There are rivalries and then there are rivalries. What was known for decades as “The Red River Shootout” between Oklahoma and Texas was one of those intense clashes. The game each October is not anywhere near as good these days no matter what they call it now, but the game at one time was the stuff of legend. Those details and the battle between Texas and Oklahoma for football supremacy each year is covered in detail in the fourth chapter of The Greatest College Football Rivalries of All Time: The Civil War, The Iron Bowl, And Other Memorable Matchups.
Dating back to the first meeting in 1900 when Texas defeated Oklahoma 28 to 2 the chapter recounts the history of this clash up until 2014. Over 26 pages the rivalry is analyzed and discussed in great detail. Along with plenty of history and anecdotes passed down during the years there is the final score list of the 108 games played through the 2013 season. Also included at the end of the chapter is a listing of bowl appearances for each team that details the year, the opponent, and the final score of that game.
That same format of detailed history is used for the other 13 rivalries covered in the book starting with Ohio State vs. Michigan. After opening with that one, author Martin Gitlin takes readers onward through Alabama vs. Auburn, Army vs. Navy, Norte Dame vs. Southern California, Harvard vs. Yale, Georgia vs. Florida, Layette vs. Lehigh, California vs. Stanford, Florida State vs. Miami, Grambling State vs. Southern, Utah vs. Brigham Young, Oregon vs. Oregon State, and Clemson vs. South Carolina. Following all the detailed histories of the rivalries is a 12 page “notes” section of footnotes, a five page bibliography, and a 13 page index. A short one page author bio brings this hardback to a close.
An interesting book of facts and history with the occasional black and white photograph, the book covers 14 rivalries extremely well. A notable missing rivalry was the legendary and long standing Texas vs. Texas A&M clash that recently ended due to television dollars, gargantuan egos of administrators on both sides as a result of conference shifting by Texas A&M. No doubt other readers will be aware of other rivalries they feel should have been included. Whether or not these fourteen are the greatest rivalries of all time would also be up to some debate.
Designed for the hardcore fan, The Greatest College Football Rivalries of All Time: The Civil War, The Iron Bowl, And Other Memorable Matchups by Martin Gitlin is a well done historical accounting of some of the greatest moments ever in college football.
The Greatest College Football Rivalries of All Time: The Civil War, The Iron Bowl, And Other Memorable Matchups
Rowman & Littlefield
Hardback (e-book also available)
Material was picked up to read and review after I spotted it on the new arrivals table during a recent trip to the Haggard Branch of the Plano Public Library System.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2015