To house its wunderkind, the city has just announced it will build a $46.4 million domed stadium that will seat 80,000 football fans ( Houston's Astrodome cost $31.6 million and accommodates only 52,000). Meanwhile, the club's present landlord, Tulane University, is reaping big-league profits from the rent of the Sugar Bowl and the concessions. Its gross from the Saints home games was more than $425,000. Who says pro football hurts colleges?
A LOT OF GAS
The Committee for the Winter Olympics issued a comprehensive six-page bulletin on the Olympic flame, explaining how it would be "lit by mirrors from the sun of Olympia" and then transported from Greece to Grenoble via an Air France Boeing 707. A particularly detailed passage of the release deals with special equipment—some of it designed just for the occasion—to preserve the flame. It will be transferred to a miners' lamp for the airplane trip from Athens and, we are told, "the Flame will burn in identical lamps in the vehicles of the escorting convoy in case the main torch should go out. Wax tapers will be used to transfer the Flame from the miners' lamps to torches.... From one relay to another, the Flame will be carried by means of metal torches working on propane gas.... These torches weigh about 1 kilogramme 750 if one counts the gas refill which weighs about 250 grammes.... Urns will be used as receptacles for the Flame at each halting-place. They will also be kept alight by means of 8 thirteen kilogramme bottles of propane gas.... The urn in the Opening Stadium...will be placed at the top of a tower 25 metres high. The Flame will be 2 metres 50 high. It will be necessary to install reservoirs with a capacity of from 1 T. 750 to 3 T. 500 to feed the urns in Grenoble and in the Dauphin� resorts. The total anticipated consumption is 35 T. of propane."
Word came from Olympia last week that the torch had been lit, but not by the sun. The ceremony was held indoors, and we suppose they used a match.
(NORTH) POLE POSITION
For the benefit of those not on his Christmas mailing list, this is to report that Andy Granatelli's yuletide card shows his controversial turbine racing car, festooned, naturally, with STP decals and being driven by, naturally, old Santa. But was that enough for Indy impresario Andy? Not nearly. The message says, "Best whooshes for the holidays."
THE MAKING OF A CHAMPION?
The National Collegiate Athletic Association has been quietly assessing the possibility of holding a series of postseason playoffs to determine a national collegiate football champion. The matter will be discussed in detail during the NCAA convention in New York next month and, although a number of technicalities would preclude playoffs before the 1969 season, support for a championship tournament is gathering. In the past college presidents have tended to oppose any such playoff for a variety of scholastic and policy reasons, but many of their objections may be answerable—and the huge television fees might be hard to turn down.
The plan being discussed at present would call for the champions of five major conferences—the Big Ten, Big Eight, Southeastern, Southwest and AAWU—and three at-large teams to compete for the title. Four games would be played on the first Saturday in December. The semifinals would be held on the third Saturday in December, and the final on New Year's Day. The championship game would be moved around the country, perhaps being played first in the Rose Bowl, then the Orange Bowl, etc. Ideally, from the NCAA standpoint, the early games might replace some of the lesser bowl games. Nothing, however, would prevent there being bowl games on New Year's Day, nor is there any suggestion that the NCAA would be against bowl games in competition with its championship game, just as any bowl game has competition on New Year's Day now.
Already there are rumblings from some Midwest faculty advisers opposing any playoff system, but this idea deserves much more thought than any such peremptory objections indicate. The NCAA is to be commended for studying the matter. There are NCAA championships in almost all other sports. Difficult as the problem is, it is time to see if there is not some way football could have a champion, too.
THE HEIGHT OF LUXURY