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If television's college football analysts had a Hall of Fame, Craig James would definitely be in it. His opinion and insight on ABC and ESPN-not to mention occasional jabs of sharp humor and Texas charm-are as addictive as the games are.
Game Day takes a complete inside look at the 2008 college football season-from James's behind-the-scenes Spring Tour when he met with players and coaches from twenty top programs to the bowl season. He makes the book timeless by using the season as a springboard to tell tons of great college football stories from his twenty years spent covering the sport .
No matter what team you support or how well they did in 2008, if you love college football, Game Day is a book you just have to read.
Craig’s Answers to the Top Ten Fan Questions
Amazon-exclusive content from the author of Game Day.
Is the current BCS system fair to all teams? If not, how would you fix it?
The current system isn't fair to all teams because we've got the “haves” and the “have nots.” More specifically, most athletic departments don't have enough money to pay the bills. So, when it comes to recruiting, an athlete is far more impressed with the buildings and bling he sees at Ohio State, Texas or Notre Dame than he is when visiting a mid-major conference team.
When will Notre Dame just go away?
The Irish aren't going anywhere! Whether you like 'em or not, Notre Dame is good for college football. They've got tons of tradition and tons of money, too! The four leaf clover is serving the Irish well this season. Some say they are lucky, but I say they have a heck of a quarterback in Jimmy Clausen.
How would you fare as a RB in the college game today? How different is the game today?
Not being cocky...but I'd do well today as a running back. I had the size and speed to play and I was more of a slasher than a prancer.
Is Tim Tebow the greatest college QB ever? Will he go the way of all other Florida QBs in the NFL: disappointing backups? Or will he end up at safety, if anywhere, like Scott Frost?
Tim Tebow is a great college quarterback; yet, in my opinion, not the best, as I write in my book. Vince Young while at Texas was the best I've seen. I'm not sure where or how Tim will do in the NFL as a QB. His recent concussion might alter the attack/game plan of Urban Meyer and showcase the passing skills of Tim a little more. If so, it will give scouts in the NFL a better chance to see how he does. But at the end of the day, Tebow’s a great role model for people and is going to be wildly successful in life.
What's your criteria for ranking a team when filling out your ballot? What's your criteria for Heisman Trophy candidates?
I rank teams based on their entire body of work and how they are playing at the time of the ballot. The tricky part is when in week one a team beats a ranked opponent—so it’s a quality win. But seven weeks later, that opponent has fallen apart and lost three more games. It can get tricky. I always try to remember that at the time of victory, the opponent was good. As for the Heisman...it’s supposed to go to college football’s most outstanding player. I try to adhere to the stated purpose.
Do we have the best fans or what? Their fans suck.
Passion and traditions are what separate the college game from the NFL. I love it when I drive up to a stadium and see all the tailgating going on. While not all schools are as die hard as others, each school has its core base of support and love for their team.
If you could play for one head coach today, who would it be and why?
There are so many really good coaches out there. In my book, I talk about what ingredients make up a good coach, and I name the best one in my opinion. One of those I talk about is Mack Brown at Texas. Growing up in Texas, I was a Longhorn fan. Mack seems to really care about his players and doesn't appear to play head games with them. Ask any athlete and they'll tell you that honesty is the one thing they want from a coach. I can't begin to tell you how many out there are bull-corners!
If you were a head coach, would you go with the windbreaker, blazer, sweatshirt or sweater vest?
I'd have to wear something classy...like the sweater vest. A few years ago I'd have said a coat and tie.
What recruiting violations does the NCAA regularly turn a blind eye towards? And does the NCAA have too many rules when it comes to recruiting? What could be changed?
I think most fans believe the NCAA is far too lenient on the major schools when an infraction has occurred. They feel that the NCAA isn't about to kill the golden gooses of the country. Having said that, I don't really think the NCAA turns its head to any infractions. They'll investigate and punish any who are found guilty of rules violations. Yet, I'm not going to say they don't consider the ramifications of dragging down a big time name school.
What's Erin Andrews really like?
About the only thing I find annoying about Erin is her constant "worrying" about her Florida Gators. Erin's strategy – like Chris Fowler with his alma mater Colorado – is to think negative and expect something bad to happen. For EA and her Gators, that never happens.
In Game Day, James celebrates the sport America is most passionate about while chronicling the remarkable 2008 season. Courting controversy, he offers a dramatic solution to the BCS problem and reveals all the payoffs, schemes, and battles behind recruiting during the wild days. He takes fans behind the scenes at spring training sessions, where exclusive interviews with coaches such as Pete Carroll and Charlie Weis and players like Tim Tebow from the top-twenty programs show fans just what goes into preparing for the season—and which teams were slated for greatness. He details what makes the best coach—and dares to name his ideal one. He takes fans backstage during the original College GameDay years and walks them through the preparations and prognostications for the season-changing USC–Oregon State game. He explores the importance of rivalries and shows readers how he puts together his rankings and Heisman ballots. And he sits back and tells a whole lot of great stories.
Along the way, he shares his thoughts and stories from thirty-plus years in the game, including jaw-dropping encounters with the greats and the crazies—including how Reese Witherspoon put UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel in his place and how James nearly got into a fistfight with former Michigan coach Gary Moeller.
From the sweetness of life in small-town Texas, where he rode a tractor through the tomato fields with his grandfather, to the wild ride of college football today, where parity and the spread offense keep everyone on the brink, James has tons of great stories to tell. If you love college football, don't miss a word of Game Day. This lively book will keep you turning pages long after lights-out.
Overall, this was not one of the best college football books, and I really do not recommend it.
The fact that a real publisher would print and distribute a book written by this clown is even more perplexing.
I'm sure that if you like books written by egotistical, arrogant, jerks this is the book for you.
This book is truly disappointing. I read it looking to understand the truth about all the internet rumors that Craig James killed five prostitutes while he was at SMU. Read morePublished on December 19, 2011 by Aaron Moss
This appears to be written by someone in junior high. I have found very few books that were a total waste of money. This happens to be one of the few.Published on November 4, 2011 by Sarah White
Horrible, horrible, horrible. Not worth a one star. Obviously, James took one too many hits to his head playing football.Published on September 7, 2011 by Bob
The fact that any serous thinking person would hand this guy a microphone and allow him to share airtime with other real people is one of the more bewildering set of circumstances... Read morePublished on May 29, 2011 by Tregg
How was this man allowed to write a book about college football? Craig James played for probably the most corrupt football program in recent history-SMU and he has the nerve to put... Read morePublished on May 16, 2011 by William J. Deegan
Great book about a great sport. I might be biased, because I enjoy college football, so anything about it, especially the modern game is a quick read for me. Read morePublished on November 9, 2010 by K. Andrews
I read this book a while ago, but have not reviewed it. Probably some people are wondering where all of the reviews went. Read morePublished on June 22, 2010 by Matthew Morine
If you listen to cryin wolves, you get what you ask for. Don't waste your money, time or mind on this useless, whining, selfish jerk. Read morePublished on February 16, 2010 by Red Raider Jones
We haven't watched the dvds yet but the whole family is looking forward to it. We are also enjoying the ordering magazine that came with it----it seems to have a lot more items... Read morePublished on January 8, 2010 by Marilyn R. Scheffer