In Douglas S. Looney's article (Staking a Claim to Best Ever, Oct. 10), he describes the 1983 Nebraska Cornhuskers as the greatest college football team of all time and suggests that "numbers offer some help" in making his case. Indeed, they do. Nebraska has out-scored its first five opponents 289-56, but many of those points have been scored against battered and vastly inferior defenses. As for Coach Osborne's weak apology regarding the late-game scoring, few residents of Minnesota would agree that Nebraska showed good sportsmanship by scoring 84 points, most of which came long after the outcome was no longer in doubt.
I do not wish to disparage Nebraska football. I do wish that judgment not be rendered until Nebraska has been tested by a top opponent. Should Nebraska defeat Oklahoma 63-7, then I, too, will join Mr. Looney in his opinion.
Let's remove the halo from Nebraska Coach Tom Osborne's head. Be real, Looney. Everyone knows that Nebraska runs up the score on any team it can. Last season, after Oklahoma's Kelly Phelps had a pass intercepted and run back to inside the five-yard line, Osborne was irate with his fans for running onto the field to display their relief. As far as I know, he wasn't angry because this showed little respect for Oklahoma's team. He was angry because the team was charged with a 15-yard penalty, and it couldn't score one more time. Nebraska led 28-24 with 24 seconds to go—Oklahoma had no time-outs left.
GLEN DIACON JR.
In discussing best-ever teams, how could you fail to mention the 1972 USC Trojans? This national championship team had a backfield of Sam Cunningham, Anthony Davis and Mike Rae, and receivers Charles Young, Lynn Swann, Edesel Garrison and J.K. McKay. This team produced no fewer than 20 pro ballplayers, finished 12-0 and destroyed its last three, highly ranked opponents: UCLA, Notre Dame and Ohio State.
Sherman Oaks, Calif.
How could Looney leave out the 1888 Yale team? I'm not an alum, but I know that the Elis, coached by Walter Camp, "The Father of American Football," were a great power that year. They won all 13 matches, and they played against all the powers of the day except Harvard, which forfeited what would have been the 14th game. In the process, Yale scored 698 points to none—more than 53 points a game. And back then, the field was 10 yards longer and a touchdown counted only four points.
So this oldtimer will take the '88 Elis over the "Bugeaters," whose nickname since 1900 has been the Cornhuskers.
Your story (Suddenly, the 'Eyes Have It, Oct. 3) said, "By beating Ohio State 20-14, the Iowa Hawkeyes showed that in the Big Ten, the Big Two has become the Big Three."
This now should be updated to read: "By beating Iowa 33-0 on Oct. 1, the Fighting Illini showed that in the Big Ten, the Big Three has become the Big Four!"
After identifying the lesser-known players on the cover featuring "The Best Rookies of 1968" (Memories Are Made of This, Oct. 3 and 19TH HOLE, Oct. 17), I wanted to learn more about them. I borrowed a friend's address list of former major league players and attempted to telephone the three "unknowns" in the picture. I reached two of them.
Alan Foster and his wife now live in El Cajon, Calif. Foster pitched 10 years in the big leagues with the Dodgers, Indians, Angels, Cardinals and Padres and had a 48-63 record and 3.73 career ERA. A shoulder injury cut short not only Foster's baseball career but also his singing and guitar-playing second career with former major-leaguer Tommy Hutton. Foster did, however, leave a couple of marks on the game. He retired the first batter he faced in the big leagues in '67 on a ground-out to short—not too unusual, but the batter was Hank Aaron. Later that season, while with Spokane in the Pacific Coast League, Foster pitched no-hitters in consecutive appearances against Seattle.