Alabama was the No. 1 college team in the country in the Associated Press poll of 68 sportswriters and broadcasters, all of whom voted. USC was No. 1 in the United Press International poll of 42 coaches, but seven of those coaches, for one reason or another, did not vote.
Disgruntled Alabama fans contended that had those seven (The Dirty Half-Dozen Plus One, as they are known in Tuscaloosa) voted. 'Bama would have been a double winner. So David Lamm of the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville tracked down the missing seven and got their votes.
Result: USC still No. 1, but by only two points, a smaller margin than the original five points and the narrowest in the history of the UPI poll. For the record, four voters picked Alabama as No. 1, two chose Oklahoma and one selected USC.
Lincoln Cathedral, built on an English hilltop nine centuries ago at the behest of William the Conqueror, costs $200,000 a year to maintain these days. Until recently, the dean of the cathedral, The Very Reverend The Honorable Oliver Twistleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, depended on the generosity of interested individuals for the necessary funds. Now, however, on the theory that "it's better to earn funds than to beg," Reverend Twistleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, a motorcycle fancier, has plunged his cathedral into the business of sports promotion. A 12-member committee has been formed to plan a national motorcycle race meeting for the spring in Cadwell Park near Lincoln. Further, the committee will sponsor a local rider named Jack Machin and will buy him a $7,000 Italian Morbidelli cycle to ride in the British national championship series.
Said the dean of his project, "It is one thing for a churchman to go around just looking interested in what is going on. It is another thing to go in there and do it yourself."
The staggering World Hockey Association, currently down to six teams, has voted to qualify five teams for its playoffs, but because five is an inconvenient number for a playoff, the No. 5 team will first play No. 4 in a best-two-out-of-three series to see who really plays off.
In a spasm of common sense, the Edmonton Oilers have notified the league that if they finish No. 5 they will decline the honor. No. 6 presumably will fold its tent, or its franchise, and quietly steal away.