In reading Tony Kornheiser's column, "It Came to Pass: Sooners Grounded Out" (Jan. 3), I was struck by another of his emotional articles devoid of competent analysis.

The premise that the Miami Hurricanes deserve to be ranked No. 1 after defeating Oklahoma is unquestioned -- they won in a convincing manner. The rationale that Kornheiser brings to his article is rubbish.

First of all, it has never been a secret that Oklahoma does not have, nor relies upon, a passing attack. Most people understand that the wishbone precludes a viable pro-like passing attack. The issue was not running versus passing, but balance, and how it affected the game.

The comparison with the Nebraska-Florida State game was banal. Nebraska did not lose because it does not have a passing attack or because it was playing catch-up. Nebraska lost because it committed two errors late in the game.

Without that error, the outcome easily could have been a Nebraska victory of 35-24. The newspapers would then have had a convincing argument for Nebraska's dominance of Florida State.

With Oklahoma-Miami, I saw a hard-fought game between two excellent teams. The game was not lopsided.

Consider the following: Miami had a total offense of 288 yards compared with Oklahoma's 277 yards. The Miami quarterback had a total passing attack of 209 yards, which, while good, is certainly not of gigantic proportions. After all, the team with no passing attack had 76.

The game could have gone either way. After the first-half tie, it took a record-setting field goal to break that tie. It was clear at this point that unless Oklahoma got its running attack going it was going to lose, precluding a Miami disaster.

One other point: A lot was made of people like Miami linebacker George Mira Jr. missing the game. But I heard no comments about Oklahoma playing with a second-string quarterback who had started in just two games. I can believe that Jamie Holieway would certainly have made a difference.

One thing is indisputable -- Miami won and deserves to be the national champion. The Hurricanes won because they were the better team that night, not because of a mythical contest of passing versus running.

The story that should have been told was how they accomplished that by dominating the line of scrimmage -- how many yards did Miami get "tackle to tackle?" That's the kind of analysis that I like to read about.

John J. Marciniak Arlington

Split-Second Slower

It's no mystery to me why Moses Malone is getting few free throws. In a game of micro-seconds, his body is a split-second slower than in his great years. With reduced hand speed, he gets the ball stripped a few times a game and, with reduced foot quickness, he looks positively mortal trying to put up shots while off balance.

The main question now is whether Malone will have the maturity that John Havlicek showed when he realized he no longer had an NBA-dominating body. Will Malone alter his game and concentrate on rebounds and picks rather than offense?

Chuck Shepherd Arlington

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