PICKS AND POKES
Congratulations on another marvelous issue of SI. The College Football 1971 section (Sept. 13) was sensational. Although I disagree on LSU's place (No. 5) in the Top 20, I would like to commend you on your fine choice of Tommy Casanova as the best player in the nation.
Seldom does a defensive player receive the honors he deserves. The Heisman Trophy rarely, if ever, goes to a defensive player. And that doesn't seem right. In this day and age of the great offensive talents, there is an even greater need for more sophisticated defensive units. It is the fine cornerbacks and safeties, along with the other defenders, who have made the game the sensation it is today. The time has come to recognize these fine players, and the young sensation from Crowley, La. stands first in line.
JAMES E. LEBLANC
Your article on college football's Top 20 teams was spectacular. Notre Dame deserves all the credit you've given, and more.
Kings Park, N.Y.
What about Alabama? The unranked Tide is rolling.
Much as I hate to second-guess the experts, I feel I must point out that you snubbed Stanford again. For shame! Didn't you learn anything at all from last season?
JAMES G. DONART
In your analysis of the so-called small colleges you failed to mention Texas A&I University. In the past four seasons, the Javelinas have compiled a record of 41-4-0, winning the championship in the tough Lone Star Conference four consecutive times.
A&I is also the NAIA defending national champion, having won the title in the last two campaigns. And last year's squad sent five gridders to the professional ranks. What more can a football program do to be recognized?
The University of Tampa, cited last year in your Nov. 2 article on small colleges and on the verge of losing football a few years ago, has revamped its football program and compiled records of 7-3, 8-2 and 10-1. X Ray McQuay will be missed this year but not enough for Tampa to miss the national championship for small colleges.
A LITTLE COACHING
Thank you SI and John Underwood for your article (And This Man Is at the Top, Sept. 13) on the winningest coach in college football, Bob Devaney. For once you showed Nebraska and its great coach as they are, and not as a bunch of country bumpkins.
But somehow you have listed Notre Dame No. 1. Nebraska is No. 1 in '71.