Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Three and Out: Rich Rodriguez and the Michigan Wolverines in the Crucible of College Football” as Want to Read:
Three and Out: Rich Rodriguez and the Michigan Wolverines in the Crucible of College Football
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Three and Out: Rich Rodriguez and the Michigan Wolverines in the Crucible of College Football

4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  837 ratings  ·  116 reviews
Three and Out tells the story of how college football’s most influential coach took over the nation’s most successful program, only to produce three of the worst seasons in the histories of both Rich Rodriguez and the University of Michigan. Shortly after his controversial move from West Virginia, where he had just taken his alma mater to the #1 ranking for the first time ...more
ebook, 448 pages
Published October 25th 2011 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Three and Out, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Three and Out

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,117)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
This will not be an easy book for any fan of the University of Michigan football program. It is a tragic story that will make you angry and depressed no matter what side you came down on in the Rich Rod imbroglio.

And far too few of the University's leaders, employees and powerful supporters come off without looking selfish, petty and unprepared.

I will admit that I don't know enough of the facts to be able to judge the story in its entirety, but Bacon makes a strong case that the University and i
David Taitelbaum
When Rich Rodriguez was hired to coach the Michigan Wolverines it looked to many like a bumbling search improbably ended up with the university getting one of the best candidates anyone could have imagined. In coach Rod -- the godfather of a cutting edge offense and a head coach who brought his former West Virginia team to within one win of playing for the BCS national championship -- the Wolverines had a man who truly appeared capable of returning the maize and blue to their self-proclaimed spo ...more
Boy where to begin with this? I really want to just start at the beginning and type the entire story in here for everyone to see, but that would defeat the purpose of there being a book, right? Before I get to the gushing, I want to make sure I clearly state that anyone who is a college football fan of any team should read this book. Bacon got three years of unlimited access to the program, which I'm pretty sure had never happened before and I'm 100% sure will never happen again, anywhere. It's ...more
Oliver Bateman
This is an extraordinarily detailed "insider's account" of Rich Rodriguez's three years at Michigan, albeit one that might have been improved with a bit more distance from the subject and critical analysis of his manifold flaws. John Bacon is a seasoned pro--he teaches journalism at Northwestern, after all--and his John Feinstein-lite approach to summarizing games and practices and pep talks is right on the money, but it sometimes seems like this is all just 420 pages of stuff, one incident afte ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anyone interested to know just how Rich Rodriguez's tenure as Michigan football coach went so badly wrong will get a lot of the answers they're looking for in this book. If you followed the program closely during Rodriguez's three years, you'll probably find a lot of stuff you already know in this book. But Bacon's reporting serves as confirmation for many of the suspicions or widely held beliefs swirling around Michigan football during that time. He provides impressive insight into the politics ...more
I have read two books by the author, John Bacon, and find him to be a pretty solid and honest writer. As a lifelong Wolverine fan, I believe my CFB knowledge has been significanly enhanced by reading this book. Those who want to catch some of the intracasies and "not so hidden" secrets of CFB will like this book even if they're not UM fans. It's true RichRod got a bad deal from many fans and alums at Michigan. But watching this program and its players trying to survive the unjust flood against t ...more
Brian Herrick
I had John U Bacon as a professor. He was a man of principles. You did your own work, you did it on time, you turned it in on time, and if you didn't, you're out. That's why, after reading his account of those three troubled years at my Alma Mater, I believe everything he said.

It's disappointing to read how it all played out. None of that surprised me. I knew it was a sad situation made worse by so many different agendas, both petty and very real, and that's why I took me two weeks to get throug
What a book! Well, I think it was. But Three And Out was a fantastic book. Giving out facts and information about Michigan football was a great thing to read. Including the ideas of the program at Michigan that equaled out to be one of the greatest football states ever.
Three And Out isn't just about information towards the program, it also tells you about how it was started and had affect to NCAA football. Listing all factors about it. Now from the main ideal of the cover, a great chunk of the
Its a good book. Although upon further reflection, I do have to go back and wonder--I don't recall at any point Rich taking any responsibility for his own mistakes, from the mess of leaving West Virginia, the problems with the defense, or how so many of his recruits failed on the field and in the classroom.

I mean Rich implies that the leaders of the State of West Virginia were so concerned about his popularity they were worried he was going to run for Governor or Senate? It seems everybody is ou
James  Ward
This book was very interesting. I loved the access that Rich Rodriguez and Michigan provided John U. Bacon. Not many college football books have this unlimited access over a vast time period. It is hard to come away from this book without rooting for Rich Rodriguez. He seems like a genuine guy who was simply misunderstood. Everyone close to him loved him. Isn't that the point?

