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Sports letters

January 13, 2008
The Altoona Mirror
Unless New England is knocked off in this year’s playoffs, don’t look for them to lose for quite sometime — like 2009 or some 40 games down the road.

The NFL just came out with the 2008 regular season, and to no surprise Pittsburgh and Indy have the toughest schedule, based on wins compiled by their upcoming 2008 opponents from their 2007 seasons.

The Steelers will face 16 teams in ’08 that combined for 153 out of a possible 256 wins or a 59.8 winning percentage. The Colts were a close second at 152 or a 59.4 winning percentage. In fact, one might consider Indy’s schedule even more challenging due to the fact that all eight road opponents had 8-8 or winning records computing to a 63.3 percent win ratio.

Naturally, this is expected when making the playoffs the previous year as mandated by the NFL’s new “parity” scheduling where top-ranked teams continue to play the same and weaker or non-playoff teams do likewise.

So one would assume a team finishing undefeated (16-0) such as New England would see stiffer competition in 2008 too. Not!

Somehow, the NFL schedule makers find themselves assigning the Pats the worst or easiest schedule in 2008, made up of teams with a combined 38.7 winning percentage based on their opponents’ wins and losses from 2007.

The Pats’ opponents in ’08 combined for only 99 wins in 2007 and had an overall record of 99-157 last year. That’s nearly 60 games below .500 and by far the weakest schedule for next year. Of their 16 opponents, only four teams — Pittsburgh, Indy, Chargers and Seattle — had winning records this past season.

So unless someone springs an upset before Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 3), we could be looking at a Patriots team going 38-0, back-to-back Super Bowls, and well into 2009 before picking up a blemish.

So much for NFL parity.

Stan Risser


Turned off by NFL Network

The scheming, rich pigs are at it again. As most know, the NFL Network is pulling in unnecessary revenue with its programming by charging a ridiculous amount of money for its channel. It now seems, however, that Comcast is getting in on this.

Included in my Comcast Digital Cable programming for the past two years was the NFL Network. This past season, I went to watch the Redskins-Bears game only to discover that I no longer had the NFL Network.

I called Comcast for an explanation and found out that the NFL Network was moved to the sports package which, they informed me, could be bought for an additional four dollars a month.

What an appropriate time to do such a selfish act.

The Thursday and Saturday night games had just begun on the network and also the Steelers-Rams game as well as the Patriots’ regular season finale were on this channel.

I don’t know about everybody else, but I don’t have an additional $48 a year to throw around just to watch a handful of games a year. I thought Comcast was better than that.

Derek R. Himes


Predicting Pryor to Michigan

When the dust clears on completion of recruiting, bet on Terrelle Pryor landing at Michigan with Florida his second choice. Penn State has no chance as long as Jay Paterno is there and since the Nits are not interested in the spread offense or spread-option offense.

Voice of the Fan contributor Barry Rex from Poquoson,Va. hit it on the nail head last week when he predicted Penn State football recruiting would falter. When there is no succession plan for Paterno’s retirement and no extension of his contract, a blue-chip player would be nuts to verbal to the blue and white.

Neil Rudel and Cory Giger should say what they want.

It takes guts to draw criticism from people who don’t know what they are talking about, but it excites the readers to open that sports section.

Les Hart


Big Ten costing Penn State

I totally agree with the headline of last Sunday’s sports mailbag, ‘‘PSU belongs in Big East’’ and the letter that prompted it.

I have always felt that Penn State never should have joined the Big Ten and continue to believe it was a major mistake to this day. The Big Ten is a midwest conference; Penn State is an eastern school.

It just doesn’t make regional or geographic sense. Just to note: Penn State did not seek membership in the Big Ten, but rather was extended an invitation by that conference in December of 1989. It was a time when the economic landscape of college sports was changing, and Penn State saw this as an opportunity for increased financial security.

There is little doubt that had no such invitation been extended, Penn State would be a member of the Big East today.

As letter writer Craig Diehl stated, money is the bottom line. The primary financial goals of any business, organization or university are to maximize revenue and minimize costs.

Therefore, considering the ever-increasing price of energy (oil, gas, jet fuel), how much longer can Penn State justify the additional costs of transporting members of its 29 intercollegiate sports teams to the likes Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and other states in the middle of this country when it is located in the heart of the Big East region?

George Paleau


Doe shortage continues

Anyone who has hunted this year in Blair County this year probably did not see many deer if any at all.

Most hunters across the state by now must be aware of the fact we’re losing our deer.

We can thank Gary Alt and the Game Commission for this fiasco. I find it hard to believe that anyone with any common sense would instigate two weeks of doe season, especially with the amount of hunters in this state, and the sorry condition of the deer herd in our state.

I have been hunting for over 50 years, and 1 have never seen it so bad. By the way, what is wrong with shooting smaller-racked bucks?

At least there were bucks to shoot. I would just as soon shoot a four- or five-point every year than an eight-point every 10 years. Are you getting the picture?

When you have 20 hunters pushing deer two days in a row, and you only get two deer something is terribly wrong. Pennsylvania is not only losing its deer, it is losing its hunters. Also there is too much posted ground in this state, and that doesn’t help the situation.

We must stop the two weeks of doe hunting in order to start rebuilding our deer herd.

By the way, there are too many bear hunters today. If they continue to hunt bear the way they are, they will destroy our bear population like they did our deer herd.

Tony Parrish


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