Mere hours after I received the Nov. 20 issue with Kansas on the cover as SI's No. 1 team in the nation, that very same team lost, at home, to Oral Roberts. Let me guess: This is the 435,234th letter sent to SI claiming that the cover jinx has struck again.
Steve Ogullukian, New York City
Wisconsin Badgers basketball on the cover of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. My days must be numbered. This wasn't supposed to happen in my lifetime. Go, Bucky!
Lowell Johnson, Manitowoc, Wis.
No Gonzaga in your preseason Sweet 16? We play better as the underdog, anyway.
Blake Slonecker, Carrboro, N.C.
I found Coyote Ugly (Nov. 20) and the closing statement, "Phoenix rising. Slowly," quite amusing. I recently visited the ticket office and was advised that the prices for the Red Wings game have been doubled this season. That's the only thing rising for the Coyotes—their ticket prices.
Ed Maynard, Tubac, Ariz.
I thought I was reading the Sign of the Apocalypse when Michael Farber stated that Rutgers coach Greg Schiano was the highest-paid New Jersey state employee (SCORECARD, Nov. 20). I live in a state that is $4.5 billion in the red, and it's certainly not Rutgers red. The university is cutting minor varsity sports, New Jersey is cutting important services, and Greg Schiano will make a million dollars so 10,000 drunk kids can rush the field.
Michael Grillo, Pitman, N.J.
Out, Damned Spots
Rick Reilly speculated on all the things about sports that could be sold to sponsors in the future (LIFE OF REILLY, Nov. 20). But he obviously hasn't listened to any Yankees games in the past couple of years. There are already sponsorships for everything from Hideki Matsui's first at bat (Benihana) to the 15th out (GEICO saves you 15% for a 15-minute phone call). Not to mention best fielding play, turning point, starting lineup, call to the bullpen, etc., etc., ad nauseam.
Chuck Singer, Yonkers, N.Y.
Run to Glory
For that one crazy week a year, members of my family—a mix of Ohio State and Michigan fans—taunt, jinx and verbally abuse each other, all the negative things that people outside Columbus and Ann Arbor hear about. That's why I was thrilled to read Steve Rushin's column about the fraternity-sponsored game-ball relay for the benefit of the American Cancer Society (AIR AND SPACE, Nov. 20). Aside from a tradition of remarkable games, the Ohio State--Michigan rivalry carries many great nonfootball traditions: Students of both schools come together for a blood drive, numerous charity events and much more.
Shannon Stromberg, Columbus, Ohio
My fourth-grade social studies class and I would like to inform Mr. Rushin that while it is true the Toledo War was never more than a few fistfights, many people believe that it was during this time that Michiganders were first called Wolverines because Michigan's soldiers fought like these tough animals. In addition to the nickname, the state of Michigan gained more than 13,000 square miles of land in the Upper Peninsula while giving up only 468 square miles and the harbor at Toledo. About five years later copper, iron ore and lumber from the Upper Peninsula were making millions of dollars for the state. Another big victory for Michigan!
Dawn Secord, Hastings, Mich.
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MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II/IDEUCE3 PHOTOGRAPHY (KANSAS, WISCONSIN)
SIMON BRUTY (GEORGETOWN)
BILL FRAKES (NORTH CAROLINA)
JOE MCNALLY (WASHINGTON)