In a perfect world, NCAA Football franchise fans would be waiting with bated breath for the next video game release in July. However, as many know, that isn’t the current situation.Beyond the uncertainty of whether a season will occur this year, people don’t have a game to anticipate.
NCAA officials allowed its athletes to be paid for their likeness last October, and many had hoped for a return.
But it wasn’t meant to be. In April, a working group shattered our hearts again when it determined group licensing to be “unworkable.”
The Big East commissioner and NCAA Board of Governors’ co-chair, Val Ackerman, said the NIL recommendations would not allow it. As of now, student-athletes cannot sport school logos or trademarks and get paid for the act.
That includes appearances on trading cards and in commercials and video games, which is a pretty significant part of it.
Furthermore, NCAA Football 21 won’t hit shelves next month. A sad but real part of life.
What do we have at our disposal right now?
For an ever-dwindling amount of people with PS3s, Xbox 360s, and older consoles, past versions of NCAA Football are available. That’s if the disc isn’t scratched, and that’s a substantial if.
The most recent video game, NCAA Football 14, was released on July 9, 2013… Yikes. That was nearly seven years ago.
If you still haven’t gotten your hands on a copy, good luck. On eBay, you could end up paying more than $150. For updated rosters as of the 2020-21 season, expect to shell out $7.50 or more.
PC gamers looking to play with their favorite players from the NCAA have an option in the form of a mod added to Madden. CFBM19 became available in January 2019, in which a group replaced the NFL teams with 32 FBS squads.
— College Football Mod 20 (@CFBMXX) October 12, 2019
The mod has since expanded, and the group started adding more teams as of November 5th of last year with the release of CFBM20. Now, they’re up to version 1.5, thanks in part to the support of a growing community.
Version 1.5 of #CFBM20 is now live:
* Added ASU, Miss St, N. Carolina, S. Carolina, and TCU
* Updated for latest M20 patch
* Minor ISU, UK uniform fixes
— College Football Mod 20 (@CFBMXX) April 26, 2020
Nothing compares to the real thing, though.
Since returning home after my school shut down in March, I’ve been religiously playing my copy of NCAA 13. And I love it, without a doubt…
There’s a huge ‘but’ incoming here.
BUT… there are glitches, animations, and systemic issues within the game that keep it from ever reaching its potential. I’m sure they exist throughout the entire NCAA Football franchise, as well.
In short, college football needs a new game, sooner rather than later.
How NCAA Football should change
First, let’s take care of some housekeeping.
As expected, the college football world has evolved drastically since the last release in 2013. Conference realignment, new FBS teams, new bowl games, and new rules are all a part of it.
Developers would have to make major changes in order to reflect all of the adjustments.
Above all of the changes mentioned above, is the addition of the College Football Playoff. The BCS National Championship era breathed its last breath in the 2013-14 season, along with the NCAA Football franchise.
Consequentially, the implementation of the CFP would finally force a full description of the selection committee’s process. A way to determine the best four teams in a given single season.
The new game could also have the New Year’s Six bowls, as well as plenty of changes when it comes to sponsors and titles for bowl games.
Teams like Appalachian State and Georgia Southern could make their way into the game as well.
Plus, imagine the graphics! With NCAA 14 nearing seven years old, the next version would require an absolute overhaul.
What’s great about that, though, is that on next-gen consoles, such as Sony’s PlayStation 5, the future looks strikingly bright.
On a side note, some creatives have already created a realistic image of a possible new title screen.
Please watch this video. I’ll be here, silently wiping the tears away.
Beautiful, right? Take one look at those comments and tell me we’re not salivating for the return.
Now, let’s look at another part of the game that absolutely needs to be fixed.
Say you’re playing defense on a critical third down, and the quarterback throws it over the middle. You switch over to a defender who’s in position, press the Intercept or Swat button, and what happens?
Nothing. Your player just watches the receiver catch the ball for a first down and possibly more.
Want another one? Here it is. Now it’s third or fourth down and short, and you’re on offense. You call a run play, snap the ball, it’s blocked perfectly, and you should have a new set of downs.
Or at least that’s how it would go if your running back hadn’t decided to find his way into the back of a blocker. He keeps running into the guard or tackle with his head down, and a defender eventually tackles him behind the line of scrimmage.
Most notably, the defensive back glitch would be obsolete as well. This instance, involving a safety or cornerback, happens when the player forgets he actually has to cover and runs three yards forward for no reason. The receiver runs past him and usually has a free shot at a touchdown.
Now, that’s not to say football fans, in general, don’t love a broken play. We love a free six points. When it happens nearly 15 times in a game, however, then it’s a problem.
These occurrences, especially when you are deeply invested in the game, are infuriating. Maddening enough to make you want to throw your controller across the street.
Feasibly, a new NCAA Football would fix that. From the Freshman to Heisman level, players would stop acting as like AI and instead act like real players.
Now, onto the aesthetics.
One of the things in modern college football that fans love most is the variety of uniforms used. Sure, you still have your Alabamas and Penn States of the world, the traditional powerhouses that barely ever adjust their look. And that’s totally OK with me. The Nittany Lions’ have one of the cleanest styles in football, if you ask me.
But with all the recent innovation when it comes to uniforms, who in their right mind would want to pass on playing with Arizona State? Or TCU? Or North Carolina?
And the chrome! Give me all of it.
A little more…
Again, with feeling!
Yes! That’s what I’m talking about. Imagine having all those options, and ideally thousands more, at hand with a new game.
The uniforms, in some circles, hold just as much importance as the other parts of football.
Lastly, a feature that gaming fans are clamoring for is that the next NCAA Football resembles the on-field product we see today.
With group licensing, that could become a reality. Considering that the old rosters EA used essentially resembled the names, numbers, and positions we saw on game day, people expect to actually see the faces of players such as Trevor Lawrence and Chuba Hubbard in the next iteration.
Fans also want an expanded broadcast experience. The inclusion of Fox Sports and the voices of Gus Johnson, Joel Klatt, Joe Davis, and Brock Huard is a must. Throw in Chris Fowler, Dave Pasch, and Bob Wischusen for good measure.
And don’t worry about the price or production time. As long as people have waited for progress, a guaranteed new release would be acceptable for any fan, no matter the delay.
If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that all hell will break loose the day it’s announced.
Keeping tabs on all things college and professional football/basketball. Chris Fowler is my hero. Go Mean Green!