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Putting a New Slant on UCLA's Ranking

October 31, 1998

College football has really gone to the dogs. To rank UCLA No. 1 based primarily on "strength of schedule" is ridiculous. Yes, UCLA's opponent's may have a higher winning percentage than Tennessee's, but shouldn't you consider their opponents' strength of schedule? Tennessee has beaten three teams previously ranked in the top 10, and those teams are still currently ranked in the top 20. And what more should Ohio State do that it hasn't done, or Kansas State, or UCLA for that matter?

The point is this. College football was fine just the way it was, when fools like me could sit around and argue all day, but tradition was what really mattered. Today it's more of a mess than ever, Jan. 1 means nothing anymore, and there is no such thing as a Rose Bowl race. At this point, let the players in on the gravy train.

DOUGLAS LITTLETON, Dana Point

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I was so jazzed when I saw the results of the computerized championship bowl results last night. And terribly disappointed by the underlying tone of the articles by Chris Dufresne and Scott Howard-Cooper in this morning's paper. Are they East Coast transplants too? I would have thought that, UCLA being the team in L.A. at this moment, we could at least have celebrated for a day or two before the second-guessing and snide remarks creep into print.

CAROL MARSHALL, Orange

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As usual, The Times is slanting its football coverage--every situation is presented in the most favorable light for USC and in the most negative light for UCLA.

USC is a mediocre 5-3 against a weak schedule, yet Robyn Norwood blithely reports that not only are the Trojans firmly convinced they should be 7-1, they are certain that they will finish 9-3 and have a shot at the Rose Bowl.

Meanwhile, UCLA is 6-0 against the toughest schedule in the nation, yet Chris Dufresne mocks UCLA's No. 1 ranking in the BCS poll.

MICHAEL BARTLETT, Los Angeles

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Can anyone explain to me the continual spotlighting of former power Notre Dame as a potential Rose Bowl choice over an undefeated No. 9 Wisconsin team? Assuming Wisconsin gets past Michigan and Penn State for an 11-0 record or even finishes 10-1, tradition (remember that?), common sense, and even the all-important economic factor dictate "On, Wisconsin" in Pasadena.

SCOTT TOWLE, Palos Verdes Estates

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