Thursday, August 06, 2009

Book Review: Game Time

It seems like my most common complaint about books on here has been they're not really substantive works. And it's true, I do appreciate well-researched, thoughtful, comprehensive books that demonstrate knowledge about the subject (America's Game is probably the best example currently on the sidebar). The problem with those books though is a steady diet of them can be a little monotonous. Mixing in lighter fare can be a worthwhile exercise. Yes, too often light and short ends up being short and light on content, but it need not be, and Ted Kluck's Game Time: Inside College Football is proof. Game Time makes no great pretensions to be something it's not. Instead, in the manner of The Draft, Kluck, who played the game at the small college level before turning to the pen to earn his living, writes 15 short chapters (generally about 12 pages) on people associated with various aspects of college football. The list includes two former players, one (Charlie Thornhill of Michigan State) reliving his college glory and the other (Danny Wuerffel) avoiding it, a couple players at schools large and small, a couple draft prospects both heralded (Dan Bazuin) and not (Cullen Finnerty), an agent, Todd McShay, Phil Steele, a couple assistant coaches, one still trying to play the game for money, and, of course, the mandatory chapter on a star recruit (Ronald Johnson).

These aren't complete stories of these people-The Draft's narrower focus allows for greater exploration of the main subjects and to see how they act over time, but they're generally reasonably interesting. One thing I feel like I should point out is Kluck's Michigan home shows through-other than Wuerffel and a chapter on the Senior Bowl, college football's Southern influence doesn't really show up. Were this a different book, one that intended to Say Something, that would be a real critique. But Game Time isn't trying to say something, just tell stories about some people, and it does a reasonable job at that. Should you read it? To me, it's not really worth the $24.95 list, or Amazon's current $18.96 sale price, but it's worth a library rental (if available), and I don't regret the $5 or so I paid to pick up my used copy.

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