Were Mr. Izenberg, syndicated sports columnist, of a lesser caste, he might have titled this ""Great Moments in Sports."" It is his thesis, however, that Americans are prone to orgies of emotion under the right sports circumstances, and he just manages to convince you that his choice of penultimate clashes is exemplary. There's Louis and Schmeling of course, Notre Dame and Army. Sea Biscuit and War Admiral, the Dodgers and Gernts, NFL-AFL/CBS-NBC, the golf pros and poor Roger Maris. Mr. Izenberg decorates his combat commentaries with delectably apt quotes--from Job and Ralph Waldo Emerson to Alfred Shotgun Foley (""You don't see no horse standing in line to bet on a man"") and a ringsider at the Marciano-Louis fight (of Rocky--""What. . . they booin' him for?""). With a jovial good humor and a delicate regard for the behavioral eccentricities of athletes under fire, Mr. Izenberg recalls, in a lively and original style, tournament traumas of the not-too-distant past. Classy showing on a well-run track.