From an award-winning writer, journalist, and college football expert: an entertaining cultural history that highlights the key moments, games, personalities, and scandals of the popular and controversial American pastime.
Every Saturday in the fall, countless college students, alumni, and sports fans wake up filled with a particular kind of hope and excitement, ready for their team’s game. Half of them finish the day in joyous celebration, and the other half in abject depression, but all of them are ever ready to do it over again the next weekend.
College football is one of the unifying cornerstones of American culture. Since the first game in 1869, football has grown from a stratified offshoot of rugby to a ubiquitous part of our national identity. Today, as college conferences fracture and grow, amateur athlete status is called into question, and a playoff system threatens to replace big-money bowl games, we’re in the midst of the most dramatic transitional period in the history of the sport.
Michael Weinreb’s Season of Saturdays examines the evolution of college football, from the moral and ethical quandaries that informed its past to the fascinating changes that may affect its future. Since its nascent days on elite Ivy League campuses, college football has inspired both school spirit and controversy. Weinreb explores the game’s inherent violence, its early seeds of big-business greed, and its impact on institutions of higher learning. Filtered through the stories of such iconic coaches as Woody Hayes and Joe Paterno and Steve Spurrier, Season of Saturdays also celebrates some of the greatest games of all time while exploring their larger significance. Part popular history, part memoir—and always uniquely American—Season of Saturdays is both a look back at how the sport became so fraught with problems, and a look ahead at how the sport might survive another century.