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Original Issue


Bowl Day
I agree with Rick Reilly's article about the Florida State—Nebraska game: There is no true national champion this year (Wide Left, Jan. 10). I do, however, think that the strength of the Seminoles' schedule, coupled with Notre Dame's late-season loss to Boston College, makes a fairly convincing case for Florida State.

Your jury may be hung, but the members of both polls experienced no indecision. Florida State played a less than perfect game on New Year's Day with guts, determination and class. Nebraska coach Tom Osborne seems to be the only one to concede that. So while Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz whines and writers analyze, we Seminole fans will celebrate.
PATRICE MCGETTIGAN, St. Petersburg, Fla.

This year's national championship was decided not only without a playoff but also without regard to the games that were played. Bobby Bowden is a fine coach and a charming gentleman, but Florida State doesn't deserve the championship given to it by the pollsters.
DAVID FORTIN, Olathe, Kans.

When did longevity in coaching, career wins and sympathy for a handful of "almosts" become the criteria for earning a national title? Giving Florida State and Bobby Bowden the championship is an outrage. Let's hope this travesty brings about a playoff system.
CASEY K. CANNON, Altamonte Springs, Fla.

In response to Rick Reilly's contention that Nebraska played a soft schedule, please let the record show that the other three Big Eight teams that went to a bowl—Oklahoma, Kansas State and Colorado—won their games by an average of 26 points. UCLA, another Nebraska foe in '93, won the Pac-10 and played in the Rose Bowl.

As an avid reader of SI since my youth on the plains of Nebraska, I have grown weary of Husker stories that seem to contain the same formula: Mix together the concepts of blandness, bulkiness and stodginess, throw in a pinch of sarcasm about Big Red fanaticism and frost with the conclusion that Huskers choke in big games, and—voilà!—you have this year's Nebraska story.

Therefore I was pleased with your account of Husker coach Tom Osborne (The Quiet Man, Dec. 27-Jan. 3). He may never win a national title, but he will have garnered a bigger prize—the respect and admiration of an entire state.
DAVE HAWLEY, Wichita, Kans.

I would like to respond to Austin Murphy's claim that Tennessee was the best team in the SEC (Scorecard, Dec. 27-Jan. 3). After beating Tennessee, Florida lost only to undefeated Auburn and No. 1 Florida State. Tennessee did not play either of those teams, and the Vols tied Alabama, which Florida handily beat for the SEC title. What's more, on New Year's Day, Penn State ran all over the Vols, while the Gators routed West Virginia. I could understand Murphy's making a case that Auburn or Florida was the best in the SEC, but the Vols? Give us a break.
JON NACE, Gainesville, Fla.

I am from West Virginia and agree that Florida was the superior team, but I resent Austin Murphy's crack that "Bourbon Street has never seen so many pairs of overalls." Inane comments like that by members of the press, the majority of whom have never been to West Virginia, give our state a black eye. If Murphy was trying to be funny, let him try again, but at someone else's expense.
DEAN WINGERD, Washington, D. C.

Thank goodness one of your cameramen screwed up his assignment and ended up in Pasadena (Contents, Jan. 10). Otherwise we would not have known that Wisconsin played in the Rose Bowl, much less that the Badgers won it by beating UCLA. Shame on you guys for omitting a Rose Bowl summary.

I am sure you received hundreds of letters, faxes and phone calls about your lack of coverage of the Rose Bowl. Those of us who live in Wisconsin were told over and over that this was the biggest event in our lives. We were bombarded with Badger Rose Bowl—related news. So, though it was nice to see the Badgers win in Pasadena, what made the game really fantastic for those of us who couldn't take any more coverage didn't report on the game. You can't imagine the feeling I had picking up your publication and finding that I didn't have to read about the Badgers—did they eat right, did anyone have the flu, did the practices go well? Blah, blah, blah.
JOHN HART, Cudahy, Wis.



Badgered, we offer more on Wisconsin.

Letters to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and should be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020-1393.

"When did coaching longevity, career wins sympathy for a handful of 'almosts' become the criteria for earning a national title?"