Undoubtedly you will receive numerous letters from disgruntled Nebraska fans because, so far, you have failed to place them among your top three college football teams in the Midwest. They will be especially miffed because UCLA, a team the Huskers rather handily embarrassed, has been rated third in the West.
There will be a few writers who will be gracious enough to admit that perhaps Michigan and Ohio State have teams as good as the Huskers or better. However, your putting Notre Dame, a team that had yet to play a game, ahead of Nebraska will be just too much for them to comprehend. The fact that Nebraska completely annihilated the Irish in the last Orange Bowl will not help.
However, there are a few Cornhusker breast-beaters who are laughing and giggling and very pleased by your nonsensical snub. That is because we know why Texas got beat by Miami and mysterious fumbles. We know how powerful your selections and especially your cover are. Without a doubt the SI cover is the greatest jinx since Jonah. So on behalf of all of the knowledgeable Big Red rooters, I can only say thank you, SI. Thank you!
H. T. LEWIS
I am tired of seeing the National League East Division referred to as mediocre, as in the "Subtraction Division" or the "National League Least." I suggest another adjective: balanced. As a whole, the NL East has a winning percentage of .484. The American League West shows only .488, but I don't hear anyone screaming about how poor that division is. My vote for excitement goes to the NL East with its extraordinary balance, not mediocrity.
State College, Pa.
THE LIONS' ROAR
Thank you for the article on Penn State and its fine head coach, Joe Paterno (State Proves East Is Not Least, Sept. 24). It certainly beats the seven words you wrote about the Nittany Lions when they defeated Texas in the Cotton Bowl two years ago.
You did a fine job of previewing the 1973 college football season (Sept. 10), and it was especially gratifying to see the small-college teams get equal billing with the majors. You failed, however, to mention one of the most important recent additions to the game on either the major-or small-college level. The NCAA has instituted a playoff system for the top College Division teams. No longer will controversy rage as to who truly has the No. 1 squad. That will be determined (for Division I teams) on Dec. 15 in Sacramento, Calif. when the two best square off to decide a winner with blocks and tackles instead of statistics and press releases.
University of Delaware fans would like to think that this innovation came about because of a courageous stand taken by last year's "tallest of the smalls." The Blue Hens risked their No. I ranking in the polls and decided not to go to the NCAA's Eastern championship, the Boardwalk Bowl. Delaware had won this bowl four years running, but it had not been able to play other top-rated teams, such as last year's No. 2 team, Louisiana Tech. So as a form of protest the Hens did not go to Atlantic City.
Surely these playoff games are a test balloon sent up by the NCAA. If they are successful on the College Division level, the logical extension would be to introduce them on the major-college level.
CHARLES T. RAU
Lake Hiawatha, N.J.
?The NCAA says Delaware's refusal to play in last year's Boardwalk Bowl had nothing to do with the establishment of its new playoff system for College Division teams. Nonetheless the Blue Hens—if they can make it to the playoff final—now will have the chance to prove they are the best.—ED.