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It's Heisman Trophy snubs week among SB Nation's college sites, thanks to NCAA Football 13. Here's a look at who could've won the award if its criteria had been defined in certain ways over the past decade.
You can play with former Heisman greats in NCAA Football 13, but what to do if your school doesn't have a FBS team? Solutions within.
It's time for the annual easiest, most phone-it-in article of the year: the one where we simulate a season of NCAA Football and just write down exactly what happens. Unfortunately, things got weird.
If you're reading this, you're probably the sort of sports fan who waits to start up a NCAA Football dynasty until somebody's gone and given all the players names correlating with individuals who happen to suit up for actual college football teams. You probably are, because I have no idea why you're reading this otherwise.
There are some named rosters already out there for the XBox 360 and PlayStation 3, but I can't comment on any of them, as I'm waiting on Operation Sports to finish up their free (though donations are welcome) rosters, which will also include other crowd-sourced edits like added players, slightly altered ratings, and so forth. I've used theirs before, and they've been mighty nice.
They've got threads going for both the 360 and the PS3, and it looks like they'll be done soon. The best part is Notre Dame fans chiming in to make sure Not Tommy Rees' ball-carrying skills go down. Once they're done, expect those linked posts to be edited with info on how to download.
While we’re here, let’s watch some of the many fine college football videos from SB Nation’s Youtube channel:
The marketing campaign for NCAA Football 13 centers around its Heisman mode, which allows you to pick from a number of former trophy winners and turn them loose on the 2012 field while looking to top their achievements. SB Nation's many fine college football blogs got involved, writing up scenarios about which former winners they'd like to see on their own teams.
My favorite ideas have been Doug Flutie to Alabama, because Nick Saban hates short people, and Herschel Walker to Kennesaw State, because surely Vince Dooley can do it again.
Here's a list of many of those posts so far, all of which have been fun to read:
Oh, hey you guys, there's a new college football game out now. EA Sports' NCAA Football 13 has hit the streets, which means it's time to take a look at whether you should go get it or not. You probably already have, and there's little that's going to happen here that will change that. Maybe you'll go get it like a week earlier than you would've otherwise. Does anybody read sports video game reviews?
My review so far: it seems better. Passing works more like actual passing. Movements look more natural. The super linebacker is either dead or in hiding. Defensive backs no longer Willie Mays themselves some interceptions, yet deep passing is more challenging. There are also other new tricks, like an improved option game and the ability to cancel play action mid-dropback. These are all good things, and they're also the extent of my concerns.
Oh, the live scores ticker is neat. There are probably new mascots and lines of commentary and so forth. There sure probably are. And there's that Heisman mode, which is probably fine.
Joystiq sums up its review with the following: "NCAA Football 13 is just that, a 'Matt Leinart' of sports games; there's much to celebrate and much to despise." A curious line, as Leinart won a Heisman and a national title. He's had a disappointing pro career, but this is a college game, brah.
IGN laments the end of the 20-yard dropback, which sounds great to me. Game Trailers talks up the new passing game, while curiously noting, "college football hasn't yet fallen prey to the 24-hour news cycle like the NFL has." I dunno about that one.
And I'm with Game Informer here:
NCAA games are always different from year to year, but this year's additions are noticeable improvements. NCAA 13 doesn't take the kind of giant leap forward that will be noticed by the masses, but it's an installment that will be built upon and which we will look back at as a key moment in the franchise's larger history.
Of course, the only review you really need is to take a look at Spencer Hall's and Dan Rubenstein's beaming faces as they try it all out:
What if we used some advanced stats to come up with ideal team ratings for NCAA Football 13? Let's do just that!
EA Sports messed up by not including new FBS team South Alabama in NCAA Football 13. The Jaguars didn't appear in videos taken from demo versions of the game, but this year's three other new teams did. The company chalked up the omission as being due to a miscommunication, but is going out of its way to make sure the school's appearance in next year's game is something special.
EA Sports officials have contacted the University officials and administrators and has informed them that the Jaguars are going to be part of NCAA Football 14 with a list of extras.
- EA Sports will video the team and cheerleaders running out onto the field and will try to replicate the run out as make it as realistic as possible.
- EA Sports will record the crowd at a South Alabama game this year and use that to replicate the stadium sound effects and crowd chants.
- EA Sports will work closely with the South Alabama athletic department in developing the South Alabama team introductions that ESPN announcers Brad Nessler, Rece Davis and Kirk Herbstreit will voice at the start of each Jaguar game.
- EA Sports will be adding South Paw into the game and have him on the sidelines during the game. He will also be part of the "Mascot Mash-Up" game mode included in the game.
- EA Sports wants to meet with the Jaguar Football coaches to replicate the playbook and make it as realistic as possible to match what the team uses during the 2014 season.
