College Football

College football is in full swing. Growing up, fall was my favorite season and football my favorite sport. Many years later looking back I don’t know if I love football because I loved autumn, or if I love autumn because I loved football. In any case, the two are forever intertwined for me now. College football has become big business and has lost some of its innocence. The following titles, available at Lititz Public Library or by request through the Library System of Lancaster County, touch on the good and the bad of the game that continues to attract fans even today in its 150th season.

Season of Saturdays : A History of College Football in 14 GamesSeason of Saturdays : a history of college football in 14 games / Michael Weinreb:
In this semi-memoir, Michael Weintraub tells a tale of college football, warts and all, through 14 iconic games featuring some of the biggest teams and most legendary coaches.

Rites of autumn : the story of college football / Richard Whittingham
This pictorial history of the game written by one of the country’s foremost sportswriters illustrates what makes the sport such a cornerstone in our lives. Through the rivalries, the Heisman trophy winners, and the bowls Whittingham reminds us what makes the game the spectacle it is for so many of us.

The last season : a father, a son, and a lifetime of college football / Stuart Stevens
This powerful story is as much about fathers and sons as it is about football. Stevens looks back at the relationship with his father though their shared love of the Mississippi football. Attending what could be one last season of games with his father, the author comes to terms with their relationship and the life he’s led.

The Game : Harvard, Yale, and America In 1968The game : Harvard, Yale, and America in 1968 / George Howe Colt
The game’s first rivalry set against the backdrop of the tumultuous year of 1968. This compelling book examines the extraordinary year of events through the eyes of the young men involved. How the game and the experience around it shaped the lives of the characters (some famous, some not) will draw you in and keep the pages turning.

Tribal : college football and the secret heart of America / Diane Roberts
Diane Roberts provocative look at the cultural aspect of college football in America is a both a brief historical account and a more insightful “deep-dive” into the phenomenon that is Florida State football. Although her work is centered on Tallahassee, her reporting has ramifications far beyond the university.

Fourth and long : the fight for the soul of college football / John U. Bacon
Fourth and Long is an intimate look at four football programs in the storied Big Ten conference: Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, and Northwestern. Bacon’s embedded journalism reminds us of the “heroes” of the game, the players themselves. In the wake of big money, scandal, hypocrisy and greed, Fourth and Long is a paean to the student-athlete ideal.

The system : the glory and scandal of big-time college football / Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian
If your head has ever spun at the news of multi-million dollar coaching contracts and television rights deals in college sports, this explosive exposé will lay bare some of the darker elements of the sport. From athletic directors to the freshman walk-ons, Benedict and Keteyian examine the effects that the growth as a business has had on collegiate athletics.

Two more investigative works on college football and the impact of economics:

Billion-dollar ball : a journey through the big-money culture of college football / Gilbert M. Gaul

Scoreboard, baby : a story of college football, crime, and complicity / Ken Armstrong and Nick Perry

And for a more personal look at the sport through the eyes of those who play and coach it, we have a few biographies of note.

Through my eyes / Tim Tebow, with Nathan Whitaker
No one who has ever watched Tim Tebow play can deny his drive and love for the game. This biography looks at his childhood experiences and Christian faith have helped make him the player, and person, he is today.

Paterno / Joe Posnanski
This account written by America’s premier sportswriter, with the full cooperation of Joe Paterno and his family, defines the epic life of America’s winningest college football coach.

Saban : The Making of a CoachSaban : the making of a coach / Monte Burke
Monte Burke profiles head coach of the University of Alabama’s football team, Nick Saban, perhaps the most enigmatic man in the sport. Unpredictable in his professional loyalties, uncompromising in his vision, and unyielding in his pursuit of perfection, the highest-paid coach in college football has changed the face of the game. His program-building skills have delivered packed stadiums, rabid fans, hundreds of millions of dollars, legions of detractors, countless NFL draft picks, and a total of six national championships.

Urban Meyer vs. college football : the case for college football’s greatest coach / Ben Axelrod
In Urban Meyer vs. College Football, author Ben Axelrod explains exactly what separates Meyer from his peers and compares his accomplishments to some of the all-time legends like Nick Saban, Bear Bryant, and Joe Paterno. From his playing days at the University of Cincinnati to his first Buckeyes stint as an assistant under Earle Bruce, to his victories at the helm of Florida and Ohio State, Meyer has a ferocious, undeniable talent for coaching that may be unparalleled in football history.

Ryan McCrory
October 30, 2019