Florida hasanother easy schedule—including nonconference games against CharlestonSouthern, Troy and Florida International—that will put the Gators in anotherBCS championship game (yawn). Florida has not played a regular-season gameoutside of the South in this decade! At least teams like USC, Ohio State, LSU,Notre Dame and Virginia Tech have the guts to travel outside their region.
Brian Childs, Laguna Beach, Calif.
While I do notdisagree with the top three teams in your rankings (Florida, Texas andOklahoma), I was amazed to see that you had Alabama ranked only eighth(Scouting Reports, Aug. 17). Wasn't last year's climb from No. 24 to No. 1 overthe course of a perfect regular season enough to prove this team's potential?Aren't two consecutive top-ranked recruiting classes enough to confirm theCrimson Tide's depth? By comparison, you ranked USC fourth, and that team lost11 players to the draft and had two lesser recruiting classes.
Nathan Carlson, Pelham, Ala.
The Big East hasno teams in your top 22 and the Big Ten has just two (Rankings: 1 to 120, Aug.17). Both conferences have automatic BCS bids, and both have fewer teams in thetop 22 than the Mountain West. It's time for a playoff, or to give the MWCchampion an automatic BCS berth.
Matt Larsen, Morgan, Utah
Other than itsopening game against Oregon (at home no less), your No. 9 team, Boise State,plays no team higher than 45th in your rankings. If the Broncos win theiropener and go undefeated, should that be enough to merit a berth in the BCStitle game? Please save your high praise for teams that play a reasonableschedule in a legitimate conference.
Why isn't Cal inyour Top 20? The Golden Bears are going to win the Pac-10 and contend for thenational championship. Looking forward to your mea culpa.
Joe Davis, Honolulu
You did anexcellent job of creating interest in Oklahoma State's prospects (Leap Year,Aug. 17). In fact, I was so intrigued that I turned to the back of the issue tosee who SI projected would win the Sept. 5 matchup between Oklahoma State andGeorgia. Now I'm really intrigued—because according to your conferenceprojections, both teams will go 4--0 in nonconference play. No fence-sitting:Who's going to win?
Ryan Davis, New York City
EDITOR'S NOTE: SIregrets the error—and picks Oklahoma State to win the game.
Joe Sheehan'sargument for why Kansas City's Zack Greinke should win the American League CyYoung Award (INSIDE BASEBALL, Aug. 17) ignores one key point: quality ofopposition. At the time your story came out, Greinke was 11--7 and had a 2.33ERA, but he had made only three of his 24 starts against the AL's four bestoffenses (the Yankees, Rays, Red Sox and Angels). Toronto's Roy Halladay(13--5, 2.65 ERA) had a more impressive record. Not only was Halladay averaging7.5 innings per start (to Greinke's 6.9), but he also had made 10 of his 23starts against the four most potent lineups in the AL.
I laughed when Iread about coach Rex Ryan's efforts to instill a fighting mentality in his team(INSIDE THE NFL, Aug. 17). With that kind of "leadership" the Jets willremain a second-rate organization. By Week 8 I expect Ryan will be taking apage from father Buddy's playbook and putting out bounties on opponents. MaybeRyan should concentrate more on the quality of his offense and defense.
Roger F. Assad, Suffern, N.Y.
Comparing NFL andMLB officials (POINT AFTER, Aug. 17) is comparing apples and kiwis. NFL fansare far removed from the action, and officials get lost in the melee; thereferee is not required to make a call on every play. In baseball, with everypitch, the fans focus on the umpire and await his decision; this isparticularly true on close plays, such as the simultaneous arrival of ball andrunner at home plate. The umpire's adrenaline is probably pumping at the samerate as that of the catcher and the runner, so it is little wonder that the umpwould release his tension by making a demonstrative motion of safe or out.
Steve M. Whalen
Officials,particularly umpires in baseball, are getting out of control. I predict thatwithin the next few years you will see a fight break out between a player andan umpire. And the umpire very well might throw the first punch. (If you thinkthat idea is a bit much, remember NBA ref Joey Crawford challenging Tim Duncanback in 2007.) I hope I'm wrong.
Robert Galvan, Whittier, Calif.
I'm 84 years old,and I can remember when baseball umpires wore dark suits, white shirts and tiesand stayed out of the way except to make a call—and then it was nothingdramatic. I think the scene changed when games started being televised andumpires wanted their "act" on TV too. I suspect 50 years ago an umpwould have been booed off the field for engaging in some of today'sshenanigans.
Gil Ide, Chandler, Ariz.
While Phil Taylorpoints to NFL referees as the model for proper officiating, chair umpires intennis are also worthy of praise. They must be ready to call every single lineof every point. When things get heated, they have a standard procedure tofollow before ejecting a player. Maybe that's why we never hear about how gooda job these umpires do.
Tim Culligan, Newtown, Conn.
Taylor's desirefor an invisibility-cloaked official is not one I share. Undoubtedly, apower-hungry, spotlight-seeking umpire is an unwelcome interference. But tolose the individuality of the umpire or referee, which can come through in aslightly varying strike zone or a more tightly called touch foul, threatens apart of the game's character. If we begin replacing personality withperfection, we might as well have computers doing all the work for us.
New Haven, Conn.
True, the Giants'Pablo Sandoval rarely sees a pitch he doesn't like to hit (In Praise of Men WhoSwing from the Heels, Aug. 10). But in the last three months he has exercisedsome selectivity. He is third on the team with 34 walks, only three behind teamleader Randy Winn. He's never going to be Barry Bonds [in regard to drawingwalks], but he is starting to know the strike zone.
Richard Zitrin, San Francisco
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