EA Sports is already looking into licensing the rights to use Ladd-Peebles Stadium so they can perform a "Stadium Scan" and get the most authentic stadium for South Alabama's home.
That's not stuff EA Sports has the time and resources to do for every team in the country, let alone brand new ones. So, basically, South Alabama will get treated like it's Alabama. And that stuff will stick around for more than just one year's edition, too.
South Alabama is among the four teams making the leap to FBS football this year, along with UMass, Texas State and UT-San Antonio. The other three are included in NCAA Football 13, but not the Jaguars. Why not?
"South Alabama was a provisional member of FBS last year and did not play a full FBS schedule," EA Sports communication manager Julie Foster told SB Nation. "We did not receive confirmation that they were changing to a full FBS schedule this year until it was too late for inclusion in NCAA Football 13. South Alabama will be included in NCAA Football 14."
Requests for further clarification were not responded to.
Specifically, I'm curious about how the process works, considering USA announced in 2011 that it would go through a provisional FBS schedule in 2012 and join as a full-time Sun Belt member in 2013, though it would still very much be an official FBS program this year. If someone at USA failed to make the program's plans very clear to EA Sports, you'd have to think that mixup feels like a major missed marketing opportunity for a school that's looking to put itself on the national map.
There's a fine line between rankings and ratings, and "NCAA Football 13" does better at the former. While many of the team ratings -- which show how well the teams will perform in the game -- are confusing, the top 25 rankings are more reasonable. The game's top-25 still won't line up with real-life polls, which are almost certain to have either LSU or USC at No. 1 (as BlogPoll's done already).
Notre Dame and Texas, which have really, really high ratings in the game, show up in the 20s in the actual rankings. This could mean that a lot of simulated seasons will see the two shoot up the ranks. In general, though, this offers a better stab at the nation's best teams than the ratings list does.
- Florida State
- West Virginia
- South Carolina
- Michigan State
- Kansas State
- Virginia Tech
- Ohio State
- Boise State
- Oklahoma State
- Notre Dame
While we’re here, let’s watch some college football videos from SB Nation’s new YouTube channel together:
Two plays that work so well in real football they've made their way into just about any college football offense: the read option and the bubble screen. But up through last year's NCAA 12, neither play worked in the vidya games. The bubble would far too often result in the receiver doing a pirouette while catching the ball, and very few option plays of any sort could be used effectively, even by the computer -- games against even good option teams usually mean easy wins.
But, based on this week's gameplay video, both of those issues are being addressed:
I don't know if that Maryland Terrapins defensive end should take himself quite THAT far out of the play, but it's highly reasonable to expect Not Denard Robinson to be able to gain yardage while running that play for the 1,000th time. The receiver catches the screen in front while moving forward, instead of turning around to go look for it, so there's another improvement.
Also, nobody likes those Maryland uniforms, but if they were to wear them into the stuffy and refined Big House, all would be forgiven.
EA Sports has put out a new video showing how "NCAA Football 13" games transition from Rece Davis' new studio contributions to gameplay, featuring footage from a matchup between the Oregon Ducks and the USC Trojans. In the screen above, you can see how the new score ticker feature fits in at the bottom, showing a score from a tight, conference-relevant game.
Other than Davis saying a few words about the stadium, not much has changed about the intro, it appears. There's some cuts of Not Matt Barkley warming up, some sign-tapping, some horse stuff and Not Lane Kiffin leading the team onto the field.
The coolest part: Davis breaks in to report on the Texas Tech Red Raiders knocking off the Texas Longhorns. Since Texas is ranked just behind Oregon and ahead of USC, this would indeed sort of affect our participants. If it more directly impacted the user's team, I'd think Brad Nessler would then comment on that, as far as I understand it.
So! Seems like a cool new feature, though whether linebackers are still psychic will still matter more for the game itself.
EA Sports held a webcast on NCAA Football 13 on Monday, overshadowed as it may have been by Mike Leach taking questions at Reddit. While the new trailer teases recruit scouting and other new features, the reveal focused largely on dynasty and online dynasty presentation stuff, including a new ticker that will reveal live scores from other games going on around the "country," along with previews and break-ins from a "studio" on upset alerts and games that affect your team, all hosted by the voice of Rece Davis:
The panel talked up how natural it all sounds and how much it adds to the whole deal, all down to the way Davis pronounces "Michigan." They played a couple clips, with Davis previewing Oklahoma-Oklahoma State and reporting an upset score. It's pretty cool, but it was wise of the gents in charge to note that Davis won't just repeat the same lines every time OU and OSU play.
After game updates from the studio, Nessler will comment on what this means for your team in particular, whether it's about BCS rankings or conference standings or a future opponent, all while your game is being played. A team of Davis, Kirk Herbstreit and Brad Nessler would be about as good as it gets in real life, but how it actually works in the game is the key. So far, seems neat.
