WATCHING THE POLLS
I commend Walter Bingham on his recent article Going to the Polls, Weakly (Sept. 18). By now, everything that was said about the polls has come to pass.
First, after dropping to seventh in the AP following lackluster wins over "powerhouses" Temple and Rutgers, Penn State defeated a highly ranked Ohio State on television and moved up to No. 3. If Penn State was No. 3, then I have to believe that Temple deserved a place in the Top 20.
But the next week the sportswriters outdid themselves. Alabama, then No. 1, was beaten by USC. This left about six teams ( Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Michigan, Southern Cal and Penn State) with a claim to the No. 1 ranking. Arkansas defeated Oklahoma State by 12. Texas defeated Wyoming by 14. Michigan defeated Notre Dame by 14. USC defeated Alabama by 10. Penn State defeated SMU by 5. And Oklahoma defeated perennial power Rice by 59. So who got No. 1? Oklahoma! Thanks for a fantastic and very accurate article.
Incidentally, on his television show after the Rice game, Oklahoma Coach Barry Switzer used two of the excuses you cited for running up the score on the Owls.
Fort Smith, Ark.
What has happened to the rule that if you are a major team and you beat No. 1 you become No. 1? After defeating Alabama, USC should have been first. We need a playoff system to determine a true national champion.
In the middle of Walter Bingham's otherwise terrific (not to mention accurate) article on the polls and pollsters, one glaring statement stands out. He said that Arkansas, No. 3 at the end of last season, had not made the AP or UPI preseason Top 20. This is true, but SI cannot claim to be more accurate—we didn't make your 1977 preseason Top 20 either!
Now, now, SI! I thought you knew more about Alabama football than you showed in your Oct. 2 article on the Alabama-USC game (It Was Sum Game!). The touchdown pass from Jeff Rutledge was caught by No. 87, freshman Tight End Bart Krout, not No. 77, All-America Linebacker Barry Krauss.
You might want to keep an eye on Krout. He reminds one a lot of Dave Casper, the former Notre Dame great who is now catching passes from former 'Bama great Ken Stabler.
BILLY R. GAUSE
I thoroughly enjoyed your article on Michigan's victory over Notre Dame (A Day Without Legendry, Oct. 2), but I disagree with your comment that " Michigan was not in awe of tradition." Certainly Michigan was in awe of tradition—the tradition of Fielding Yost and Fritz Crisler and Tom Harmon! There is also the Michigan tradition of beating Notre Dame (10 out of 12) and the tradition of "Hail to the Victors!" Who did you think Notre Dame was playing, Ruckle-Buck U?
NC STATE'S BROWN
After reading your half-sentence coverage of the Wolfpack-Mountaineer game, " North Carolina State downed independent West Virginia 29-15" (FOOTBALL'S WEEK, Oct. 2), we were furious to find that not one word was said about NC State Running Back Ted Brown's outstanding performance. Brown gained 158 yards rushing, 56 yards receiving and passed for 41 yards. Certainly 255 yards total offense merits some coverage. SI seems to have lost track of Ted's remarkable string of nine straight 100-yards-plus rushing games, including 251 yards against a historically stingy Penn State defense in 1977.