NCAA Football Videogame Wishlist
The game is finally coming back, eventually, but can EA Stop from ruining yet another of it's prized titles?
I'm really jumping the gun here as it could still take until the Summer of 2022 for the NCAA Football Video Game Series to return given the current pace of the rule change allowing college athletes endorsements, but still there's no time like the present. And I can't deny my inspiration and motivation on this topic any longer. I was kind of wanting to finish the first season of my OU to the SEC NCAA Football 14 Series before I got into this, but at the same time with College Football on hiatus until Labor Day Weekend, unless you count the Spring Games which are fun but still, it's the time of year you could argue we need the game the most. So here we go in no particular order:
Don't Ruin Your Starting Point
It's typical bovine manure in the sports gaming industry to remove features only to bring them back in a future edition as "new" features. Which is one of the arguments for Sports Games to move to the Subscription Model instead of Annual Releases, but that topic deserves it's own article. Please for the love of all things college football, EA, keep everything great about NCAA Football 14 and the Series's Past History and build from there instead of starting from scratch and trying to impress us with utter bull. And for the love of all things football, EA, have importing your Draft Classes to Madden and importing your Road to Glory Character to Madden available in Year 1. I didn't buy Madden 13 and sold my copy of NCAA Football 13 because of that faux pa.
Create/Edit/Delete Bowl Games in Dynasty Mode
I get this one is unlikely because of sponsorship reasons, although if they were thinking about it letting us tweak Bowl Season would actually lead to more exposure for the Bowl Game Sponsors. On one hand I can agree there's too many Bowl Games and returning to a Classic Model where only say 8+ Win Teams had a realistic chance to go Bowling would be nice, but on the other hand I can't help but want to create more. I've always wished and wanted to create an Orville Redenbacher's Popcorn Bowl in Indianapolis. Out of all the great Bowl Game names: Orange, Sugar, Peach, Cotton, etc. How do we not have the completely obvious Popcorn Bowl?? Also I'd like to make a Miller Time Frozen Tundra Bowl in Lambeau Field. I get that you don't really want outdoor northern bowl games, but if NYC and smurf-turf Boise can get away with it, the hallowed grounds of Lambeau could do it. Especially if the tie-ins were Big Ten vs. MAC/Notre Dame. It would also help if we had the File Sharing Customization Awesomeness the NBA 2K Series has for the Logos. There's nothing more oddly interesting, to me at least, than having the Cincinnati Reds playing in the NBA in my NBA 2k19 MyLeagues with the real baseball logos, which you can't share to other users understandably because of trademarks, at the Raising Cain's Center, which a lot of those corporate logos are allowed in 2k's File Sharing. For them I guess they consider it free advertising thankfully. But the pure joy of being able to do that is amazing, and the colors blend pretty perfectly with the Cincinnati Reds & Raising Canes. Practically the same Red, White, and Black hues, although I'm sure some art majors would disagree.
All Past & Present NFL Stadiums Available for Neutral Site Games in Dynasty Mode
By past I mostly mean former NFL Stadiums that still exist in real life, but hey it's a video game. If the programmers feel so inclined to include classic stadiums that have been torn down more power to them. On my personal level I mostly just want to do more Wisconsin playing 'neutral' at Lambeau, but I'm sure in the community there's going to be lots of interest in the new LA Stadium for the Rams & Chargers as well as the Raiders new home in Las Vegas. Considering even bare-bones Madden has to have all the current ones, why not port them over to NCAA for our Neutral Site Enjoyment?
More Options for Custom Conferences, add FCS Schools, and Promote/Relegate between FBS & FCS in Dynasty Mode.
The current cult popularity of the North Dakota State Dynasty hopefully has the chance for FCS Schools returning to the series for the first time since well I'm not sure. I'm meta enough to kind of want Division II, Division III, NAIA, and Junior Colleges as well, but that's probably a very distant future dream. The only game I owned that had the Actual FCS Schools was NCAA Football 06, but then again I've only owned 06, 09, 11, 13, & 14 and rented 12. Some people on forums I've seen claim they were on Xbox/PS2 Versions of the Series until they quit making them for that console generation, but in any case it's been a long time. And even when they were in the game they weren't incorporated into Dynasty Mode Proper. You could only do Play Now FCS vs FCS and play an FCS Season. The Generic FCS Schools are currently the worst part of Dynasty Mode. Not to mention there's an argument to be made for re-categorizing the Divisions and putting the Group of 5 with the FCS Schools into that awesome 16 Team Playoff. I'm sure in real life the Group of 5 probably wouldn't willingly relegate themselves, it'd probably take the Power 5 breaking off and forming their own sub-division ala the English Premier League breaking off from The Football League in the 90s. But still it's a reasonably realistic and satisfying Dynasty to explore.