The first NCAA Football 13 gameplay trailer has now joined us, centering around new passing game stuff. The list of teased features begins with NEW PUMP FAKE MOTION, a shoulder-heavy fake as demonstrated by Not James Franklin, but don't let that stop you from getting excited about non-pump fake stuff.
The other listed tweaks below:
Not Jordan Jefferson is excited about the new shovel pass option, which appears to be something quarterbacks can do on the fly while scrambling.
Not Matt Barkley demonstrates a new differentiation between three-, five- and seven-step dropbacks.
I don't really know what a Play Action Abort Fake means -- guessing it means a mid-fake handoff, to the surprise of your running back -- but having a back pick up a blitz after receiving a fake handoff could go a long way to making play action actually useable in the game.
New on-the-move throwing motions and pass trajectories look cool. The latter might help trim the number of passes batted down at the line of scrimmage.
Receiver Route Awareness! I'm assuming this is meant to reflect receivers looking for the ball at certain points in their routes, though Not Mike Leach will have the hide of any receiver who isn't practicing Route Awareness night and day.
We've also got "430 new catch animations."
Not Taylor Martinez shows off an improved option pitch, which, like its play action blocking cousin, may make the option a viable play again.
Improved punt coverage sounds good and all, but BEHOLD, my personal favorite:
A defender making a play on a deep ball, but a play that isn't an over-the-shoulder Willie Mays? Yes, I agree with EA Sports that this game has been improved.
Oklahoma St. Cowboys legend Barry Sanders is here to make the NCAA Football 13 cover an all-current-Big 12-schools event, joining Robert Griffin III of the Baylor Bears. The Heisman Trophy angle is EA Sports' big thing this year, with Sanders beating Herschel Walker and six others in a Facebook vote for the honors.
Via EA Sports' Facebook page:
College football really may be the only sport capable of making orange and green look just fine in tandem. If our cover stars are any guide, we can expect defense to be a complete side quest this year, especially if linebackers are no longer able to levitate toward passes anywhere near the middle of the field.
Sanders still holds major single season records despite getting only 11 games in the record books for his Heisman year, while RG3 proved an antidote to all non-scoring things during his final year at Baylor.
EA Sports held a vote to determine which former Heisman Trophy winner would join Robert Griffin III on the NCAA Football 13 cover, with Oklahoma St. Cowboys great Barry Sanders beating Georgia Bulldogs hero Herschel Walker. I really don't know how you choose between those two, but America went and did it.
Barry Sanders will be on the EA Sports NCAA Football cover with RGIII— Paulie Pabst (@PaulPabst) April 16, 2012
There isn't a cover image yet, but the one that's been teased shows a shadowy figure looming behind RG3. So that's where Sanders will go, I reckon.
At OSU, Sanders averaged better than 200 yards per game, setting records despite his 222-yard, five-touchdown Holiday Bowl not even being included in his official season total. Last year, Montee Ball tied Sanders' record of 39 touchdowns in a year, taking 14 games to do what Sanders did in 11.
NCAA Football 13 is set to increase its supply of stuff unique to each school, with the game's first teaser video revealing a new stadium, some new mascots, many more rivalry trophies and so forth. Most relevant of all, of course, is the presence of Western Kentucky's Big Red, which may make this the most frightening game since Dead Space 2.
Also making their debuts are North Texas' stadium, Army's paratrooper, Oklahoma State's Paddle People, and some cheerleaders done up to look like their school-specific real-life counterparts. Many a rivalry trophy appears, with Michigan players getting ready to party thanks to the Little Brown Jug.
Most importantly, again, is the inclusion of WKU's Big Red. If there's some way to create a school that uses both Big Red and Maryland's state flag uniforms, which are also included, we may on the brink of the ugly college football things singularity.
EA Sports released the first pieces of specific changes coming in NCAA Football 13. The most obvious is some new graphical stuff including rivalry trophies, like LSU-Arkansas' Golden Boot and the world famous Iowa Pig, which Iowa earns by beating itself. I made that last part up. However, any list of rivalry trophies that does not include Memphis-UAB's Bones is completely invalid, so we'll wait and see on that one.
EA also details some audio improvements, including real crowd audio recorded at a couple dozen different stadiums of various sizes last year from all across the country. Brad Nessler and Kirk Herbstreit return on the mics, but EA says it's trying out a new engine this year that should result in more life-like commentary this time.
Audio has drawn complaints in recent years, with stadiums too often sounding a little too professional in atmosphere and similar commentary lines growing stale from year to year.
For real though: Bones or we riot.
