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Season of Saturdays: A History of College Football in 14 Gamesby Michael Weinreb
Synopses & Reviews
From an award-winning writer, journalist, and college football expert: an entertaining cultural history that highlights the key moments, games, personalities, and scandals of the popular and controversial American pastime.
Every Saturday in the fall, countless college students, alumni, and sports fans wake up filled with a particular kind of hope and excitement, ready for their team’s game. Half of them finish the day in joyous celebration, and the other half in abject depression, but all of them are ever ready to do it over again the next weekend.
College football is one of the unifying cornerstones of American culture. Since the first game in 1869, football has grown from a stratified offshoot of rugby to a ubiquitous part of our national identity. Today, as college conferences fracture and grow, amateur athlete status is called into question, and a playoff system threatens to replace big-money bowl games, we’re in the midst of the most dramatic transitional period in the history of the sport.
Michael Weinreb’s Season of Saturdays examines the evolution of college football, from the moral and ethical quandaries that informed its past to the fascinating changes that may affect its future. Since its nascent days on elite Ivy League campuses, college football has inspired both school spirit and controversy. Weinreb explores the game’s inherent violence, its early seeds of big-business greed, and its impact on institutions of higher learning. Filtered through the stories of such iconic coaches as Woody Hayes and Joe Paterno and Steve Spurrier, Season of Saturdays also celebrates some of the greatest games of all time while exploring their larger significance. Part popular history, part memoir—and always uniquely American—Season of Saturdays is both a look back at how the sport became so fraught with problems, and a look ahead at how the sport might survive another century.
"Veteran college football writer Weinreb (Bigger than the Game) grew up in State College, Pa., adoring Joe Paterno and the Nittany Lions. The elegance and dexterity with which he explains his emotional attachment since childhood — even after Penn State's football program was rocked by a damning sexual child abuse scandal in 2011 — is only one reason why this cultural history of the game belongs on the shelf of every hardcore college football fan. His candor and passion are displayed on every page as he traces the sport's official beginning to Nov. 6, 1869, when Rutgers defeated Princeton by the baseball-like score of 6-4, and concludes with the 2013 Iron Bowl, when Auburn's Chris Davis caught Alabama's missed field goal attempt and ran the ball back 109 yards for a most unlikely touchdown and a berth in the SEC Championship Game. Weinreb assigns each chapter a so-called 'game of the century' title and allows himself plenty of latitude to explain why 'college football is fundamentally different than any other sport.' By evoking sympathy for larger-than-life coaches Woody Hayes and Nick Saban, poking fun at Notre Dame and Michigan, and tackling 'the incongruous notion of marrying amateurism with big business,' Weinreb convinces readers he's right. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Michael Weinreb has written about college football for The New York Times, GQ, Sports on Earth, ESPN, and Grantland. He has been featured on NPR’s This American Life and ESPN’s 30 for 30, and has appeared on CNN, ESPN, and ESPN Radio. His book Game of Kings won the Quill Award for Best Sports Books of 2007. He lives in San Francisco, California.
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