Sunday, October 21, 2007

Book Review: Bolls, Polls & Tattered Souls

As I've noted before, with probably my review of The Missing Ring being the most recent decent example, college football is pretty screwed up, as befits a supposedly organized system without any centralized rule-giver. You can run a decent anarchic system, but you have to be forthright about what you're looking for. And that brings me to one of college football's biggest problems: the massive level of stupidity, willful or otherwise, associated therewith. And that's the biggest problem with Stewart Mandel's Bowls, Polls & Tattered Souls. Billed as "Tackling the Chaos and Controversy That Reign over College Football," Mandel is currently SI.com's lead college football writer and apparently likes his job, at least enough to really pull his punches when fans (normally) are being really stupid. At least I hope he's pulling his punches, because it doesn't speak well of him if he isn't. Worse, the book reads like a 250 page mailbag column, except without any mentions of the celebrity crush. Recommended only for people who don't actually know anything about college football, which is unfortunately most college football fans. Alternatively, catch me in a weak moment while bored, or frustrated some Saturday in the FO IRC chat, and I'll opine at length.

FYI, most of the best material in Mandel's book apparently comes from Saturday's America by Dan Jenkins, particularly the great anecdote about how Notre Dame won their first national championship (over lunch). The book is out of print, but appears to be available online. I'll probably buy it and read it one of these years, and will let you know if you should if/when I do.

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