RUSSIA VS. CANADA
My congratulations on your coverage of the Soviet Union's fantastic hockey team (Red Faces in Canada, Sept. 11). These men are to be admired for their skills. I saw that first game, and it was obvious to everyone I talked to that the Russians were well prepared for the series. And Mark Mulvoy is really something; I still cannot imagine how he got all that information on the Soviet training camp.
The Russian team beat Canada's best. Orr did it? While Canada put a good team on the ice, it wasn't a Hulluva good team.
ROBERT L. CAHILL
East Hampton, N.Y.
I did not approach the Canada-Russia hockey series with a favorite. However, the clean play and good sportsmanship of the Russians, compared to the often dirty play of Team Canada, turned me into a Russian fan. The Russians even resisted blatant attempts by Canadian players to intimidate them, such as the choke sign and a good shot on the head by Bill Goldsworthy in the first period of the fourth game. The Russians showed themselves more able than Team Canada to demonstrate the beauty, grace and precision of the game.
PETER A. ZHEUTLIN
Congratulations on your Sept. 11 issue, one of the best I have read in eight years of subscribing.
The articles on Russia's hockey upset of Team Canada, the first week of the Olympics and Bobby Fischer's chess championship were all very informative and the photography, as usual, was great.
But the real clinchers were the college football forecast and the dew tipped pen of that old sentimentalist, Dan Jenkins (A Football Weekend...Is One Long New Year's Eve). I am convinced no other sports magazine covers college football so well so consistently. For sure, no other sports magazine could have done justice to so many different events in the same issue.
Dan Jenkins' exquisitely evocative essay on the goings-on in those "strange, hidden towns" that epitomize the flavor and color of American collegiate football is a masterpiece. I enjoyed it so much that I forgive him for not including Hanover, N.H., which I assume was merely an oversight.
GILBERT S. OSBORN
I would like to congratulate you on the guts it took to pick LSU as the No. 1 team in the country. Evidently your excellent staff knows where the best college football teams are (in the Southeastern Conference) and which one of these teams is the best. But one question: If Penn State and Arkansas are rated No. 4 and No. 5 and Tennessee, without an offense, beat them both in 1971, how can the 1972 Tennessee team, which does have an offense, be rated No. 13?
I was very pleased to see LSU picked No. 1. Although the Bengals have lost Andy Hamilton, Tommy Casanova, Art Cantrelle and Ron Estay, four of LSU's finest, they do indeed have an overflow of talent. A lot will depend on Quarterback Bert Jones and also on how well Brad Davis develops. I just hope they can prove to the nation that LSU rightfully deserves the No. 1 spot.
Put LSU against Nebraska, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Ohio State, and it would be 0 for 5.
This is not meant to put down LSU, which will certainly field a fine team as evidenced by its Sun Bowl game. It is meant to put you at SI down for a sloppy job of selecting No. 1. Any of the above five teams would qualify, but LSU just isn't of that caliber.
What have you guys got against UCLA, anyway? You haven't seen fit to even rate the Bruins, while your headlines had Nebraska going for three straight. Wrong again, SI! Mark Harmon and Jim McAlister took care of the Cornhuskers in the Coliseum (Young Harmon Makes His Mark, Sept. 18). I suggest that your brain trusters find a spot for the Bruins while there is still time to wipe the egg from their faces.
NORMAN M. GLENN
North Hollywood, Calif.
Larry Keith made my day! I eat, sleep and live University of Delaware football in the fall. When I opened my Sept. 11 issue to the small-college section I was in seventh heaven.
I was also quite pleased to see big Dennis Johnson mentioned, a definite Little All-America candidate. But Delaware's size doesn't stop there, even though Dennis makes the rest look small. Joe Carbone, whom you mentioned, stands 6'3" and tips the scales at 225. At the other defensive end there is Bob Depew, also 6'3" and 230.
Is there any wonder the New Hampshire coach felt as he did? Thanks, Larry Keith, for letting everyone know about the Fightin' Blue Hens.
Congratulations to John Underwood for his fine article on the greatest college football coach of all time, Paul Bryant (New Tricks for an Old Bear, Sept. 11). The Bear only gets better with age. If you don't believe it, watch what Alabama does again this year.
LARRY C. BLACK
Supercoach Bear Bryant revealed more of his attitude than he probably meant to when he exclaimed, "...but we played a whole lot better, and it was a good thing. I'd have fired every one of them." The message seems clear: Do the job you're paid to do or I'll fire you and buy some bodies who can do the job! Where do sport and education fit into the Bear's beloved university?
CANDIDO MARQUEZ JR.
As a former Alabamian and the 34-year-old mother of three boys playing various stages of football from high school down and 1-year-old twin girls, who resemble tight ends already, I commend your article on Bear Bryant. What wisdom this man possesses. He has been an idol of our family, and this story has been the best we could hope for, other than meeting him in the flesh. Count us as seven more believers. The most any mother could hope for is that one day a son might be associated with such a human being.
Oxon Hill, Md.
BY THE BOARDS
In your history and exposé of the scoreboard craze (An Unbelievagable Boom, Sept. 4), you mentioned the streams of statistical data and sports quizzes viewed by fans at Dodger Stadium. That was 1962. In 1972 fans are treated to such statistics as happy birthday and happy anniversary messages and welcomes to various visiting groups.
Egocentric messages and commercialism are both unfair and repugnant to the sports fan. They degrade the game and the atmosphere. Unfortunately, management does not concur.
I can't see how David Butwin can use the words "baseball game" to describe our national pastime. "Circus" would be much more appropriate. It doesn't say much for a ball club when its owners have to lure fans to a game by means of a scoreboard. Why can't they spend their money developing their farm systems or getting some good players?
I hope this fad will die out in the near future, but for now I thank the Lord and Tom Yawkey for Fenway Park, where you can still go to see a decent ball game.
Here in Detroit we manage somehow to get along without having a center-field monstrosity telling us when the umpire was wrong, when the Tigers are having a rally, when to cheer and when to boo. And best of all, we're vying for first place, old-fashioned scoreboard and all.
Grosse Pointe, Mich.
SOUTH CAROLINA STYLE
Thank you for the exceptional article on Darlington and the Southern 500 (Getting the Good Times Rolling, Sept. 4). I follow racing in the leading car magazines, but your story digs deeper and conveys more of the excitement of the event and the reactions of the drivers than any other race chronicle I have ever read. There is also a wealth of technical detail often missed by casual writers.
Please, let's have more of this kind of reporting.
Address editorial mail to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, TIME & LIFE Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.