Kudos to SI for another insightful College Football Preview (Aug. 16). Although I agree that a loaded Oklahoma team warrants a No. 2 preseason ranking, I take issue with your statement that the " Sooners should breeze through September and be 4--0." An intriguing bump in the road presents itself on Sept. 18, when the Oregon Ducks--No. 18 in your preseason rankings--visit Norman. The Ducks were a late addition to Oklahoma's schedule, designed to boost OU's strength of schedule. Although that variable has been removed from the BCS formula, Kellen Clemens and the Quack Attack may just throw a monkey wrench into the Sooners' best-laid plans for 2004.
Chris Stiles, Bloomington, Ill.
Eight months ago the Mid-American Conference closed the book on the most successful season in its 57year history with a pair of bowl wins and two teams in the top 25 of the final AP poll, but none of that seems to matter to SI. I was appalled that only two MAC teams made even your top 69 and that the conference that you touted so highly last year (A Big MAC Attack, Sept. 29; Unknown, Undefeated, Oct. 13) received such little respect from your prognosticators.
Matt LaWell, Athens, Ohio
USC ranked No. 1? USC does not play anyone that is ranked in SI's top 20. LSU, on the other hand, plays two teams ranked in the top 10 and one team ranked No. 13. Step up to the plate USC. Strength of schedule does matter.
I realize that most people's interest lies with the 117 Division I-A football schools, many of whose players are enrolled primarily to prepare for the NFL. However, to completely overlook the more than 400 schools who compete in Divisions I-AA, II and III seems like a slap in the face to those student-athletes. (Yes, most of them are students first.)
Gary Ciba, Phoenix