Your cover and story on the University of Maryland football program was fantastic (Rising High on the Hit Parade, Oct. 4). We finally made it! Write on.
PAUL (BEAR) LIVESAY
Chevy Chase, Md.
As a Missouri fan, I was hoping to see on your cover a terrific photo of Mizzou Quarterback Pete Woods scoring the deciding points as the Tigers beat Ohio State. It is hard to believe that you passed over this great individual effort and showed us instead the quarterback of a team whose "strength to a considerable degree lies in the weakness of its opponents."
Your emphasis on Maryland's weak schedule is disturbing. For years, powers like Ohio State and Alabama have fattened their national rankings on powder-puff schedules, only to lose bowl games to stronger opposition. Both have already lost this year. If you are going to criticize the schedule of Maryland, at least be fair about it in terms of the national scene.
New York City
ROOTING FOR THE REDS
It looks as though the teams in this Bicentennial World Series might be the same as those that competed in the "series" of 1776—the Reds and the Yankees. Except that this time the Yanks don't need Paul Revere to tell them that the Big Red Machine is on its way. The only problem is that now the Reds wear sunglasses and Martin's Minute-men won't see the whites of their eyes until it is too late.
Notre Dame, Ind.
SIZING UP ALI
Muhammad Ali's recent fights against Jimmy Young and Ken Norton should do much to answer the question of what is happening to the sport of boxing. Many fight fans hold to the belief that the only way a champion can lose his title is to be so soundly beaten in the ring that he must be carried out. If a person subscribes to such a theory, then he can hardly expect any other consequences than the farces Ali has perpetrated against Young and Norton.
If Ali knows that he must be knocked out, or at least knocked down several times, in order to lose a decision, then he can continue to do what he did against Young—merely go on the defensive for 15 rounds and not give the challenger an opportunity to hit him. Had Ali not been the champion when he fought Young, the judges would certainly have given the decision to Young. But, because he was the champion, Ali "won" the fight. That boils down to giving the Steelers a touchdown edge in the next Super Bowl, or giving the Reds a two-run lead in all the games of this year's World Series.
For a sport to flourish, the people who buy tickets to watch it should not be able to predict the outcome of a match so certainly. The present college football season is a good example. The outbreak of upsets has done much to increase interest in the sport.
Mark Kram was as far off in his prefight prediction (he picked Ali within seven rounds—All Set to Slam in the Rubber Match, Sept. 27) as were the judges who scored the fight an Ali victory. I do, however, give Kram credit for having the courage to come right out, not hedge, and make a bold prediction; and, rather than blast Kram, what I'm really out to blast is the decision. Norton won the fight. He knows it, Ali knows it, and even Ali's fans greeted the announcement of the final decision with surprise and less than wholehearted applause.
Obviously, the boxing Establishment felt there just had to be an Ali victory so Ali could fight George Foreman and ensure another multimillion-dollar gate for boxing. Never again will I pay to see an Ali fight on closed-circuit TV. As if the prices aren't bad enough (anywhere from $15 to $25), you run the risk, if the fight goes the distance, of a rip-off on the decision because of the economics and politics of the sport.
I saw the fight and there's no doubt about it. Ken Norton was robbed!