A WAR IN DIXIE: Alabama vs. Auburn—Inside College Football's Fiercest Rivalry

Ivan Maisel, Author, Kelly Whiteside, Joint Author, Ken Stabler, Foreword by . HarperCollins $25 (205p) ISBN 978-0-06-019800-8

The 110-year-old football rivalry between the state university and the land grant college exerts a powerful gravitational pull on Alabama's deep-seated football culture, requiring most state residents to choose sides at birth (as "Tide" or tiger fans) and to demonstrate their loyalty every November. The rivalry these two Sports Illustrated writers describe outdoes other cross-state competition like the one in Michigan, overflowing the common-sense limits of even Southern fandom. As the two Alabama powers drift toward each other in their Southeast Conference orbits, Maisel and Whiteside recount the seven-day countdown to Iron Bowl 2000 from deep inside the coaching offices—Maisel in Tuscaloosa, Whiteside in Birmingham. Though recent Iron Bowls have been newsworthy football, this runup to last year's ground-out Auburn victory isn't as dramatic as Maisel and Whiteside want it to be. Apparently their credentials from SI (Whiteside has gone on to USA Today's football page) gave them complete access, but Maisel, especially, might have done better in the company of a native guide who could provide some color commentary. Even the short intro by Ken Stabler seems like an admission that the secret Southern football society remains impenetrable to the authors. Presenting players' bland gridiron sentiment, training table details and family trivia is no substitute for reporting or sports writing: the game itself is described in nine pages, and by that point its significance in the tradition of Alabama football is awash in background. For local fans only. B&w photos not seen by PW. (Dec.)

Reviewed on: 10/22/2001
Release date: 09/01/2001
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-06-095775-9
Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-06-203199-0
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