Never too early to think of football!

Jun 16, 2009 5:02 PM
Book Reviews by Howard Schwartz |

Steele guide to colleges on the rack

For 15 years Phil Steele’s College Football Preview magazine put out by Northcoast Sports (328 pages, $8.95) has been one of the greatest values ever for those who bet college football – and it’s not changed. One of the hardest working researchers in the nation, Steele has a superior reputation for evaluating teams, players, conferences, offering projected starting lineups and five years of results and spreads, for he caters to bettors, coaches and fans of the game and does it on a year-round basis.

Well, the 2009 edition has arrived and it’s the annual best-seller at Gamblers’ Book Shop.

What makes it so great? We can tell by looking at the features.

There are schedules for each team telling you which are homecoming games and which are on grass or turf. For almost every game there are betting angles, patterns or plays worth noting. One of the most important features is the list of how many returning lettermen and starters each team has, and how many on offense or defense.

For some, the coach’s record in a variety of situations is important. Others want to know how a team did against Top 10 teams or off a bye or a loss. What about performances on grass, against the line as a dog or favorite, and who were last year’s statistical leaders? Steele also shows all of last year’s games with key offensive and defense statistics including sacks and turnovers.

Steele’s ability to project starting lineups for each team requires an extraordinary amount of research and updating, but he does it for the offense and defense and lists top newcomers as well.

(By the way, for the college football fantasy league players out there this magazine is a must.)

Want five years of results and spreads? It’s here, along with an evaluation of the toughest conferences; most improved teams; the toughest schedule; top recruits and top freshmen; pass efficiency rankings and the lettermen-returning lost system.

All this information pertains to the major conferences and many independent teams.

There are a few months before the colleges begin play, but this magazine should be read, underlined, circled and devoured first and then digested gradually, like a fine meal.

The superb guide to college football teams and other gambling related books are available from Gambler’s Book Shop (Gambler’s Book Club). The store’s website is www.gamblersbook.com; the toll free number is 1-800-522-1777. The store, now in its 45th year, is located at 1550 E. Tropicana #4, 89119.