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Game Day: A Rollicking Journey to the Heart of College Football Hardcover – September 1, 2009

1.8 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Product Description
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 .

  • Captures twenty years of unforgettable college football wit and wisdom from his time as a player at SMU and for the New England Patriots through his time in the booth
  • Includes details about most of the top twenty programs around the country
  • Covers the game the way only James can ("No one can capture the essence and spirit of a college football season better than Craig."-Doug Flutie)

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.

Craig James crisscrosses the country during the college football season and gets a bird’s-eye view of some of the biggest matchups the game has to offer. He also talks to fans, and lots of ‘em. Here are Craig’s answers to the top ten fan questions—everything from the BCS system to the Heisman.

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.

From the Inside Flap

He was a star running back for the SMU Mustangs, where he was half of the celebrated "Pony Express" with future NFL Hall-of-Famer Eric Dickerson. He went pro with the New England Patriots and played in Super Bowl XX. Now a college football analyst and instantly recognizable from ABC/ESPN's college football studio show and Thursday Night Football, Craig James is funny and frank, and knows college football inside and out. You're in for a great time as he takes you along for an unforgettable behind-the-scenes look at it all.

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.

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Go Behind the Scenes of College Football
Check out Craig’s answers to the top ten fan questions—everything from the BCS system to the Heisman.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470470569
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470470565
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 1.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,037,128 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By C. W. Leach on January 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The true greatness of America is that anyone, yes anyone, can get a book published and offered for sale on Amazon.com. I was hoping for "insight" as the jacket flap trumpeted, but all I came away with was the feeling that I'd been strapped to a chair and forced to listen to James' incessant self-aggrandizing.

While there may be some truth and good material in the book, its just way, way to hard to get past James' ego to find it.

One star is a half-star too much.
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Format: Hardcover
So, just how does one drum up some free publicity for a new book? Destroy another college football program and the reputation of the school? That's right, football fans, in collusion, I mean, cooperation with ESPN, Craig James presents a new book.
Beware, coaches, there may be a follow-up book, and Craig may have another son to use as bait.
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Format: Hardcover
Unfortunately, Amazon doesn't have a "zero-star" option. Worst gift I received this Christmas. Totally sucked.
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Format: Hardcover
Craig James, having destroyed the SMU football program decades ago, promotes this book by attempting to destroy the Texas Tech program as well. I'm sure that if you like books written by egotistical, arrogant, jerks this is the book for you. That is, if you can stand to watch Craig James on ESPN without the TV on mute, then you'll definitely want to read this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Written by an ESPN announcer accused of being a 'Little League Dad,' this self affirmation by Mr. James deserves to be put in the darkest closet or maybe in the bathroom.

In Chapter 1, Mr. James discusses why he loves this game; yet he and his son can claim responsibility for assisting in the damage of successful football programs. In Chapter 5, Mr. James states that it takes a coach...really? Ya think? Chapter 7, Mr. James discusses that if it is broke...fix It. What if it is NOT broke? Well-respected, admired and loved Coach Mike Leach was recently fired partly due to complaints by Adam James, son of author Craig James and wide receiver for the Red Raiders. With a reputation of being quirky at times (Coach Leach has been referred to as a "mad scientist," with regard to his program), Mike Leach did everything he was asked to do over the past ten years. A graduate from Pepperdine Law School, Coach Leach is atypical in many ways. However, with highest graduation rate in the country, this coach is certainly not broken. On the other hand, the TTU administration is broken and should be overhauled, especially the athletic director, Gerald Myers, for using the James boy as a pawn in an ongoing dispute over contract negotiations. In Chapter 9, Mr. James states that talent cannot be taught which is true. Adam James has consistently been reported by his fellow players, trainers and coaches as whining about not getting to play enough. Craig James, an ESPN analyst for college football has been allowed to report on several Texas Tech games and has used his position and familiarity with Chancellor Hance to promote his own son. In the final chapter of this paperweight, Mr. James discusses the big one. Texas Tech University (Lubbock, Texas) is the hub city for an agricultural community that loves it's heroes including Coach Mike Leach.

If you can get past the lack of ethics, this might be the book for you.
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Format: Hardcover
This book helps readers navigate the treacherous waters of parenting bimbos in the 21st century. Written by a paragon of masculine good looks and sensitivity, it will help you hone the skills required to raise a milquetoast, mollycoddled brat who dips into the peroxide to enhance his boyish good looks while failing to break a sweat on the football field.

The epilogue is helpful in selecting the proper brightly colored plastic eyewear to complement a rugged ski cap for sideline chats with disgruntled roommates and film crews.

Don't miss it, folks!
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Format: Hardcover
A horrible book that rivals the author's inept attempts at ethical reporting on ESPN. Don't waste your time or your money.
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Format: Hardcover
I wouldn't trust the accuracy of the items on a McDonalds menu if I thought Craig James wrote it.
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