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Tag: Lloyd Carr

A Collected Miscellany Of Football Books

Day three of our February blogapolooza brings us to Super Bowl Sunday. So in honor of the big game I figured I would hit the archives for some books on football. This helps in two ways: 1) it might give you some reading during the off-season and 2) you get to read a blog post you might have missed [3) I will have posted today].  Not surprisingly  they deal mostly with my favorite teams: The University of Michigan Wolverines and the Pittsburgh Steelers (neither of which exactly covered themselves in glory this season).  But I think the books would be enjoyable for any fan of the game.

Three And Out: Rich Rodriguez And The Michigan Wolverines In The Crucible Of College Football By John U. Bacon

Lloyd Carr retired at the end of the 2007 season and Michigan eventually hired West Virginia’s Rich Rodriguez. In one of those quirks of fate, a former student of Bacon’s worked for Rodriguez’s financial adviser. This connection led to the idea of Bacon’s writing a couple of articles about the spread offense coming to Michigan, and then maybe collaborating on a book.

It is the height of understatement to say things did not work out as planned.

For most Michigan fans (myself included), that makes this book particularly painful. It is like watching a replay of your car accident in slow motion, on repeat. You know both the ultimate end result and the final score of every painful game and yet you force yourself to read the excruciating details as you relive the nightmare.

But if you are simply a fan of college football, or interested in big-time college athletics more generally, it is a fascinating read. Ohio State fans might find it entertaining and strangely cathartic.

The Ones Who Hit The Hardest By Chad Millman & Shawn Coyne

Cover of "The Ones Who Hit the Hardest: T...

Cover via Amazon

This is one of those books where the whole almost seems more than the parts. Not every section works, and all the threads are not neatly wrapped up by the end, but the stories along the way are so interesting that you don’t mind.

In the end what you get is a snapshot history of the NFL in the 1970s through the lens of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys with the labor movement of the steel mills as a background. For Steeler fans I think this is a must read – although those with a strong knowledge of the team in the 70s might already be aware of much of the history.

Anyone interested in the NFL or sports history, however, would find this a fascinating read.

Three and Out: Rich Rodriguez and the Michigan Wolverines in the Crucible of College Football by John U. Bacon

This review was originally posted at National Review Online’s sports blog Right Field.

Five years ago, the University of Michigan football team was headed into its final game of the season 11–0 and ranked No. 2 in the country, facing 11–0 and No. 1 ranked Ohio State. “The Game” had become “The Game of the Century” and everything was on the line: a chance to beat archrival Ohio State; a national-championship-game invite; and an opportunity to put the capstone on Lloyd Carr’s Michigan career (one that had steadily lost its glow since his 1997 national title).

On what seemed like the precipice of greatness, however, the program instead fell into darkness with wailing and gnashing of teeth.

With eerie symbolism, legendary coach Bo Schembechler died the day before The Game. The next night, Michigan lost in heartbreaking fashion, 42–39, and then lost again to USC in the Rose Bowl, 32–18.

The following season, the Wolverines (ranked No. 5) lost to Appalachian State in one of the most stunning upsets in college-football history. This downward spiral was briefly interrupted by a 9–4 season and a win in the Capital One Bowl. But the next three seasons would prove to be perhaps the ugliest and most difficult in the long history of Michigan football.

And John U. Bacon found himself with the kind of access unheard of in modern athletics. The result is a remarkable book: Three and Out: Rich Rodriguez and the Michigan Wolverines in the Crucible of College Football.

Lloyd Carr retired at the end of the 2007 season and Michigan eventually hired West Virginia’s Rich Rodriguez. In one of those quirks of fate, a former student of Bacon’s worked for Rodriguez’s financial adviser. This connection led to the idea of Bacon’s writing a couple of articles about the spread offense coming to Michigan, and then maybe collaborating on a book.

It is the height of understatement to say things did not work out as planned.

Three and Out: Rich Rodriguez and the Michigan Wolverines in the Crucible of College Football by John U. Bacon

This review was originally posted at National Review Online’s sports blog Right Field.

Five years ago, the University of Michigan football team was headed into its final game of the season 11–0 and ranked No. 2 in the country, facing 11–0 and No. 1 ranked Ohio State. “The Game” had become “The Game of the Century” and everything was on the line: a chance to beat archrival Ohio State; a national-championship-game invite; and an opportunity to put the capstone on Lloyd Carr’s Michigan career (one that had steadily lost its glow since his 1997 national title).

On what seemed like the precipice of greatness, however, the program instead fell into darkness with wailing and gnashing of teeth.

With eerie symbolism, legendary coach Bo Schembechler died the day before The Game. The next night, Michigan lost in heartbreaking fashion, 42–39, and then lost again to USC in the Rose Bowl, 32–18.

The following season, the Wolverines (ranked No. 5) lost to Appalachian State in one of the most stunning upsets in college-football history. This downward spiral was briefly interrupted by a 9–4 season and a win in the Capital One Bowl. But the next three seasons would prove to be perhaps the ugliest and most difficult in the long history of Michigan football.

And John U. Bacon found himself with the kind of access unheard of in modern athletics. The result is a remarkable book: Three and Out: Rich Rodriguez and the Michigan Wolverines in the Crucible of College Football.

Lloyd Carr retired at the end of the 2007 season and Michigan eventually hired West Virginia’s Rich Rodriguez. In one of those quirks of fate, a former student of Bacon’s worked for Rodriguez’s financial adviser. This connection led to the idea of Bacon’s writing a couple of articles about the spread offense coming to Michigan, and then maybe collaborating on a book.

It is the height of understatement to say things did not work out as planned.

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