Kudos to SI for another insightful College Football Preview (Aug. 16). Although I agree that a loaded Oklahoma team warrants a No. 2 preseason ranking, I take issue with your statement that the "Sooners should breeze through September and be 4--0." An intriguing bump in the road presents itself on Sept. 18, when the Oregon Ducks--No. 18 in your preseason rankings--visit Norman. The Ducks were a late addition to Oklahoma's schedule, designed to boost OU's strength of schedule. Although that variable has been removed from the BCS formula, Kellen Clemens and the Quack Attack may just throw a monkey wrench into the Sooners' best-laid plans for 2004.
Chris Stiles, Bloomington, Ill.
Eight months ago the Mid-American Conference closed the book on the most successful season in its 57year history with a pair of bowl wins and two teams in the top 25 of the final AP poll, but none of that seems to matter to SI. I was appalled that only two MAC teams made even your top 69 and that the conference that you touted so highly last year (A Big MAC Attack, Sept. 29; Unknown, Undefeated, Oct. 13) received such little respect from your prognosticators.
Matt LaWell, Athens, Ohio
USC ranked No. 1? USC does not play anyone that is ranked in SI's top 20. LSU, on the other hand, plays two teams ranked in the top 10 and one team ranked No. 13. Step up to the plate USC. Strength of schedule does matter.
I realize that most people's interest lies with the 117 Division I-A football schools, many of whose players are enrolled primarily to prepare for the NFL. However, to completely overlook the more than 400 schools who compete in Divisions I-AA, II and III seems like a slap in the face to those student-athletes. (Yes, most of them are students first.)
Gary Ciba, Phoenix
Trace on the Case
Alan Shipnuck forgot to give proper credit to Los Angeles Dodgers manager Jim Tracy (A Blue Streak, Aug. 16). Trace has been there for his players and is well respected by baseball people, and the Dodgers have been in the race for the playoffs in all four of his seasons as manager. Give Trace his due. If the Dodgers weren't doing well, everyone would blame the manager.
Marty Mayer, Somerset, Ky.
As a below-the-line technician, I find it hard to believe that Peter Farrelly, a well-established director of megamoney movies has no say in where he can shoot his film about a Red Sox--obsessed fan (Scorecard, Aug. 16). Shooting "the ultimate Red Sox movie" in Toronto makes as much sense as shooting an American Civil War film in Europe.
Dan Kerns, Burbank, Calif.
Bodies of Water
I have endured many photos of football linemen and golfers. Now, finally, an article on men's water polo, the sport with the most spectacular physiques--and you give me three photos of the 56year-old coach (Pooling Resources, Aug. 16). Certainly after publishing so many swimsuit issues, you could have provided your female readers with some eye candy.
Kristen Ruby, Visalia, Calif.
John Ed Bradley's first line summed it up well: It Was an Ugly Day (Aug. 16). It was a sickening day. As I was watching the game on TV, at times I felt compelled to stand as the 12th man, hoping that I might somehow send a little bit of psychic energy to help the Texas A&M football team compete with Oklahoma. I'm guessing there were other Aggies who were doing the same thing. No one ever said it was easy being an Aggie, but it's who I am. It's who I always will be.
Bob Boeker, Sherman, Texas
Bradley's article on the 77--0 Texas A&M loss to Oklahoma sort of makes you feel sorry for the poor Aggies, unless you happen to remember that less than a month before their worst football loss ever, they whipped up on the Baylor Bears 73--10 in front of a very happy Kyle Field crowd. What goes around, comes around.
Mike O'Connell, Friendswood, Texas
Most people who have competed in sports have experienced those nightmarish games that you just want to end. In a culture that typically equates glory with victory, it was good to read about the team on the other end of a blowout.
Bill Pavuk, Chatfield, Ohio
Remember the Flyers
Remember the Flyers
I noticed in the 5 Minute Guide to the Season (Aug. 16) that you listed the Texas Longhorns as having scored in 278 consecutive games, the nation's longest streak. As impressive as that is, the Dayton Flyers, a IAA nonscholarship program for the past 12 years, after playing in Division III, have not been shut out in 311 games, the longest active streak in college football. (BYU held the record until being shut out last season.) The Flyers were last blanked in 1976, against Marshall, and have averaged 32.8 points a game during the streak. It's time to give the Flyers their due.
Mark Malzewski, Fairfield, Conn.
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COVER PHOTOGRAPHS BY PIERRE DUCHARME/REUTERS (SKYLER GREEN), RONALD MARTINEZ/GETTY IMAGES (JASON WHITE), DALE ZANINE/ICON SMI (DAVID GREENE), JEFF GROSS/GETTY IMAGES (MATT LEINART), GARY ROTHSTEIN/ICON SMI (FRANK GORE)
TIMOTHY BOONE (DAYTON)
Not shut out in 311 straight games.