Top 10 Letters
NFL Football, college football, and other important stuff, like democracy.
11:00 PM, Dec 14, 2004
FRED BARNES's article on Auburn Football, Eye of the Tiger, was, as we kids like to say, dead-on-balls accurate. Accurate, that is, until the very last statement. As a Penn State alumnus, I submit to you that the 1994, 12-0 Nittany Lions are the best college football team ever that was not officially recognized as National Champion. That being said, keep up the good work.
FRED BARNES writes that Auburn is the best team ever to not win a National Championship? Please, spare me. Penn State went undefeated five times without a National Championship, including when Nixon awarded it to Texas, which to me was a greater sin than Watergate could ever be. And in 1994, voters handed it to Nebraska because Osbourne had never won it and was close to retirement. As for weak schedules, is The Citadel a real powerhouse? Stick to politics, you are the king of prognostication, but football just makes you look silly.
YES, as Fred Barnes writes, Auburn did beat highly ranked teams; they also played four teams with a combined record of 16-29, and only one of those teams played .500 ball. You can't talk about the weakness of USC's or Oklahoma's schedule when 4 out of the 11 teams Auburn played posted such poor numbers.
TRENT WISECUP's article, The Democrats' Marketing Mistake, reminded me of a hysterically funny line I once read in the Sunday New York Times. It was a review of the Honda Accord Hybrid published on Nov 28, 2004. According to the Times, "[B]uyers of the $30,000 Accord Hybrid can bask in the self-satisfaction of owning an efficient, state-of-the-art hybrid while the neighbors are still waiting for the leases to expire on their Excursions and Escalades."
It apparently never occurred to the gray eminences at the Times that the owners of Excursions and Escalades are the last people on Earth who would wait in line for some ridiculous, cramped, Japanese hybrid-econo-suicide-box.
--Jon R Brenneman
AS A MEDICAL student who grew up in a red state and then spent four years in the Ivy belly of the blue state beast, I can vouch for the condescension and snobbery much of the liberal left exhibits and to which Trent Wisecup refers. That said, I disagree with your logic regarding finances and automobiles.
A Ford F-150 gets 16mpg in the city and 19 mpg on highways. If an owner drives his car 20,000 miles a year, he will consume at least 1052.6 gallons of gasoline. At $1.80 a gallon, he will spend $1894.73 on gas. If he drives a 4 cylinder Chevy Malibu (a comfortable, American sedan), he will get from 26 to 34 mpg, with a maximum expenditure of $1384 and a minimum expenditure of $1058. Therefore, he will save between $510 and $826 on gas. If he drives the much maligned Prius, with its 51 mpg city fuel economy, he will spend a maximum of $705, thus saving at least a thousand dollars. Granted, there is still a price premium for hybrid cars, but at approximately $20,000, they are not outrageously expensive. Unless your red state, truck-owner Wal-Mart dad uses the truck bed regularly (and I know plenty of owners who never use theirs), he should probably drive a more fuel efficient car. This is before we take into account any of the possible externalities associated with gasoline consumption.
I READ with interest Reuben F. Johnson's Trouble in the Ukraine. This issue has the potential to be the biggest event in Eastern Europe since the fall of the Berlin wall. Two very important factors are emerging. First, the Ukrainian people have finally realized that their country is their own. Whatever becomes of this standoff, there is a more widespread belief in Ukrainian independence than any time since the treaty of Pereiaslav in 1654. Second, Vladimir Putin has shown his true colors as both a staunch imperialist and a man so possessed with czarist ambitions that he doesn't realize the earth has moved beneath his feet.
I hope that The Weekly Standard and other publications that promote freedom and democracy will not get bored with Ukraine's progress. It promises to be an interesting tale. In addition, the spotlight of the international media may prevent Russia and the Ukrainian oligarchs from rolling in the tanks to crush the peaceful protestors of the opposition.