Let's get the bad parts about The Big Scrum: How Teddy Roosevelt Saved Football out of the way. It has a colon in the title, which we hate because it's the kind of thing we think is for dullards who need things explained. If you don't have the curiosity to figure out what the book is about based on title, you don't deserve to read it, and please don't remember this sentence when Penguin publishes our memoir A Giant Yelling Slab Of Failure: the Will Muschamp Years, and How Murdering Wealthy Strangers In Other Cities In The Dark Helped Me Survive Them.
(Also, there's also a bit of -ism worship and Great Man Historifying that assumes history isn't just a series of hammers dropping randomly on human heads, and makes some kind of unified sense. The author's a Michigan Man, so he's automatically forgiven for believing things should make sense.)
There are these delightful facts about the first installment in the UGA/Georgia Tech rivalry, though:
1. Georgia Tech kicked UGA's ass 28-6 behind the muscular running of fullback Leonard Wood. He was 33 years old, an Army doctor who had fought the Apaches, and left no record of his attendance at Georgia Tech. There's good reason for this: besides maybe sort of signing up for a shop class at Tech, he never went to the school. This was shockingly common in the early days of college football. (See George Gipp of Notre Dame, a college football legend who spent most of his time in South Bend playing pool for money.)
2. Someone in the Georgia contingent hit Wood in the head with a rock during the game.
3. Afterwards, Georgia players invited him to play for them.
So know this: that a rivalry can really be forged in their first meeting and never change much. That's Georgia Tech cheating, and UGA resorting to illegal activities or violence in response. History is a fat man falling down the same staircase over and over again, and so is the UGA/Georgia Tech rivalry.
P.S. The Big Scrum is still pretty great, if only to read the multiple letters Teddy Roosevelt writes to his detractors that all boil down to "you are a huge pussy, and I am not."