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THE INSIDE TRACK | THE HOT CORNER

A consumer's guide to the best and worst of sports media and merchandise. Ground rules: If it can be read, played, heard, observed, worn, viewed, dialed or downloaded, it's in play here.

September 29, 1998|JEFF FELLENZER

What: "Perelman's College Football Companion."

Price: $14.95 (plus shipping and handling charges), published by Perelman, Pioneer & Co., Los Angeles.

Where available: (323) 965-4900.

Three sure signs that this aptly titled book has become my newest best friend:

We're barely into the college football season and already I have 1) tossed the convenient 4-by-6-inch guide around a friend's house during a long evening of watching games; 2) felt compelled to keep it close by while perusing the Sunday box scores at the beach, and 3) brushed a piece of lettuce off the cover during lunch at a restaurant.

Longtime UCLA statistician Rich Perelman, rarely at a loss for numbers, has packed a ton of stuff into 634 pages. There's a fairly comprehensive history and records section, all-time bowl and poll results, some pictures, plus key individual and team statistics from last season.

But what separates this book from the pack are the two-deep lineups--complete with uniform numbers, height, weight and class--of all 112 Division I-A teams. It would have been nice to see the complete rosters of each school, but this is definitely the next-best thing.

The book does have a few flaws. Schools are organized by conference, not individually, which makes them harder to find quickly. There is no master index. And, of course, the two-deeps are based on preseason projections, meaning key freshmen such as USC quarterback Carson Palmer and UCLA tailback DeShaun Foster are mentioned only in passing.

Still, for $14.95, this book is a real bargain. If I can keep it in one piece the rest of the season, that is.

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