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.
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.
2015 Charlotte 49er Football: Our Inaugural season in FBS!— Brian Bauldrick (@bbauldri) July 8, 2018
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
2016 Toledo Rockets. Logan Woodside and Kareem Hunt would have been gone crazy— Toledo Seahawks (@ToledoSeahawks) July 8, 2018
Maximize fun by changing conferences
I would have had entirely too much fun putting last year's UCF in the SEC and beating ass https://t.co/DNRCPvWfxp— Tito Carroné (@equiano420) July 8, 2018
Navy. Put them in the Big 12 and match all the pass-happy offenses with flexbone option and wheel routes. https://t.co/O7wH8kGsnX— Kevin Wall (@kwallcuse) July 8, 2018
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
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
Mizzou. Every game would be 70-63, and you'll probably qualify for a bowl game in December vs. UTEP or some shit. https://t.co/Uvl9SygR5o— Jon Eaton (@sketchy1poker) July 8, 2018
Playbook full of trick plays, zero expectations. Perfect.
Lots of people said Maryland, but with a specific caveat
For the Dynasty Mode traditionalists
North Texas is always the answer— Max Schreiber (@baseballrodent) July 8, 2018
For the expert-difficulty Dynasty Mode traditionalists
Bringing the the @HawaiiFootball Rainbow Warriors back by only recruiting players from the islands.— Clinton Burkes (@catcher_0_3) July 8, 2018
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
Tulane... because it's fun to take a traditional doormat to the top of the football world— Ricky MacGuyver_1914 (@Macguyver_1914) July 8, 2018
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
2016 UNC. Mitch Trubisky, Ryan Switzer, Mack Hollins, Elijah Hood— Kamreon Targaryen (@Camclavin) July 8, 2018
the 2015 cal bears who had 5 nfl receivers lmao https://t.co/4c0rMxuE48— Nam Le, Cal blog boy (@AGuyNamedNam) July 8, 2018
Tennessee with all that talent they had in 2015.— AllforTennessee.com (@allfortennessee) July 8, 2018
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.