NOTRE DAME'S NUMBER
Number 1 by Just the Number 1 (Jan. 7) was the truth in a nutshell. No team deserved the title more than Notre Dame. From Knute Rockne to Ara Parseghian, the world had been captivated by ND's charisma on the field and off. Now how could Bear Bryant think he could beat that?
Gee, until I read John Underwood's article on the Notre Dame-Alabama game, I didn't realize that the Irish had such a clod masquerading as quarterback. I had always thought that Tom Clements (whose won-lost record as ND's regular quarterback the past two years was 19-3, including 11-0 this year) was a pretty slick runner, passer, ball handler and leader. Apparently, many of his teammates thought so, too. They elected Tom offensive captain for the 1974 season. Pity, too, that Mr. Underwood found this game—which will always be regarded as a football classic—to be neither "artful" nor "pretty." What did he expect, Swan Lake?
DAVID A. WORTHMAN
South Bend, Ind.
I was appalled to note your implication that God, the "you know Who" in John Underwood's article, could be a factor in Notre Dame's biggest victory. The fact that there were a couple of signs in our living room stating "Beat the Poor Ol' Alabama WASPs" and "Notre Dame—Win the Religion Bowl" doesn't mean a thing. And just because I had, on the TV set, a framed picture of Ara with a Christmas candle burning in front of it, individual pictures (framed) of Rockne and Layden, a locket with my mother-in-law's rosary enclosed, a Maryknoll Fathers Missal and a picture of another great Irisher, John F. Kennedy, doesn't necessarily indicate that I thought The Real Number One could truly help Notre Dame. But I admit there was a lot of weight on that TV set favoring ND.
Congratulations to Bear Bryant and his players. Now let's get on with having Ara Parseghian canonized.
JOHN S. MOULDER
South Bend, Ind.
I would like to congratulate John Underwood on his interesting and much-needed article Everyone Likes To Be Bowled Over (Dec. 24). With all the talk of college playoffs, it is good to hear from someone who believes in upholding the tradition of the bowl games. I, too, believe there is some way to match the top teams against each other, and the first step would be to open up the Rose Bowl to other teams. The second step is to let teams other than-the champions from the Pacific Eight and Big Ten participate in bowl games. Mr. Underwood also has the right idea in that bowl invitations should not go out until the end of the season. This would make for better match-ups between better teams. I think the NCAA should take action on this plan and do it before it is too late.
Pike Road, Ala.
John Underwood's perceptive preview of the college bowl games suggested that they probably don't provide the format for the emergence of an undisputed national champion. After watching the games, I couldn't agree with him more. In seeing Notre Dame struggle with USC at home and Ohio State clobber the Trojans on the road, one certainly has to believe that two of the top three teams, namely, Michigan and Oklahoma, watched the festivities on TV.
The answer, of course, is playoffs a la pro football. Finish conference play by the ninth week of the season, then send a flight of 16 teams into the last three weeks to play through the semifinals. Hold the finals in the New Year's bowls—rotate the championship game yearly among the big four bowls with the non-championship games being selected pairings of the consensus Nos. 3 through 8 teams. Fans would drool over such matches as Michigan-Alabama, Ohio State-Texas, USC-Penn State, even if they weren't for the national championship. The "lesser bowls" would provide exposure for second-flight teams that may have been underrated by pre-playoff polls.
By the way, it was a super Sugar Bowl game—between the fourth-and fifth-best teams in college football.
Ann Arbor, Mich.
Now that the college football season is over, I feel I must stick up for Woody Hayes and Ohio State as the No. 1 coach and team. Only one team played this year's top three of Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Ohio State, and that was Southern California. The results? Oklahoma tied USC 7-7 at Los Angeles; Notre Dame beat USC 23-14 at South Bend; and Ohio State defeated USC 42-21 in the Rose Bowl. Further proof of Ohio State's superiority over Notre Dame was shown in their respective Michigan State games. Notre Dame barely escaped 14-10, while Ohio State routed the Spartans 35-0.
WISE TO THE OWLS
I was encouraged to see the article Hounding the Cats for the Owls (Jan. 7). Somehow, Temple teams always seem to be passed over lightly, although the basketball squad is generally a strong one and the football team has taken great strides over the last four years. Perhaps now others will recognize the Owls.
Pearl River, N.Y.