTER
POINT OF HONOR
Let me call attention to the sorry status of American contract bridge. The Blue Team, the cream of the crop of 6,000 organized bridge players in Italy, has defeated the cream of the crop of 180,000 organized American bridge players 11 times in the last 12 years of annual international championships. This is comparable to a pennant winner from one of our major leagues going into the World Series with a Triple A team and consistently coming out second best. The conclusion: there is something wrong with American contract bridge.
I think that the lack of success can be blamed on the point count, the prevailing method for card evaluation in the American bridge system today. Within the memory of many is the fact that the point-count method was discredited in 1931. For three or four weeks running there were headlines in the nation's press telling of the daily progress of a 150-rubber match between Ely Culbertson and Sidney Lenz. Culbertson, using the honor-trick count, won going away.
In my opinion, the point count has reduced the game to a hit-and-miss guessing game, 75% offense to 25% defense. Only the return to the honor-trick count, as the most true and reliable evaluation for one's 13 cards and their relativity to the other 39, will improve the situation.
ALFRED E. DAVIS
Staten Island, N.Y.
•Here is Charles Goren's reply: "All honor to reader Davis and his loyalty to honor tricks, which did indeed do much to educate early players of the then new game of contract bridge. But his history is a bit off. First, point count was the least important element of the Lenz method. Second, beginning in 1933, the Four Aces team, first to successfully advocate a point-count method, massacred Culbertson—and everyone else. Third, the Italians use point count as the basis of their artificial one-club systems. The Four Aces won, not because of the point count, but because they put together a combination of the greatest players of that day. Italy has done likewise."—ED.