Reading it 4 years removed from Rodriguez's firing brings a different perspective because Rodriguez has been successful
L Todd
So much more than a book about college football. Thoroughly enjoyed the read. Great insight into the inner workings and politics associated with big time college athletics.
Damon Lively
Three and Out started out with a lot of steam and intrigue, dwindles a bit in the middle, and then picks up a bit again at the end (although with still minimal jaw dropping points).

It probably is 50 to 75 pages too long for the essence of the story. Bacon could have cut out much of the “game to game” play by play which becomes redundant and boring by the 3rd season for Rich Rod. Or maybe it was just how nauseating Rich Rod quotes where correlating to his pre and post-game pep talks. The guy cer
Brad Vance
I read this as part of my research for my novel "Given the Circumstances." It's an intimate look at what athletes go through in the "semi-pro" atmosphere of big-school college sports. But it's also a somewhat depressing look at how people will put their own agendas before the common good - even to the point where they'll harm the very institutions they represent, just to "win" their own game. Many of the "Michigan Men" and those in the local press sold coach Rich Rodriguez down the river, prefer ...more
This is a most interesting book. More than I expected. I had anticipated that it would be an expose on RR and not paint him in a good light. To the contrary it does a good job of showing how the deck was stacked against RR when he came in. The various political groups within the University guaranteed that he would be hard pressed to succeed. His MO did not help him, however. Bill Martin comes off pretty badly - good financial manager, terrible with PR and with understanding how to run a huge ath ...more
Dr. Detroit
Have you kicked a Wolverine today?

As a Michigan State grad (class of 1980), I threw my head back and howled like the offspring of a tragic one-night stand between the wild man of Borneo and a she-wolf when it was announced Rich Rodriguez and the University of Michigan were parting ways because, well, let’s face it: there’s nothing better than sticking it to those Arrogant Asses from Ann Arbor on the ice, the hardwood, the diamond and, in particular, the gridiron. Hell, I’d root for al-Qaeda if t
Nathan Willard
For non-football fans, this book covers the 3-year tenure of Rich Rodriguez as coach of the Michigan Wolverines. The relationship between Rodriguez and Michigan was always fraught at best, and this made it a good candidate for an in-depth book on the dysfunctions of college football and the differences in expectations between insiders and outsiders.

This isn't really that book. While some of the internal mystery and mess come out, there is too little analysis, and what analysis there is falls far
Clearly, I fall squarely into the target demographic for a book about Michigan football. Still, while the book was an interesting must-read for me, it was also really depressing. John Bacon was given three years of extensive behind-the-scenes access to Michigan football, which happen to have been the worst three years of Michigan football ever. It was really interesting to read about how coaches and administrators excelled at times and failed at others in performing their jobs, there were some g ...more
Count me among the people who sided with Michael Rosenberg and the Detroit Free Press when they released their investigative piece that claimed the University of Michigan football team had knowingly exceeded the number of hours the team had practiced outside the maximum allowed by the NCAA.

But after reading "Three and Out", my entire perspective of this black eye against the school has changed, especially Rich Rodriguez.

If you give me a book that takes the reader behind the scenes to show how a
I've been meaning to read this book ever since it came out and just got around to it. In some ways reading this a few years after the events depicted is like reading a detailed account of a car wreck you drove past on the interstate a year ago. You remember what happened but the detailed account reminds you of the horrible details you'd forgotten.

Speaking as a Michigan fan, I always liked Rich Rodriguez - I was excited when he was hired, thought we'd gotten an exciting coach who could bust us ou
The best non-fiction books, in my view, are those with access. Where the writer has fly-on-the-wall level insider access to the critical events and conversations that unfold over history. What makes this book so great is Rich Rodriguez gave John U. Bacon unfettered access to himself and Michigan’s football program over the course of his three short years as its head coach. Bacon was able to capitalize on this access to provide an incredibly detailed chronology of what those tumultuous years were ...more
This whole RichRod-University of Michigan relationship was a disaster from the beginning! His hire away from West Virginia was ugly. His time at Michigan was ugly.There were so many obstacles when he got to Ann Arbor because he wasn't a "Michigan Man". He had 3 years to win. Ultimately, that is what cost him his job. I still think he can be successful at Arizona because he should have more support there as the new coach. Michigan football is built on tradition. Going outside of "the Michigan Fam ...more
An essential read for anyone who is interested in what happened during the Rich Rod era of University of Michigan football. Below are some salient points about the main characters.

