BY THE NUMBERS
A big bow to SI's basketball research (Scouting Reports, Dec 2). Louisville Coach Denny Crum has finally gotten the big man he's needed, and should Ricky Gallon live up to his potential the Cardinals will have the country's most exciting team. It will be UCLA vs. Louisville this spring.
MASON W. FUHR
Louisville may have some Cards, but North Carolina State has the whole Pack.
GEORGE L. COMER
Thank you for not picking North Carolina State No. 1. That just about clinches the championship for the Wolfpack again. Honestly now, is there anyone in the world who can stop David Thompson?
Lexington Park, Md.
In 1969, after Lew Alcindor had left UCLA, South Carolina was your preseason No. 1 pick. In 1971, when Sidney Wicks, Curtis Rowe and Steve Patterson had left, you chose Marquette to be No. 1. Now the Walton Gang has graduated and you predict that Louisville will be the champion. Will you never learn? UCLA will once more take the NCAA title, not only because it has size, speed and talented players, but because it still has the most important individual in its long string of championships, Coach Johnny Wooden.
All I want to say is that by season's end Marquette, your No. 18 team, will have beaten your No. 1 team, your No. 5 team (twice), your No. 11 team, your No. 13 team (twice) and your No. 17 team.
I am appalled that you failed to list the University of Dayton in your top 20. Last season the Flyers upset Notre Dame, and in the NCAA tournament it took UCLA three overtime periods to defeat us 111-100, a very misleading score. We have Johnny Davis, Joe Fisher and Allen Elijah, so the team should be as powerful as it was last year.
Having spent half a dozen years covering basketball in the Western Athletic Conference and having developed a special affection for the blunt and colorful coaching crew in the conference, I offer my congratulations to Curry Kirkpatrick for his fine article Somewhere Out West Is the Wacky WAC (Dec. 2). He captured the wild and intangible flavor of the WAC in superb fashion.
As for the Fox, the Bear and the Hippie, even Aesop might have blinked at some of the fables that have grown around them. In the process, however, they have enriched the game of basketball on and off the court. And if their egos are as wide as the Fox's lapels, you can only drag out the old quote: "If you can do it, it ain't braggin'."
Again, cheers for Kirkpatrick. Seldom have I been so entertained by a sports article.
P. J. ERICKSON
The Arizona Republic
As an alumnus of Yale who had the misfortune to witness the Harvard "explosions" of 1968 and 1974, I read Robert H. Boyle's article (Explosion at The Game, Dec. 2) with interest and appreciation. The Game was without a doubt the most important event not to be televised this season. Dating back to 1875, it represents one of the oldest football rivalries in the nation. More important, The Game consistently provides the perfect combination of athletic skill, convulsive unpredictability and general collegiate insanity on and off the field. For many of us, it is as close to the ultimate as we would care to get. Besides, nowhere else will you hear a pregame statement like that of Yale's Gary Fencik, who reputedly said that the fair catch "impugns my integrity."
New Milford, Conn.
How The Game even rates a write-up in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED is beyond me.
Winter Haven, Fla.
Ohio State earned the right to play in the Rose Bowl this time (Still Alive and Kicking, Dec. 2). But the prospect of enduring a third straight bowl-less New Year as a loyal fan of the Michigan Wolverines, coupled with the absence of any indication that the Big Ten is about to abandon its nonsensical contract with the Pacific Eight, prompts me to propose the establishment of a Non-Bowl.
Give the fans Michigan and Oklahoma, head to head, as a prelude to that parade of bowl games (in which 8-3 teams often play 7-4 teams to become "champions"). Forget the television coverage, the polls, the holidays in the sun and the beauty contests. Let the Sooners (unbeaten in two years) and the Wolverines (30-2-1 in three seasons) work out their frustrations and regain a measure of the pride denied them by administrative dicta.
The big non-game could take place right here in the Midwest—St. Louis, Chicago or Kansas City would do—and whatever profits resulted could be pledged to charity or claimed by the administrations responsible for the two teams' plights. This one-time meeting between two of college football's finest teams could help to re-establish the spirit of fair play, which so often seems to be missing in modern sport.
Ann Arbor, Mich.
When a team with a three-year 30-2-1 record is prevented from going to a bowl game because of its conference's antiquated rules, it is time for a change. Surely Wayne Duke and the Big Ten athletic directors don't enjoy the anguish they have subjected themselves to the last two years, and no one benefits from the ensuing controversy. Let the conference champs go to the Rose Bowl through a set formula, but make the other teams eligible for additional bowl bids.
The long-shot Los Angeles Ram trade (Gambling with Their Future, Nov. 4) looks as if it may bring a big payoff. Quarterback James Harris played perhaps his best game as a Ram in bringing the team from behind to defeat the Minnesota Vikings 20-17. Though he faced the most furious pass rush in the NFL, Harris picked it apart as if it were a rusty lock. He is definitely a winner.
A. C. SHIELDS
Long Beach, Calif.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
As a non-hunter but Adirondack denizen, I was touched by Mason Smith's thoughtful assessment of hunting and the Adirondack woods (Lone Watch in a Gold-Fobbed Forest, Nov. 25).
