Notre Dame is the No. 1 college football team in the country. You picked a winner!
The Irish will wake up the echoes.
With Notre Dame's schedule, Vassar could be No. 1.
Any school that has a tad of talent and has all three military academies on its schedule ought to be heading for a great record.
Notre Dame should be ashamed, and should be dropped down to Division II. But they are probably just laughing about how they have snookered the sportswriters again.
STEPHEN BRUCE STOVALL
I will bet my maize-and-blue nose warmer, my Michigan helmet lamp, my "M" frisbee and my Wolverine wine decanter that Michigan will 1) win the Big Ten, 2) win the Rose Bowl and 3) win the national championship when Oklahoma's tough schedule and Notre Dame's lackluster offense show them up.
•Other letters proclaimed that USC, Oklahoma, Ohio State, UCLA and Pitt would be No. 1—ED.
You do not seem to know the mascot of No. 4 Texas Tech. Whatever that widemouth character is (an Indian brave?), he certainly is not a Red Raider! A Red Raider is a masked man wearing a flowing red cape and riding a black horse.
While Texas A&I has indeed been the dominant force in NAIA football circles for the past three seasons, the Javelinas are not the only NAIA school worthy of recognition (SI Football Preview, Sept. 5).
Before the Associated Press discontinued its small-college poll last year, seven NAIA institutions were ranked among the top 15 small-college teams (NCAA-NAIA combined) in the 1974 final football rankings, and in 1975 the NAIA placed six teams (three of them in the top six) among the 15 best small-college football teams in all of the country.
There were 283 ex-NAIA players on National Football League rosters in 1976. The NAIA boasted the Rookie of the Year (Minnesota's Sammy White) and the NFC's top rusher (Chicago's Walter Payton). In all, 10 NAIA graduates were on the NFL's All-Pro and All-Rookie teams.
With its graduates dotting NFL rosters, its 240 football-playing institutions and a student enrollment of more than 970,000, the NAIA indeed represents more than one institution.
Public Relations Director, NAIA
Kansas City, Mo.
I expected to see Northwestern mentioned in the Big Ten report in six words or less. (Something like "The Wildcats will finish last again.") However, those words were nowhere to be found. You excluded Northwestern and reported on only nine of the Big Ten schools.
You have forgotten the team that holds up the entire league. You have forgotten the brains (surely not the brawn) of the Big Ten. You have forgotten the last school other than Ohio State or Michigan to finish second in the conference since 1967. NU did it in 1971.
COACH AND SCRIBE
Wholehearted congratulations to John Underwood for his pointed introduction to the college football preview (Fewer Is Finer Except for Some Flaws, Sept. 5). Only one complaint: he merely scratched the surface of an issue that is crucial in today's system of education and athletics. Instead of waiting for Walter Byers, why doesn't SI turn Underwood loose on other football coaches, as well as those in basketball, hockey, etc.? Three pages hardly does justice to the problem at hand. How about three issues?
JOHN E. THOMAS
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and John Underwood are to be commended for the astute article.
Domination of college football by a select few—the polls, bowls and television—represents one of our biggest problems.
Limitations on grants may well be the salvation for college football in terms of achieving equality, sanity and economy.
And Underwood's observations regarding academics and athletics are totally on target, as well.
Congratulations on an accurate assessment of college football.
WAYNE DUKE, COMMISSIONER
BIG TEN CONFERENCE
Why don't we have a statistic in football similar to the one in baseball, which tabulates errors by receivers?
I hate to see a quarterback listed as having completed 1 of 10 passes when three balls have been plain dropped.
CHARLES L. HILL
St. Petersburg, Fla.
Your article on Dave Rozema (The Rose Has Bloomed, Aug. 29) was great. The Tiger rookie deserved some recognition. But I think it is inexcusable to leave Bob Bailor of the Blue Jays off your list of American League Rookie of the Year candidates while including Bump Wills, Eddie Murray and Mitchell Page. Bailor has the best average of all the regular rookies in the league (.320) and is playing a good center field. He has been in the top 10 in batting since the beginning of the season and should have been on this year's All-Star team. At the All-Star break he was second in batting to Rod Carew.
What about Detroit's Steve Kemp? As a rookie in his first full season, he has 18 home runs, 82 RBIs, and a solid .261 average as the Tigers' cleanup hitter, and he has made but four errors in the outfield. By these stats, I would say that Kemp is the leading candidate.
In your NASL preview (April 11) you wrote: "Coach Jimmy Gabriel of the Seattle Sounders is trying an experiment that could assure him of the basement in the division." The experiment called for the use of Americans and "modestly talented foreigners." But the experiment paid off! One of the Americans, Jim McAlister, won the 1977 Rookie of the Year award, while two of our "modestly talented foreigners," Mel Machin and Mike England, made the NASL All-Star first team, with Jimmy Robertson getting honorable mention.
This was no surprise to the fans of the Sounders, who took the Pacific Division and went on to play the millionaire Cosmos in Soccer Bowl '77.
They lost, but that's not bad for a team assured of the basement!
Although his records have been erased (Bottom Was Up To Topping a Mark, Sept. 5), Mark Spitz' memorable performance in the '72 Olympics at Munich will never be forgotten by anyone who saw it.
The story about Alberto Juantorena (El Caballo Is Off and Running, Aug. 29) should have been shortened and printed in your FOR THE RECORD section. I'm tired of hearing about the special treatment given Russian, East German and Cuban athletes. Our '72 Olympic champions, Vincent Matthews (400 meters) and Dave Wottle (800 meters), weren't supplied with cars and houses. And Cuba's Teofilo Stevenson, what kind of hero is he? Why hasn't he fought Ali, Norton or Frazier?
As an industrial engineer I found Gideon's Magic Machine (Aug. 22) fascinating. Although it wasn't mentioned, I hope that Dr. Ariel's vision of the future includes exploring the use of his techniques in physical therapy and the design of orthopedic devices. The knowledge gained from the functioning of healthy athletes might be an invaluable aid to the injured and handicapped. The design of an improved high-jump shoe might be the first step toward a scientifically designed orthopedic shoe.
DH IN THE SERIES
Why does SI charge the National League with intransigence on the subject of the designated hitter (SCORECARD, Aug. 29)? The NL should be praised for its insistence that at least every other year the World Series will be played as the game was designed.
The NL should tell the American League and Bowie Kuhn to stuff the designated-hitter rule. It has prostituted the game. It distorts the records. Wonderful man that Al Kaline may be, he never would have gotten 3,007 hits had he had to play baseball during his entire career. Nor would many other "glorious" records now being set be made were the players playing positions other than designated hitter.
NO MYTHS, PLEASE
You mention "Mekili" Ieremia, the 238-pound Samoan leader of Brigham Young's defense. You say, "He arrived in the States by sailboat, was befriended by a Protestant minister...."
Actually, my son and I met Ieremia while we were filming a documentary on a 60-foot schooner in the Pacific. He joined the crew and eventually came with us to the U.S. However, before the mythmakers at BYU get too carried away, I am not a Protestant minister and Mekeli (which is how he spells his first name) arrived in the U.S. by airplane. Also, he is a tackle, not an end.
New York City
Address editorial mail to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, New York, 10020.