Bill Martin was excellent at putting the athletic department in good financial shape and building state of the art facilities. However he was absolutely abysmal at the football coach selection process (the yacht story is true) and on-boarding of the new coach, particularly because Rich Rod was new to the program, and h
Kathy McC
John Bacon did his due diligence-- details, newstories, interviews, etc. The writing is well done. It is complete recounting of the Rich Rod years in Ann Arbor. Bacon does his best to improve the standing of Rodriquez, but was fighting a losing battle. He does manage to drop Mr. Martin down to RR's level. I will admit that I was a tough sell, but I think one of the final sentences in the book says it all. After three years, "he had become more respectful of Michigan tradition and more humble abo ...more
First two disclaimers. One, let me say that it’s taken me incredibly too long to finish reading this book. I have met the author and I watched with rapt attention as the Rich Rodriguez experiment failed at Michigan; I had this book on pre-order and planned to devour it the weekend it came out. But before I could get more than 25 pages read, two (plus) personal tragedies happened and I had this book with me for both of them. So the actual physical book reminded me of them, and I just couldn’t pic ...more
Ken Heard
This, without a doubt, is the best book on college football I've ever read. John Bacon spends three years with the Michigan Wolverines team and new coach Rich Rodgriguez. Bacon gets behind the scenes and offers amazing looks at things we, the fans, would never see otherwise. The preparation into the game, the personalities of the players, the coaches' triumphs, and most cases, tribulations, are all here.

The best part, is that it's not just regurgitated game notes of each game Michigan played. Ba
Meandering, formulaic and overly sympathetic to Coach Rod. "Three and Out" starts off strong by giving the reader the interesting history of Michigan Football and the Athletic department. The book goes downhill from there by casting Coach Rod as a victim who was doomed from the start by evil forces (the media, Coach Carr, the NCAA, the old Michigan Football guard, members of the Athletic department, the Administration...and the list goes on...) out to get him.

Coach Rod provided the author with
Too often, I give books more stars than they deserve (see my previous review). In part, this is because Goodreads doesn't do half-stars but also because assigning books a "rating" is a fairly ridiculous thing to do when you factor in all the criteria of what makes a book "good" in my estimation.

That said, this is one of the easiest reviews I'll ever have to give because this is one of the best sports books I've ever read. It's not just that the writer has unfettered access to a major college fo
Rich Rodriquez gave the author unlimited access to his football program and I found the inside stories totally fascinating! It confused me at times wondering why the University did not give their coach the support he deserved. Why did Rosenberg feel compelled to write the story in the Free Press which resulted in months of distractions for a new coach and struggling team? Is this how journalists enhance their careers these days? But it is the intimate look inside the practices, team meetings, tr ...more
Just a few of the more interesting nuggets in this book include the fact that Rich Rodriguez took the Michigan job without setting foot on campus and without even looking at the roster. He admits to assuming the Michigan name meant greatness, when in fact, he admits later that the small budget he was fleeing at his alma mater West Virginia was actually larger than the one at UM. Even with those face-palm type admissions by Rich Rod, the book largely takes swipes at Michigan, which failed to stan ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 37 38 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Bo's Lasting Lessons: The Legendary Coach Teaches the Timeless Fundamentals of Leadership
  • War As They Knew It: Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler, and America in a Time of Unrest
  • The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football
  • Swing Your Sword: Leading the Charge in Football and Life
  • The Genius: How Bill Walsh Reinvented Football and Created an NFL Dynasty
  • Blood, Sweat & Chalk: How the Geniuses of Football Created America's Favorite Game
  • Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s
  • Meat Market: A Season Inside College Football's No. 1 Recruiting Machine
  • The Ones Who Hit the Hardest: The Steelers, the Cowboys, the '70s, and the Fight for America's Soul
  • Tough Guy: My Life on the Edge
  • The Essential Smart Football
  • The Extra 2%: How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Baseball Team from Worst to First
  • Carlisle Vs. Army: Jim Thorpe, Dwight Eisenhower, Pop Warner, and the Forgotten Story of Football's Greatest Battle
  • Badasses: The Legend of Snake, Foo, Dr. Death, and John Madden's Oakland Raiders
  • Fab Five: Basketball, Trash Talk, The American Dream
  • Paterno
  • Namath: A Biography
  • Collision Low Crossers: A Year Inside the Turbulent World of NFL Football
John U. Bacon has written for Time, The New York Times, and ESPN Magazine, among other publications, earning national honors. He is the author of five books on sports and business, including Three and Out, Bo’s Lasting Lessons (with Bo Schembechler), a New York Times and Wall Street Journal business bestseller. Bacon teaches at Northwestern University and the University of Michigan and is a popula ...more
More about John U. Bacon...
Fourth and Long: The Fight for the Soul of College Football Cirque Du Soleil: The Spark: Igniting the Creative Fire That Lives Within Us All Blue Ice: The Story of Michigan Hockey America's Corner Store: Walgreen's Prescription for Success Bo's Lasting Lessons: The Legendary Coach Teaches the Timeless Fundamentals of Leadership

Share This Book

“A Brown University alum, Angell’s vision for Michigan was to create a university that could provide “an uncommon education for the common man.” 0 likes
More quotes…