My wife doesn't understand the bucks swinging from the racks in front of general stores, gutted and admired trophies. She asks how one would want to deprive the forests of such stately creatures. How indeed?
Mason Smith has provided some of the answers and, as it should be, provoked a lot more questions.
Once again SPORTS ILLUSTRATED has convinced me that some of the finest writing in America comes not just from the literary fields, but from the fields which call themselves sporting.
Saranac Lake, N.Y.
The article The Killing of the Shrew (Nov. 18) by Ron Rau on why the hunter hunts and why the adrenaline flows was excellent. I have often wondered what it is that drives a man to kill a poor, innocent creature that has done nothing to disturb him.
I have found through my own personal experience that the minute I get a gun in my hand the adrenaline starts to flow. I agree that "exciting" is not the right word. I cannot think of a word that describes the sensation that is felt from this challenge.
It is true that the more the hunter identifies with his victim, the more "excited" he gets. This article reminds me of Richard Connell's story The Most Dangerous Came.
Ron Rau says he is not a compulsive killer. I cannot agree. The taking of any life just because it is alive and within range is the hallmark of a compulsive killer. Thank you for the article; it provides some of the best anti-hunting, anti-gun ammunition I have ever come across.
I have nothing against the hunter who hunts and uses the kill for food. I had nothing against Ron Rau stalking the black bear, for he mentions using the bear for food. Fine. I do, however, take exception to his confrontation with the tiny, harmless shrew.
JACK ST. ONGE
Boca Raton, Fla.
Hats off for publishing Ron Rau's article. As a non-hunter, I found it to be a thought-provoking statement of the hunter's ego.
WAITING TO SEE
The article by William O. Johnson on the Lake Placid Olympic bid (Back Where the Games Belong, Nov. 4) spoke of the proposal having gotten the "backing" of the Sierra Club. By the time this letter reaches you I probably will have heard from the half of our 10,000 New York State members who have not already called or written me to ask, "Is it true?"
The Sierra Club has at no time taken any position in support of the Lake Placid Olympics. The position which we have taken, both in our formal policy statement last April and in our testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives in May, is that we would neither oppose nor support the proposals for holding the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. However, our neutrality was contingent upon the strict adherence to the letter and the spirit of existing land-use laws.
We in New York State are fortunate to possess the finest piece of wilderness in the Northeast. The people of the state have guarded this resource for 80 years by constitutional provision. In the last decade there was a growing awareness that this invaluable asset was threatened by forces from which the state constitution could not provide adequate protection. As a result the governor and legislature sponsored and passed an enlightened plan for the administration of state lands and the regulated development of private lands.
We do not want to see 80 years of careful husbandry jeopardized in the enthusiasm of the moment. We therefore explicitly reserved the right to oppose and to enter into legal proceedings, if necessary, to ensure that these laws are not infringed. This is the total extent and form of our "support" for the Lake Placid Olympics.
Chairman, Atlantic Chapter
New York City
MAPS TO TREASURE
Congratulations to Bil Gilbert on his beautifully written story on topographic maps (The Unlost Art, Nov. 25). In this country too many people—from scientists to sportsmen—are unaware of the usefulness of these maps. In publishing this article you have both served and entertained your readers.
R. H. LYDDAN
Chief, Topographic Division
U.S. Department of the Interior
Bil Gilbert's article was remarkable in its description of U.S. topographical maps, their uses and origins. Recently, after discovering my first topo map, I became as much of an addict as the author apparently is. Topo maps are as fascinating as a good book; each one provides an endless tale of the charted landscape.
Real good. Now you've lowered your magazine to the rip-off level of pro wrestling (Lady With a Lock on Life, Nov. 18). Pat Jordan is a good writer, but can't you people find better things to include in your magazine? This article about made me sick, Shuuu-ga.
O.K., you have shown us close-ups of the Japanese sumo wrestlers (Pride in Bondage, May 27) and the ferocious lady wrestler, the Fabulous Moolah. Now will you do an article on wrestling as it exists—no, thrives—in hundreds of American high schools and colleges today? This wrestling is not what most people might think. There are no two-ton Charlies tossing each other around on the floor or sitting on top of each other pulling legs back until the crybaby says "uncle." What you do find in prep and collegiate wrestling are young men who must be strong, tough, quick on their feet, able to think fast in order to reverse a hold and dedicated enough to go on rigid diets that would make most people shudder. There are no "tag team" setups to relieve a wrestler when he tires; he must wrestle three two-minute periods without a break, unless an injury occurs.
MARGARET H. SHAW
I don't know anything about wrestling, but Pat Jordan's piece on the Fabulous Moolah was fabulous.
Mount Clemens, Mich.
All "Griffins" (including Archie, I'll wager) go through life being called "Griffith." Conversely, all "Griffiths" (including Calvin and Emile, I'll bet) go through life being called "Griffin." I don't suppose any member of our collective tribes will ever become accustomed to these totally incorrect references. The "Don Griffin," noted in the story on Moolah is in real life me, with an "ith," not an "in."
Aside from this, I am grateful to author Pat Jordan for his complimentary observations about my announcing. But "a pair of white socks with brown slacks"? Never. Even the Griffiths know better than that.
Address editorial mail to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, TIME & LIFE Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.