Furthermore we're at a point where capping Conferences at 16 Teams may no longer be realistic one once the next wave of Conference Realignment hits; I get most people probably don't want to explore even larger conferences, but it'd be kind of cool. Seeing as the SEC, Big Ten, continuing to cauterize the Big XII, and Independent are OU's only realistic options with the Pac-12's lack of quality lately and the Geographic Insanity the ACC would be, a supersized Big Ten would be interesting. I know the last time around the Big Ten was sticking to it's academic rules OU doesn't qualify for, but bear with me for the scenario. If the Big Ten bent the rule for us and we wanted to go, the Big Ten would probably want a paring with Kansas Basketball. Which is a non-starter as I doubt we'd leave Stillwater behind, and I doubt Kansas would leave Kansas State behind either. So why not give us the capability to explore the possibility of all Five Big 8 Schools joining the Big Ten. Would require likely 4 Divisions and Conference Semifinals, which is an interesting aspect all it's own. Would lead to an Oklahoma, Stillwater, Kansas, Kansas State, Nebraska Big 8 Division. Seeing as my scenario has the Big Ten at 19 Schools for giggles lets put Notre Dame where they belong as School 20 giving us the Even Number. The other 3 Divisions would likely be: (Iowa, Iowa State, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Northwestern), (Illinois, Indiana, Purdue, Notre Dame, Michigan State), and (Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Maryland, Rutgers). You have to admit being able to play that in game would be pretty cool. Setting a cap at 24 Schools and 4 Divisions of 6 would probably be necessary, but that's more than plenty. Which this scenario would probably lead to a Protected Rivals Setup. I don't love Protected Rivals, but in that setup you'd need it. Some people would probably have interest in making a bloated SEC like this as well, or former Big East fans wanting to put more former Big East Schools in the ACC.
I'm not going to complain too much if we only get the current 4 Team College Football Playoff with the new NCAA given the pure brutality of the game dying in the last year of the BCS: completely hosing us from having the Playoff in Dynasty Mode. But still with such large hunger out there for expansion of the Playoff already: we need the options. We should have the option to stick with 4, or expand to 6, 8, 10, 12, or 16. Oddly enough this has actually been in the series before back in the 90s as you could go as high as the 16 Team Playoff in the before-my-time classics. And I suppose Conference Tie-Ins/Group of 5 Tie-In, but personally I'm completely against automatic bids in Football. For crying out loud every year the auto-bids generate controversy in Basketball's 68 Team March Madness Field. A 2 or 2+ Loss team upsetting a 0 or 1 Loss team in a Conference Title Game shouldn't get in, in my opinion, unless they actual have the resume otherwise. In an 8 Team Field or an even larger field if one of the Power 5 Champions isn't good enough, they lost too many games, pure and simple. Personally I'm leaning toward the 8 Team Model with the 1st Round at the Campus Sites of the Higher Seeds, but it would be cool to customize the Bowl Rotation for that if you so choose. You know the real NCAA would consider the money of such a move, even if asking a team to play 4 Neutral Site Games from their Conference Title and 3 Playoff Games is completely ridiculous and an unrealistic burden on fans. Not to mention that coveted home field advantage for the Top 4 Seeds would be important to the regular season.
More Options for Road to Glory
It'd be interesting to have the option to play your Junior & Senior Seasons of High School in Road to Glory. If we get good customization options like NBA 2k, the Customization of your High School Experience in game would be even better than the awesome options we already had. To me I'd want both seasons just from doing all the Customization Effort, but also it'd be somewhat realistic as a lot of the recruiting process actually happens early now. It'd be interesting to have Junior College as an option for your starting point as well or just as an option after High School as well. It's expected we should have the real NCAA Roster in the new game, but trying to do so even for the elite high schools would be a bit much. What we should be able to do though would be edit our High School Roster, so we can customize our teammates and opponents both for the difficulty and the fun of it. Fun, you do remember that word don't you EA????
