THE ONLY GAME THAT MATTERS: The Harvard/Yale Rivalry

Bernard M. Corbett, Author, Paul Simpson, Author, Edward M. Kennedy, Foreword by . Crown $24.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4000-5068-0

To the outside world, the November matchup between Harvard and Yale may be "just a couple of mediocre teams battling for position in the bottom half of the nation's football landscape," but the schools' alumni famously invest the annual gridiron meeting with near religious significance. Corbett and Simpson, collaborators on several books about Boston sports, trace this fierce competition back to college football's late–19th-century origins. Though the matter is in some dispute, they effectively make Harvard's case for having played the first real college football game in 1874—but not against Yale; that first battle would come a year later. Much of the book is devoted to a historical roundup, combining game highlights with profiles of figures like legendary Yale coach Walter Camp. The remainder focuses on the 2002 season, devoting roughly equal space to both teams as they approach the faceoff. The suspense is ladled on a bit thick in these sections, but there are several side discussions ranging from loyal tailgaters to the difficulties of recruiting high school athletes for Ivy League teams. The presentation lacks any perceptible favoritism: even the introductions offer one Crimson (Sen. Edward Kennedy) and one Eli (Gov. George Pataki) to maintain the book's genteel neutrality. 8 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW . Agents, Frank Scatoni and Greg Dinkin. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 09/06/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 199 pages - 978-0-307-42225-5
Paperback - 303 pages - 978-1-4000-5069-7
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