This is the story of a sport's role in society, from the "leather helmet era," through the dawn of television and its tremendous impact on the college game, and up to the present era of collegiate football as "big business"—all outlined against a "blue, gray October sky" of American history. In this comprehensive history, Steven Travers breaks down the story of college football into two eras—the period prior to World War I, when the nascent sport was so dangerous that President Theodore Roosevelt proposed legislation to make the sport safer, and the "modern" era, when the popularity of football led to the development of professional leagues largely fed by college players.
He also explores our obsession with identifying winners, from controversies over poll rankings to tracking the performance of players on the short list for the Heisman or Outland Trophies. In addition to profiling the great players and their greatest games, Travers also considers how the sport has infiltrated the popular culture, listing, for example, the top eight college football movies of all time, and the origin of the term "Ivy League." Travers also compiles an impressive list of All-Americans, bowl performances, all-time winning records, winning streaks, great runs, decades and dynasties, pro football representation, and a host of other detailed criteria. It's all here: the statistics, the stories, and the lore of a game that has and will continue to dominate fall Saturdays for another hundred years to come.
Steven Travers is the author of One Night Two Teams: Alabama vs. USC and the Game That Changed a Nation and The USC Trojans: College Football's All-Time Greatest Dynasty as well as several other books and screenplays. He lives in San Anselmo, California.