We also finally need to have Kickers and Punters as playable positions in Road to Glory as well. One of the few interesting things about Modern Madden are the Kicker Career Mode YouTube Series now that you can control just a Kicker's Career in Madden.
More Recruiting Options
The beauty of Recruiting in NCAA Football 14 is with the points system it simplified the Recruiting Process compared to keeping track of Phone Call Hours. The downside is that without the in-depth recruiting of it's predecessors in 11 & 12 that I really, really enjoyed it's harder to fight for the recruits' interest. Having the points system as the base for those who don't want to spend a large amount of time recruiting would be ideal, but we need to have the option to actually use those points to our liking like the phone calls in past editions. The comparing schools feature first introduced in 11 I believe was amazing. Getting to get interest points for yourself and tear down your competition in the comparison was complete gold. I can't remember which versions had it but some had the option to access your Dynasty Mode Recruiting on the Internet anywhere even when you're not playing the game. A mobile app for that would be amazing, it would even be a great way to try to get more players interested in your precious damn Ultimate Team, EA, as it could be one app for all of the game.
Don't let Ultimate Team's Domination Ruin the Game
I used to believe that the pure pageantry and passion of college football would make ruining this game impossible even with Ultimate Team around, but if they can ruin FIFA, I covered FIFA's Faults already, and even with the passion of the Beautiful Game they could ruin anything. Of course back with NCAA Football 14 they were only allowed classic players out of school, and now with them getting to actually use the real roster it's inevitable that the push for Ultimate Team is coming. Which would be fine EA, if you didn't neglect the rest of your games. NBA 2K's got it right with MyTeam. They know they have to keep all fans of the game happy and do due diligence to every game mode.
Bring Back Classic Teams and Create All-Time Teams
Madden had both at one point, and NBA 2K has both now. I want to say I heard Classic Teams were in NCAA in the 90s as well. It'd even be great for your precious Ultimate Team to put all of those legends into the game. Imagine all of the Rare-Diamond-Platinum-Ultra-Rare-Epic-Bonus Bo Jackson Cards you'll get people to shell our hundreds to try to find in your packs.
For the Love of Football Fix Franchise Mode in Madden and just Fix Madden in General
These games are at their best when they're working in tandem, and even with NCAA Football 14's Greatness its companion, Madden 25, is really unplayable and it's only gotten worse by all accounts from Franchise Players. I've refused to spend a dime on Madden since NCAA died, but even if NCAA hadn't died Madden has not been worth the money for quite some time. I've been legit considering getting NCAA 08 & Madden 08 and NCAA 12 & Madden 12, as Madden 08 and Madden 12 are regarded as the best Franchise Modes on the Xbox 360/PS3 Generation, from Amazon to help tide me over til NCAA's return since we haven't had a Madden worth playing in so long.
Bring Back the Mini-Games
NCAA Football 09's Mini-Games were amazing fun!! Horse, Special Teams Challenge, Tug-Of-War, Bowling, and Option Dash were all great and I got way too much fun out of playing my friends and even the CPU on those games trying to set High Scores. While trying to get great simulation and realism in these games is great and appreciated, we need to remember that these games are meant to be fun! There's a reason Triple Play Baseball and MVP Baseball 2005 are both Classics for very different reasons. Triple Play was just pure crazy arcade fun!! I spent way too many hours in the Home Run Challenge Crazy Parks: especially Living Room & Construction Site. The Medieval one was fun, too, but I didn't spend anywhere near as much time on it. And both amazingly and sadly, MVP Baseball 2005, is still one of the best Dynasty/Franchise Modes of All-Time, while also not neglecting the mini-games entirely as the Batting Mini-Game on MVP 2005 is great, even if your restricted to one junkyard park.
Please EA, you need to do right by Football with NCAA & Madden! You need to do right by Soccer with FIFA! You need to right by Hockey with NHL! You need to do right by all sports! Otherwise why bother making sports games at all!?! What I wouldn't give to have the days of "If it's in the game, it's in the game!" back in this great modern age.