Viewpoint / Letters : It's Unfair to Compare These Bruins to UCLA Powerhouses of Past

As alumni of UCLA and basketball season ticket-holders, we are appalled by your so-called unbiased reporting of UCLA basketball games.

After the Oregon game, we were amazed to find out that your staff writer apparently watched a different game than the one we did. We do realize that this team is not as talented as other UCLA teams, and for some reason plays flat at times. However , after overcoming an 18-point deficit, we expected to read something about UCLA's character in being able to come back. Instead, all we read was a sarcastic story about the ineptitude of both teams.

We don't think the L.A. Times should be a UCLA supporter, as such, but the team is improving. Although they will never be mistaken for the Walton Gang, the positive side of their play should also be pointed out.

ELISE and DAVID COOPER Los Angeles Enough with your snide sarcasm directed at the Bruins. Your sports critics (and, boy, are they critical) have shirked the first responsibility of criticism: to judge something, e.g. a team, for what it purports to be, not something else.

We already know this team is not Lew, Lucius, Michael, et. al., so when it loses, you don't have to notify us with sniggering comparison to yesteryear. Given half a chance, these kids will do better. They're trying hard (maybe too hard) and look who they've played: DePaul, Memphis State, St. John's, Oregon State. Don't forget that J.D. Morgan perennially used to schedule homecourt tuneups with the likes of Portland State, UC Santa Barbara, The Citadel, etc.

Give us a break--get off the back of the current edition. Tell us what they do, and quit genuflecting toward what former hall of famers might have done.

JOHN A. DITO Los Angeles The decline and fall of the Bruin empire distresses UCLA basketball fans, but there is a brighter side. Recruiting should prosper as prep stars can be assured of generous playing time and TV exposure during their UCLA careers. On a loftier level, they have an opportunity to help revive a proud tradition while attending a great university. The recruits I have in mind can read without moving their lips and will value a good education.

BILL LODGE Reseda I understand that Coach Walt Hazzard wants to schedule Chico State, UC San Diego and, of course, Dordt College, next season. Well, it sounds as if he will imitate John Wooden's record after all--that of scheduling mediocre teams in order to pad the record at the beginning of the season. Unfortunately, the Pac-8 no longer exists, and UCLA faces tough competition in its conference. Therefore, my hat is off to those in the Larry Farmer era for having the guts to schedule games against real competition.

MANUEL C. LOPEZ Whittier He Caught Marino's First Pass--in 1963 On Christmas Day in 1963, my wife, Irene, and I were invited to visit a friend in Pittsburgh and to spend the day with her and her family.

Our friend, Julia, invited her son, Dan, his wife and their 3-year-old son to the party. Dan presented his son with his first football. I asked the boy to throw me the ball, which he did. As he threw the ball, he fell down on his derriere and we all laughed.

That little boy turned out to be Dan Marino, the record-breaking quarterback of the Miami Dolphins. He will be playing in the Super Bowl in his second year as a professional. I'm so proud of him I could cry--and I caught his first forward pass.

LOU STARR West Hollywood I'm glad that the two best and most exciting teams have made it to the Super Bowl. It's going to be a spectacular game. It should also be a lesson to the teams that used a one-dimensional attack to advance in the playoffs. (Are you listening, Coach Robinson?) If you can't out-hit your opponents with equal or superior talent, you have to outthink them. Unless the Rams add more balance and imagination to their game plans, their Super Bowl dreams will never get off the ground.

TIM GEDDES Huntington Beach Fan's Rudeness Left Bad Taste in His Mouth We are football fans who seldom go to a game. That all changes when my Trojans play my wife's Buckeyes. The suspense of the hard-fought game, the pageantry of the band performances and the kick that we in the crowd got from making waves all combined to create a memorable experience on New Year's Day.

What we could not understand is why those of you who frequent the stadiums put up with the endless milling of people on their repeated trips to the snack bar. Is their stamina so low or their juvenile addiction to burgers, beer and soda so high that they can't make it through the first half?

To one returning from her second trip, I said in exasperation, "Lady, some of us have paid a dollar a minute to watch this game, and that's exactly what I'm going to do. There are only eight seconds left in the half. You sit right down there on the steps until it's over."

Not waiting, she clambered across the row behind us and shot back, "You're rude!"

A pair of lonely Ohioans nearby cheered me on. With airfare and all, their investment in the game was $10 a minute.

M.M. MERCER Lancaster Here's One Vote for a College Super Bowl The New Year's Day bowl games and pageantry are here to stay, so why not construct a playoff system around them? The Rose Bowl affiliation with the Pac-10 and Big Ten, the Orange Bowl with the Big Eight, the Sugar Bowl with the Southeastern Conference and the Cotton Bowl with the Southwest Conference would remain undisturbed.

The guest slots in the latter three bowls would be filled by a preliminary playoff the second or third week of December, involving six other top teams. This year, for example, the lineup might have been Washington vs. BYU, Nebraska vs. South Carolina and Boston College vs. Maryland, the ACC champion.

In all probability, the actual bowl lineups would have remained the same. Thus the bowl winners--say, USC vs. Boston College and Washington vs. Nebraska--would meet on Jan. 12, followed by the College Super Bowl on Jan. 19.

Since these dates fall on the opening two weeks of the quarter or semester calendar now followed by most schools, studies would be disrupted less than they currently are by the basketball and small college playoffs. The financial payoffs from the bowls would not be hurt in the least. On the contrary, total receipts to the schools and conferences would double or triple.

ROBERT CONOT Thousand Oaks Letters should be addressed to Sports Viewpoint, Sports Department, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, 90053. They should be kept as brief as possible and are subject to condensation. They must include a signature and a valid mailing address.

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