Back before the named patterns the lane man would figure out what break point a house would need to be played to score well and either force the entire field to play that line to be successful, or go against the pattern and force everyone either outside or inside the house break point to score well on that week's pattern.
If you look at some of the old shows the biggest difference between then and now is back then you would see the same type of bowler make the TV
show, there wasn't a variety like you will see on today's show where you have (Barnes, Jaros, Rash and Duke), in the old shows you would have an all lefty show one week, an all power player show the next week and an all straight player show and not just straight players, you had to throw a spinner, or high track with little side turn, or lots of side turn but little revs, it would be one combination that would work each week, and those are the bowlers that would make the show.
With the exception of the Great bowlers of all time, Earl Anthony, Walter Ray, and a few others that were able to alter their game enough to do well every week. Bowlers would show up and seem to try to force their shot to work each week until they finally matched up. With the named patterns bowlers know each week if they are going to match up or not, and have been able to figure out what to do if their "A" game is not working to have success.
We have many more ball choices now than back then and much more knowledge of how to drill them, so now there is a ball for every bowler on every shot, or an adjustment that can be made to help the bowler match up, so competition is at an all time high right now.
Look at the scores for this week, it was rare that you would see such high scores on a Major championship pattern, but the entire top 32 averaged between 210 and 239 where back in the day the 210 average on a Major pattern would have ran away with it. On top of that, Jason Belmonte led the qualifying and Norm Duke came in second in the qualifying, if those aren't two contrasting styles then I don't know what is. Back in the old days the top 32 would have been all power players with a select few that could get the right angle to the pocket, or all norm duke types.