PICKS AND POKES
I enjoyed your two articles previewing the Super Bowl (Doing It by the Numbers and You Can't Program the Human Element, Jan. 14) and must congratulate you on your fine picture portfolio. But for the second time in a row (last year it was Washington by 10) Tex Maule has chosen the wrong team. You would think that he would have learned by watching the Miami Dolphins that they are the superior team. I have nothing against his articles, but it seems only obvious that Miami is the best team to come along in a long, long while (the Dolphins are better than the Packers).
Fair Oaks, Calif.
The Miami Dolphins have now appeared in three consecutive Super Bowls. Tex Maule has predictably chosen their opposition all three times. When Dallas beat Miami in the Dolphins' first attempt, it only proved that a prejudiced sportswriter can occasionally get lucky. But after Miami's second convincing win in a row, Mr. Maule is batting only a lousy 33% in his futile attempt to discredit the Dolphins. Please inform Mr. Maule that should he ever contemplate retirement in Florida, he had better bring along a flak jacket, a large miner's helmet and a willingness to run.
JOHN M. CHISM
I found Tex Maule's Super Bowl prediction of the Minnesota Vikings by four quite interesting. This was another in a long series of predictions based on the famous Tex Maule System, which seems to be founded on two unchanging principles: 1) pick the Dallas Cowboys; 2) when that is not possible, pick the team that beat the Cowboys. Particularly amusing was Tex' disparaging comment on Bud Goode's computer-based prediction of Miami by nine: "Computers are only as good as the information fed them—horse manure in, horse manure out." That is true, but allow me to point out that a similar dictum holds for Mr. Maule.
CARLTON M. CAVES
Thank you for Tex ( NFL over AFL) Maule. I always wait to see his pick in the Super Bowl so I can pick the opposite team and clean up.
Who is John Underwood (With Contempt for Caution, Jan. 14)? How many times did he see Penn State play football in 1973 to be able to say, "The only people who would argue that the unbeaten Nittany Lions are in a class with Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma or Alabama live in Pennsylvania"? As for Penn State's supposedly weak schedule, who else is 12 and 0? Look at the record of all of the opponents of the teams listed. Class? In four attempts Ohio State has never defeated Penn State. Until the NCAA establishes a major-college playoff to determine the national champion, no one will ever silence people like John Underwood—or people like me.
H. ROEBLING KNOCH, M.D.
With the wave of a pen you have dismissed yet another Penn State bowl victory. Apparently the Nittany Lions can do nothing right, except win four of their last five bowl games. Meanwhile Bear Bryant of Alabama has gone 0-6-1 in his last seven bowl starts and Ara Parseghian is 2-2 in bowl competition.
When I saw the alleged national championship game ( Alabama vs. Notre Dame), I was continually reminded that there were still players left on these two teams who in consecutive years lost 38-6 and 40-6 to Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. Yet John Underwood has the audacity to state that Penn State is not in the same league with either of them.
Poor Joe Paterno. He has the Brobdingnagian task of either going winless in his next seven bowl appearances or deliberately settling for a tie before he, too, can become a legend. Perhaps Paterno can also give his future Penn State teams ballet lessons, since being "lovely to look at" is evidently more important than winning in your Alice in Wonderland world.
New York City
You must have something against us here in Nebraska. Your article on the New Year's bowl games was fine, but why neglect the Cotton Bowl? Mr. Underwood wrote all of 62 words about the Nebraska-Texas game.
The Cotton Bowl was exciting, to say the least. Even as a Cornhusker fanatic, I can say that Texas' goal-line stand was one of the best moments of the day, and you didn't even mention it. Nor did you mention Steve Runty's second-half heroics, which won the game for the Cornhuskers.