Joining Robert Griffin III on the cover of NCAA Football 13 will be a fellow former Heisman Trophy winner. After a public vote, it's come down to Barry Sanders of the Oklahoma St. Cowboys and Herschel Walker of the Georgia Bulldogs, the two best running backs in college football history IMHO. Desmond Howard and Doug Flutie were the most recently eliminated competitors.
You can vote on this thing here.
Tough race to call here, as Sanders will stir up a little bit of national attention from general football fans, while Walker's status gets a boost from being by far the most beloved player in the history of a top-10 program. Very important competition, and the world will be changed forever by its outcome.
Sanders posted 3,248 total yards in his Heisman season, while Walker is the only player to finish in the top three of Heisman voting in every year of his college career.
NCAA Football 13 will feature Robert Griffin III of the (probably) Washington Redskins on its cover, though he'll be wearing his far more fashionable Baylor Bears gear. He'll be joined by a former Heisman Trophy winner, and you can vote on all that over on this Facebook deal. I do not think Andre Ware will win.
EA Sports has also put up its scheduled list of announcements in advance of release. Surely they'll be able to convince certain online retailers this time around that "new dreadlocks" isn't actually one of the top new features. The schedule:
Playbook #1: Sights & Sounds (April 2)
Revel in the pageantry of college football game days with NCAA Football 13. Featuring new team run-outs, mascots and pre-game traditions along with significantly enhanced audio and new trophy presentations, NCAA Football 13 will deliver the passion and excitement of college football to fans across the nation.
Playbook #2: Gameplay (April 17)
With a new passing system that changes the way quarterbacks and receivers play and respond, combined with a new read and react defensive AI system, NCAA Football 13 delivers greater realism on the virtual gridiron.
Playbook #3: Dynasty (May 7)
Game days come to life with mid-game updates featuring a new studio analyst, plus enhanced commentary from NCAA Football veterans Kirk Herbstreit and Brad Nessler. Recruiting now goes deeper than ever with the addition of dynamic grades and the ability to scout players. Plus, there are even more ways to interact with your Dynasty from the web.
Playbook #4: Heisman Challenge (May 28)
There are familiar faces on the field in NCAA Football 13, which now features a selection of former Heisman Trophy winners. With the new Heisman Challenge mode, fans have the ability to utilize the skill set of a legendary Heisman Trophy winner in a quest to match his award-winning historical performances and win the Heisman trophy once again.
Playbook #5: Road to Glory (June 11)
The experience of being a college football superstar is now even more exciting with a new feature in Road to Glory that allows players to see and feel the game differently during key moments, increasing on-field awareness and creating amazing opportunities.
For the individual who only plays online and dynasty and pretty much only cares about whether it actually works like football or not, that middle stretch is going to be key in determining whether or not -- LOL. Of course I'm gonna play it for a solid week as soon as I can.
The NCAA has changed a number of rules entering the 2012 season, including kickoff location, touchback rewards and cut blocking minutiae. Rest easy, those of you who were fretting about having to play a video game with incorrect touchback prizes, as NCAA Football 13 producer Ben Haumiller says the new rules will make their way in.
This means fewer yards yet more scoring, which sounds kind of dumb, but it's not really EA's fault. We may get sort of an early sense for how these rules will affect the actual game, since NCAA 13 comes out well before the season starts. Maybe, if it's all completely strange in the game, the NCAA will just go ahead and fix it in real life, too.
(If it worked like that, the NCAA would have long ago cracked down on recruiting exactly 10 players per week for one hour each, as it's a terrific formula.)
Former Baylor Bears quarterback Robert Griffin III has indeed been named the cover athlete for NCAA Football 13, but it looks like he won't be alone. He'll be joined by another Heisman Trophy winner, EA Sports announced, and letters are being written to Congressmen right now regarding Les Horvath's exclusion from the obviously rigged competition:
Beginning March 12, fans can log on to the EA SPORTS NCAA Football Facebook page to vote for one of eight Heisman Trophy winners to accompany Griffin III on the cover of NCAA Football 13. The candidates include former University of Southern California running back Marcus Allen, former Boston College quarterback Doug Flutie, former The Ohio State University running back Eddie George, former The University of Michigan wide receiver Desmond Howard, former Oklahoma State University running back Barry Sanders, former University of Georgia running back Herschel Walker, former Florida State University quarterback Charlie Ward and former University of Houston quarterback Andre Ware.
I'd vote for Steve Spurrier myself. That other player will evidently fill in the silhouette seen just over RG3's right shoulder on the cover image here:
For the first time, I'm sort of glad Ndamukong Suh didn't win a Heisman after all, as I'm not sure we're quite yet prepared to see Suh tracking down our beloved RG3.
Robert Griffin III has been revealed on the cover of NCAA Football 13. No word yet on whether you'll be able to customize your players' sock choices to include Clifford the Big Red Dog.
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