Your first issue of 1984 couldn't have been better, especially the superb article on the Orange Bowl game by John Underwood (No Team Was Ever Higher, Jan. 9). As one of the Miami Hurricane fans who attended the game, I can only agree with Underwood's assessment of both teams. Nebraska coach Tom Osborne and the Huskers showed class by going for a two-point conversion at the end, and they deserve a lot of credit. However, your selection of Miami as No. 1 is accurate, despite any outcry from Auburn followers. True football fans know Miami deserves the ranking.
My only quarrel with the issue concerns the cover billing, "Miracle in Miami." Those of us who are familiar with Hurricane coach Howard Schnellenberger and freshman quarterback Bernie Kosar know that such feats are always possible. In fact, let this be the first nomination for your 1984 Sportsman of the Year—Schnellenberger!
ERIC P. LITTMAN
The Miami Hurricanes No. 1? I'm not a Nebraska fan, but consider this: Miami was playing the biggest game in its history, before a fanatical home crowd, on national television, and still came within a missed two-point conversion of losing.
If the situation were reversed, does anyone believe the Hurricanes could go out to Lincoln and beat the Cornhuskers 31-30? Of course not. I'm not sure who's No. 1, but it certainly isn't Miami.
Your Jan. 9 issue was the last straw. Not one word in the entire issue about the Sugar, Cotton (O.K., half a sentence), Rose or Fiesta bowls! And then, to add insult to injury, you went along with the major wire service polls and named Miami your national champion, followed by Nebraska, Auburn, Georgia, Texas, etc.
Let me get this straight. No. 1 Nebraska loses, as does No. 2 Texas. Meanwhile, No. 3 Auburn wins. Auburn is the 1983 national champ, right? Not according to SI. Auburn doesn't budge an inch in your rankings.
Auburn is the real champion, and the Tigers earned the title on the field by playing what everyone conceded to be the toughest schedule in the country. Auburn played nine bowl teams and beat eight of them. I challenge Miami and Nebraska to compare their schedules to Auburn's. On second thought, I guess the Hurricanes wouldn't care to. They got what they wanted, a national championship, despite having lost to the Florida Gators 28-3 (surely the worst defeat ever suffered by a national champion). Auburn beat that same Florida team 28-21.
JOSEPH R. FRASHER
Being a Georgia fan, I was expecting an article about the Cotton Bowl written in the great SI fashion. But no story! Just a brief mention in John Underwood's account of the Orange Bowl game. That doesn't cut it. If it weren't for the Bulldogs' 10-9 victory over Texas, there would be a different national champion. You've offended a lot of subscribers by ignoring the four other bowl games. Is there an explanation?
You people are unbelievable! Texas and Georgia play their hearts out in the Cotton Bowl, Ohio State and Pitt play the second-best game of the day in the Fiesta Bowl, UCLA totally dominates Big Ten champion Illinois in the Rose Bowl, and what docs the great sports magazine write about? Argentina parrots! Sheeesh!
?Under SI's usual weekly publishing deadline, the color slides from which our illustrations are made must be sent out no later than Sunday night, and all text must be closed by late Monday afternoon. Several satellite transmissions and numerous air shipments later, the presses at our seven plants throughout the country start printing the 2.7 million copies of the magazine at approximately 4 a.m. Tuesday and run continuously for 24 hours. With the major bowl games scheduled for the afternoon and night of Monday. Jan. 2. SI's editors arranged to extend the deadline by almost 24 hours. But because of that extension, bowl coverage was limited to six pages; the press schedules of other Time Inc. publications precluded printing additional pages without further delays. As events unfolded, it became clear to the editors that all six pages should be devoted to the Orange Bowl game between Miami and Nebraska, the story of greatest national interest. In the end, the Jan. 9 issue went to press almost 24 hours later than usual, and SI subscribers received their magazines at least one day later than they normally do.—ED.