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Which team from the last 5 years would’ve made for the funnest ‘NCAA Football’ dynasty?

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The NCAA’s legal predicaments deprived us of some really, really fun dynasties.

Military Bowl - Navy v Pittsburgh Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

It’s now been five years since EA Sports discontinued its college football video game series amid the NCAA’s legal crap. That’s sad to write. Now let’s really wallow in the sadness and think about the biggest loss: not getting to play Dynasty Mode with any of the following teams.

We all remember our greatest multi-year runs at certain virtual schools, turning the last-place Lower Butt Tech Rangoons into a revolving door for five-star pros, and some of us still tinker with dynasties in NCAA 14 to this day.

But OH MAN, did we miss out on some good stuff over the last half-decade. Please pay the players money and bring this game back.

Here are a few of ours, along with some folks who weighed in on Twitter. Add yours in the comments, too.

2015 Ohio State

The season when Urban Meyer had J.T. Barrett, Cardale Jones, and Braxton Miller on the roster would’ve been crazy in a video game. Yes, when the game came out, Miller was in the process of switching to WR, but you have to think EA would’ve kept his passing attributes.

So now that you have three good quarterbacks who can all run ... WHAT DO YOU DO? Do you run use the shotgun split set so you could have more quarterbacks in the backfield? Do you run the pistol? Who starts, and what do you do with the other two?

You honestly would have to customize the playbook. You could put one at running back and use “HB” passes as if they were regular plays. You could use the Wildcat, but with the second quarterback, and you wouldn’t even need to spend all that time tinkering with formation subs.

This would be such a scary team. I feel like there would’ve had to be house rules against using the Buckeyes.

— Kofie Yeboah

Lane Kiffin’s island of misfit toys

As recommended by itself:

The IRL new guys

The Coastal Carolina Chanticleers joined FBS in 2017 and have a stadium with teal turf. They’re like a diet Boise State that you can build into a Boise State.

#TealNation

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The Chanticleers finished 3-9 and were 110th out of 130 FBS teams. Turning programs like this into national powers in NCAA is always fun.

There’s not an abundance of returning talent, but quarterback Kilton Anderson and wide receiver Malcolm Williams are the building blocks you need to get the ball rolling. Taking the Chanticleers and beating Alabama in a future championship is too fun to pass up. Do it for the Sun Belt.

— Harry Lyles Jr.

2014 or 2015 Navy

QB Keenan Reynolds would be tremendously fun. The great conceit was taking a nowhere team to the title; the ne plus ultra is doing it with a service academy running the option. Reynolds would have been a supremely rated runner, and he would have delivered thousands of titles across NCAA Football’s user base.

Otherwise, I think Auburn’s kick six would have delivered wild special teams play in NCAA 15. This series was responsive to things that excited fans (because of the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, the Statue of Liberty was put in NCAA 08, with Boise State’s Jared Zabransky on the cover). The last game does have a means of returning short field goals, but even the lowest-rated kicker can put it out of the end zone. With Auburn putting this dagger in its rival in 2013 and Georgia Tech doing it to Florida State in 2015, we would have seen some special teams hijinks.

— Owen Good, Polygon

2014-2016 Toledo

Maximize fun by changing conferences

2017 UNLV

A small mid-major bad enough to lose to an FCS team in the biggest point-spread upset ever, a school without a bowl win since 2000, and a really weird location?

But wait. There’s a 6’5 true freshman QB, Armani Rogers, who ran for 78 yards a game IRL? And that “weird location” is a blooming sports town near California recruiting? And maybe I’m able to download a Las Vegas Raiders create-a-stadium for my Rebels? And it’d have like 45,000 empty seats in year one?

— Jason Kirk

2014 USF

Taking over a bad team in a talented area, building around a dual-threat QB (Quinton Flowers), and changing your offense from Jim Harbaugh-y to a motion-heavy spread? Willie Taggart’s Bulls might already be the most Dynasty Mode team IRL.

2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, or 2018 Kansas

Dynasties aren’t any fun unless you’re starting with the worst team you can find, in the most impossible situation.

Bill Connelly

2017 Purdue

Playbook full of trick plays, zero expectations. Perfect.

Lots of people said Maryland, but with a specific caveat

For the Dynasty Mode traditionalists

For the expert-difficulty Dynasty Mode traditionalists

2017 Appalachian State

Give offensive-mastermind me a senior quarterback like Taylor Lamb, and I can put up plenty of points while grooming his successor. The challenge is building a defense that can stop someone, and App State comes with built-in accessories there. Let me have the country’s No. 9 scoring defense from the year before, suffocate a bunch of Sun Belt offenses, and enjoy beating Miami in a home game that went badly in real life.

An NCAA dynasty in its best form involves playing in a stadium that looks like it houses a high school team, designing an offense from scratch, and using a school that non-college football people forget exists. The Mountaineers check every box.

— Alex Kirshner

Tulane, pretty much any year

And to do it in a cool city and dope new stadium, while surrounded by strong recruiting.

Making a little more of some especially talented teams

2017 Lamar Jackson (not Louisville ... just Lamar)

Michael Vick in Madden 04 was the greatest video game athlete ever. Real life Vick said Lamar Jackson was “the spitting image of me.” Let’s not make this exercise harder than it needs to be. Louisville’s QB No. 8 would have wrecked shop in the alternate realty in which NCAA Football 18 was released in July 2017. Coming off of his Heisman campaign — when Jackson put up, well, video game numbers — you’d expect him to be 99 overall with plenty of speed.

Given how bad Louisville’s offensive line probably would have been rated, you’d have ample opportunity to show off Jackson’s wheels. Bobby Petrino’s playbook is also diverse enough for you to pick your favorite weapon. And Louisville’s defense wouldn’t exactly be the most apt at stopping your opponents, so hello track meets.

The only snag here is that among my friends, you weren’t allowed to use Vick in Madden 04 because he was too good. Maybe Jackson would get the same treatment.

— Richard Johnson

The teams that had Deshaun Watson, Saquon Barkley, Baker Mayfield, Dak Prescott, Patrick Mahomes, Christian McCaffrey, Leonard Fournette, Jabrill Peppers, and Marcus Mariota

Lots and lots and lots of readers wanted to play as these guys.

How about you?