The Best Books About College Football
College sports books can be tricky in that most people show the alma matter love or follow a specific team based on family dynamics or geography. There are certain programs that seem to transcend that, usually due to national prominence and success. I can't say for a fact that the University of George has more football fans today than they did five years ago, but I'd be willing to bet that they do.
And Georgia is investing accordingly. The Bulldog's spent $4.51 million on recruiting in 2022, which may not seem like a lot until you see that 2017's budget was $2.27 million. With winning comes more money, which is spent on better players and things, which the Bulldogs hope will lead to more winning.
While the college game has certainly evolved, never has the business of college football been more scrutinized. I've written previously about books about college coaches and even more specifically, Nick Saban. Today, I'm going to bypass the biographies of college coaches and focus more on the sport itself:
*The crossroads of business and college football
*The history of the sport and the impact it's had on broader society
*A unique look at a season at Michigan and Mississippi State
Here are five books that go beyond the game itself and are worth your time.
Overtime by John U. Bacon
"Overtime: Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines at the Crossroads of College Football" is a nonfiction book by John U. Bacon that chronicles the 2018 season of the University of Michigan football team under the leadership of head coach Jim Harbaugh. The book offers a behind-the-scenes look at the team's preparation, games, and relationships, and also delves into broader issues facing college football, such as the impact of social media and the commercialization of the sport.
Billion Dollar Ball by Gilbert M. Gaul
"Billion-Dollar Ball" by Gilbert M. Gaul is a non-fiction book that explores the business of college football in the United States, and how it has become a multibillion-dollar industry. Gau; looks at the history and evolution of college football, how it became so popular and lucrative, and the various stakeholders involved in the sport. He also examines the impact of college football on higher education, including issues of academic standards, athlete exploitation, and financial mismanagement. Through extensive research and interviews with key figures in the industry, he sheds light on the complex world of college football and raises important questions about its future.
Season of Saturdays by Michael Weinreb
"Season of Saturdays" is a non-fiction book written by Michael Weinreb, first published in 2010. The book provides an in-depth and nostalgic look at the history and culture of college football in the United States. Weinreb travels across the country to attend games and interviews players, coaches, and fans to explore the unique traditions and rivalries of college football.
The book focuses on the 2009 college football season, but also delves into the sport's history and the impact it has had on American culture. Weinreb touches on topics such as race relations, economics, and the role of college football in communities across the country. The book is a blend of sports journalism, cultural commentary, and memoir, and provides a comprehensive portrait of college football in America.
The System by Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian
"The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football" is a non-fiction book by Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian that investigates the inner workings of college football in the United States. The book provides an in-depth look at the power dynamics, politics, and financial incentives that shape the sport at the highest levels, as well as the experiences of the athletes and coaches involved. The authors use extensive research and interviews with key figures to explore the many controversies and scandals that have arisen in college football, including academic fraud, recruiting violations, and player exploitation. At the same time, they also highlight the positive aspects of the sport and the valuable opportunities it provides for athletes and fans alike.
The Last Season by Stuart Stevens
"The Last Season" is a non-fiction memoir by Stuart Stevens, a political consultant and writer, that explores his experiences as a volunteer assistant coach for the football team at his alma mater, Mississippi State University, during the final season of legendary coach Jackie Sherrill. The book provides an insider's look at the world of college football, including the behind-the-scenes drama, the intense pressure on coaches and players, and the deep emotional connections that are formed within a team. At the same time, the author reflects on his own personal journey, including his political career and his relationships with family and friends, as well as his deep connection to Mississippi and its culture. Through his writing, Stevens captures the passion and energy of college football, as well as the broader social and political issues that intersect with the sport. "The Last Season" is a poignant and insightful memoir that will appeal to sports fans and anyone interested in the complex world of college athletics.
What Did We Miss?
Let us know in the comments section below or shoot me an email on our Contact Page.
For additional football books, check out our Recommendations page here.
Last, if you love college football, check out the new docuseries Swamp Kings on Netflix, which details the Florida Gators rise to national champions under head coach, Urban Meyer, and quarterback, Tim Tebow.
John Willkom is the author of Amazon best-selling basketball books: Walk-On Warrior and No Fear In The Arena. John is an avid reader, sports fan, and father to two incredible little girls.
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