Note: One of the things readers asked for is consistency. From now on during the off-season we'll be providing reviews on Monday. This will include author interviews as well. I truly hope you enjoy these, because I'm still a book guy. There is so much of our sports that simply cannot be explored in enough depth online.
"The Maisel Report - College Football's Most Overrated & Underrated" is a book of lists. Ivan Maisel, one of college football's better writers, gives us his rundown of the most overrated and underrated in the following categories:
- - Conferences
- - Rivalries
- - Heisman Trophy Winners
- - National Champions
- - Moments
- - Coaches
- - Players - This section includes a list of players from the 19 biggest powerhouse programs along with Army.
- - Stadiums And Campuses
- - Traditions, Fight Songs, and Mascots I'm not going to spoil the book by giving away the lists of the overrated and underrated. Some are obvious, such as the Heisman Trophy being the most overrated entry under "Traditions, Fight Songs, and Mascots", or Miami being the most overrated program in college football. Some are unknown, such as the incredible story of Johnny Bright's broken jaw in 1951, chosen by Maisel as one of the most underrated moments.
Perhaps I'm being unfair to Maisel in stating that "lists" is what the book is about. When you think of 'lists', you tend to think about Internet sites that make up a list, then include one or two little snippets (50-100 words per entry, maybe) about why they placed such and such in the list. Not so with books. Maisel has been around for a long time and he has quite a history with which to back up his lists. He clearly states each entry is based upon his opinion, but then backs up his choices with his extensive knowledge of college football history.
For Nebraska fans, there's Maisel's ranking of '97 Nebraska as an overrated champion. Why? Same reason we've heard for years - the coaches gave Tom Osborne a present. It's infuriating to hear the same damned arguement again, but Maisel presents the case, as I stated, in a straight forward manner that asks you to argue with it.
Also for Husker fans, Maisel provides a pretty good discussion as to why Eddie George was one of the most overrated Heisman Trophy winners, the primary reason being that Tommie Frazier should have won it instead.
That's kind of the point of the book. Maisel doesn't spare anyone, which means there's something in the lists that'll irritate fans of any powerhouse program. It's not that Maisel takes pot shots because he's not that type of writer. He merely states the facts in a blunt manner, some times facts you don't want to face.
"The Maisel Report - College Football's Most Overrated & Underrated" is a very good book, not a great book. Fun to read, especially if you're a fan or alum of a powerhouse school. If you're an experienced and well-read college football fan, you might feel that Maisel doesn't explore enough new territory to satisfy your interest. If you're new to college football or under 30, it just might be a really good choice to broaden your college football background.