From Publishers Weekly
On November 22, 2003, the Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan Wolverines faced each other on the gridiron for the 100th time in one of the most famous football rivalries. Over 100,000 fans attended the "celebration," proving their special devotion (or mania). Emmanuel (Extreme Encounters
) focuses on the century-plus of heated battles between the two schools with a combination of humor and drama, frat-house intensity and more "mature" pride. The schools first tangled in 1897 and have been bashing each other yearly since (with a hiatus from 1913 to 1918). Some of the greatest coaches and players in college football, including Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler, Archie Griffin and Charles Woodson, made their names in these heated affairs. Michigan has a 57–37 margin (with six ties), thanks in part to victories in their first 15 meetings. Emmanuel does a marvelous job of conveying not only the competition between the athletes but the ancillary bits and pieces—the less-than-ideal game conditions, the spirit of the marching bands and, in particular, the loyalty of classmates and family—that go into making this a special competition. Most of the book is devoted to the fans, however, who bask in the reflected glory of their team's success. For the stats nuts, Emmanuel offers an appendix including the results of each of the 100 games. (Sept.)
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Beyond the controversial bowl-game rankings, college football is defined by its rivalries. Near the top of the list is Ohio State versus Michigan. Both are perennial powers, they play in the same conference, and they share a border. Emmanuel traces the history of this storied rivalry back to its 1897 roots. The first 15 games were all won by Michigan, with the exception of two ties. The rivalry heated up through the next few decades and took on its current fervor until the late 1960s, when Michigan hired Bo Schembechler as head coach to counter Ohio State's legendary Woody Hayes. Emmanuel's research took him to newspaper and magazine accounts as well as interviews with former participants in what fans call "The Game." His play-by-play accounts are a bit lengthy, but he captures the drama inherent in each one by providing a context (conference title at stake, etc.) as well as a sense of the on-field player matchups. Carefully researched and written with panache. Wes LukowskyCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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