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Bowls, Polls, and Tattered Souls: Tackling the Chaos and Controversy that Reign Over College Football Hardcover – August 1, 2007
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"In a book dripping with sarcasm, Stewart Mandel plays tour guide on an interesting ride through the college football nuthouse."
—Bruce Feldman, author of Meat Market and senior writer for ESPN the Magazine
"Stewart Mandel writes about college football's major controversies with a wit and depth of knowledge that will impress even the most obsessed fans. And because he's both fair and objective, there is something in this book to infuriate nearly everyone."
—Warren St. John, author of the bestselling Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer: A Road Trip into the Heart of Fan Mania
From the Inside Flap
"Why is college football the lone remaining sport on the planet without a playoff? And while we're at it, why the need for thirty-two bowl games? Why does the Big Ten have eleven teams? Why is it that a team like undefeated Boise State does not even get the chance to play for the national championship? And, oh yeahtell me again why we don't have a playoff?"
Whether it's from his seat in the press box at games every Saturday or his seat at his computer reading the thousands of messages on his college football blog and sent to his "College Football Mailbag" each week, Sport Illustrated columnist Stewart Mandel has a unique perspective on college football. He votes in the AP poll. He's a member of the Heisman electorate. He knows how the ballots are cast and how the game is playedon and off the field.
In Bowls, Polls, and Tattered Souls, Mandel gives you in-depth insight into issues that frustrate and perplex even the most passionate fans. He examines the conspiracy theories behind everything from who gets the Heisman to major schools setting up their archrivals for NCAA investigation. He explores the influence of television and the "ESPN Factor" on the college football landscape. He recounts how fickle the college coaching world can be, with fans posting "For Sale" signs in a coach's yard after an embarrassing loss or posting rants on message boards. He addresses recent scandals at schools like Alabama, Colorado, and Ohio State. He probes common violations, from players having phony jobs or getting academic favors to players facing criminal charges or major recruiting abuses with big money involved. He examines the role and powers (or lack of them) of the NCAA. And he tackles the top issue in the game today: the BCS, exploring its evolution and whether there should be a playoff instead.
No matter what team you root for, Bowls, Polls, and Tattered Souls provides you with a virtual insider's playbook on the game todayan insightful, entertaining, and essential read.
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But there's much, much more. Mandel uses his behind-the-scenes access and years of experience to shed light on some of the most controversial, confusing and downright Goofy topics in the sport. Specifically:
* The Bowl Championship Series, and how it works -- or doesn't!
* The often arbitrary and unfair way voters rank teams in the polls
* How the Heisman Trophy winner is picked, and when the system first jumped the shark
* How FireRonZook.com changed how coaches are fired
* Why Notre Dame occupies its holier-than-thou spot above all other teams
* The influence of the Internet on college recruiting
* Why the Big Ten has 11 teams
* The plethora of post-season bowl games, and their weird and wacky names
* The unpredictability of the NFL draft
* Why one school's tawdry scandals catch the NCAA's notice, while others gets off scott free
I devoured every page. As a Florida State fan, my soul has been tattered many times in the past few years, but it wasn't that long ago that the bowls and polls just loved us (just ask Notre Dame). To sum up. I think any college football fan will love this book. Mandel's affection for the game is obvious, and his stories are consistently enlightening, entertaining and funny.
I have to be honest that it really helped me clear up some of the reasons on why the college football world is the way it is. To an outsider a lot of stuff in College Football just does not make sense especially a lack of playoff. [Personally, I dont care about a playoff cause my team does not figure in National Championship talks]
Anyway to cut a long story short, to someone new to the world of college football this serves as a good starting point in describing the history and traditions of the sport. It is written in a humorous & entertaining manner which is characteristic of the author in his Mailbag column on SI.com.
He tackles all the weirdness that is college football. He makes as much sense of the BCS as a person can. He writes about rankings. He tells stories about the great programs and even delves a little bit into history.
All college football fans like to this that they are knowledgeable. Few of us are as knowledgeable as Stewart Mandel. After reading his book, I am a little closer.
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