Later, Vanderbrook was asked if it had been a difficult decision, rejecting the $500 offer for the ball.
"Sort of," he admitted, "but I really wanted the coach to have it. If it had been an LSU game and we had won and I had caught the ball, I'd have wanted to give ii lo Charlie McClendon. It means a lot more to the coach than it would to me."
Notre Dame won college football's national championship for Parseghian with that narrow victory over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and, later, over Ohio State in the final Associated Press poll. But the Notre Dame coach believes the way it came about is all wrong.
Parseghian advocates a championship playoff of the top college teams at the various bowl sites, with priority given to the four major bowls. More than that, however, Parseghian says this old idea should be fully examined and acted upon once and for all. "Every year the same thing happens," he says. "People start talking about a playoff and how difficult it is to reach a significant pairing in a bowl game. This year the Sugar Bowl had the opportunity, but a lot of things had to fall into place before it happened.
"What the NCAA or somebody should do is hire a man to promote the idea among the college administrators, coaches and bowl officials and find out exactly where they stand on playoffs. Air this thing out completely. Let all the proposals and objections be heard. Finally, one of three conclusions could be reached. Playoffs can be held, or they can't be held, or there's enough interest to work out an acceptable format. It might take a year or two to do it but I think it would be worthwhile."
Parseghian believes national titles won in playoffs are more significant than those awarded by voters. This is not to say, however, that he believes Notre Dame's current championship status is even slightly tarnished. "We were able to win ours on the field," he says, "where it counts."
Some people like to bet on horses. Some people like to bet on the economy. Some people go for both. Calder Race Course in Florida, in an effort to be all things to all gamblers, has installed a machine in its Turf Club that gives horse players quick information on how General Motors is doing while they are watching the tote board to see how their colts or fillies did. Too bad telephones are barred at racetracks. Otherwise losers could recoup—or get in even deeper—by calling their brokers.
The most famous, or at any rate the most historic, running track in the U.S. is the one in the Coliseum in Los Angeles, where the Olympic Games were held in 1932 and myriad famous races have been run since. Now reports say that Carroll Rosenbloom, owner of the Los Angeles Rams, has asked authorities for permission to remove the track and drop the level of the field several feet so that more seats can be constructed closer to the action. It seems a shame but an official pointed out that the popular Rams, particularly now that they are winning again, draw huge crowds to the Coliseum Sunday after Sunday, whereas track meets, for the most part, draw sparsely.