The Kansan - Newton, KS
by Brent Lager
Reviewing Fourth And Long
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[Ed. 9/3 An important note:  I received an advance/uncorrected copy of the book this summer and wrote this review in early July and held onto it, waiting for clearance to pull the trigger.  In the time since there have been several excerpts, interviews and reviews out there.  I left my early July thoughts basically unchanged.   Fourth And Long hits stores today.  And P.S.  I have questions from July (and now answers) into Bacon on the book Ė will be posting shortly.]
If you read this site you probably wonít need to be nudged to pick up pretty much any book John U. Bacon writes on sports.  You wonít be disappointed with his latest.  In 4&L Bacon walks you through 2012 Big Ten football season looking primarily though the travails of four teams: Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan and Northwestern.   This passage from early on kind of sets the stage Baconís work and why he chose the Big Ten as his canvas:

Given the Big Ten’s unique place in the pantheon of college football–the exemplar that has combined academic power, athletic prowess, and commercial popularity, with a minimum of miscues before 2010–the conference, its twelve-hundred-plus football players, and 17.5 million fans aren’t merely canaries in the coal mine.  They’re the coal miners.

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