Check It Out: Read up before the big game

Newport Beach Public Library welcomes football fans from Florida State and Auburn who are in town for Monday's Bowl Championship Series game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Whether you are going to the game or gathering around a flat screen, the library invites you to brush up on your knowledge of college football before breaking out the chips and dip with some of the great resources we have in our collection.

"Fields of Honor: The Golden Age of College Football and the Men Who Created It" by Sally Pont is a great place to start. Pont, niece of football coach great John Pont, details how modern-day college football came into being after World War II. It's a story about how football makes families long after the game has been played.

"The Big Scrum: How Teddy Roosevelt Saved Football" by John J. Miller harks back to a simpler time in college football, when lack of rules threatened to run the game into extinction. Roosevelt helped convince college football coaches to legitimize the game and help turn it into the powerhouse it is today.

"ESPN College Football Encyclopedia: The Complete History of the Game" by Michael MacCambridge is a great comprehensive resource covering all aspects of the game, from alumni to fight songs to standings, box scores, helmet designs and anything else you could want to know about college football and the men who play it.

One of the most storied teams in college football is Notre Dame's Fighting Irish. With 13 national championships, Notre Dame has produced more NFL players than any other college. Jerry Barca takes a look at the 1988 season in the new book "Unbeatable: Notre Dame's 1988 Championship and the Last Great College Football Season." Under coach Lou Holtz, Notre Dame had one of the most extraordinary seasons ever, and Barca goes in depth with interviews with players and coaches to get a firsthand account of what it was like to be a part of college football history.

Another recent book, "Fourth and Long: The Fight for the Soul of College Football" by John U. Bacon takes a look at what goes on behind the scenes. . Bacon spent 2012 with four different teams, documenting the good, the bad and the ugly. Bacon is as passionate about college football as any alumni and he raises legitimate concerns about the future of the game in light of recent scandals and increasing greed.

The five-volume DVD set and companion book, "Rites of Autumn: The Story of College Football" by Richard Whittingham, are glorious in their unabashed love for the golden age of college football. The DVD series originally aired on ESPN and collects all the stories from college football: the great games, tough players, even tougher coaches.

Every year, the Heisman Trophy is awarded to one college athlete who is truly outstanding. In "Heisman: The Man Behind the Trophy" by John M. Heisman, we get to understand not only the man whom this prestigious award is named for, but also the history of the award.

CHECK IT OUT is written by the staff of the Newport Beach Public Library. All titles may be reserved from home or office computers by accessing the catalog at For more information on the Central Library or any of the branches, please contact the Newport Beach Public Library at (949) 717-3800, option 2.

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