The College Football Notebook

October 20, 2010 2:36 PM

Preserving College Football's Heritage

Thumbnail image for TheLastNewYears.jpgSince the inception of the Bowl Championship Series in 1998, the impact of New Year's Day on the college football postseason has been rapidly diminishing. It was always my favorite day of the year, growing up in the 1980s and in my college years of the 1990s. In the era that ran from 1976-1993, January 1 was the day all the major bowl games were played and the national championship was all but settled by the end of the night. In my new book, The Last New Year's, I've tried to re-create that era. It's all here--from Alabama's dramatic goal-line stand against Penn State in 1978, to Joe Paterno's vindication four years later. From Miami's stunning upset of Nebraska in 1983 to the case for Auburn to have been voted national champion that same year. The greatest coaches of the era--names like Bryant, Schembecler, Osborne, Switzer and Holtz all have their triumphs and defeats revisited. Each game--from the bowl games that settled the national title to those that "only" had conference pride at stake. Some of the game's greatest players who made their mark on NFL history first appeared on January 1--players like Joe Montana, Dan Marino, Troy Aikman and Marcus Allen see their careers revisited.

The Last New Year's is not a book aimed at arguing for or against a particular system, but to preserve and celebrate a day that became a unique part of the American sports heritage. If you're a younger reader, I hope this book can show how it used to be. For those who are 40 and up, I hope reading it brings back some of the memories that researching and writing it brought back for me. Just click here to order.

Dan Flaherty is the editor of the Sports Notebook Family, published through the Real Clear Sports Blog Network, offering daily MLB playoff coverage and game analysis in college football and the NFL. He is the author of The Last New Year's, a book that revisits the historic era of college football's New Year's Day bowl games.

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