Ladies and gentlemen, it’s happening.
After an almost eight-year hiatus, the return of EA Sports’ NCAA College Football video game is nearing its return, following an announcement via the company’s Twitter.
It’s been a long wait for sports junkies and football gamers alike, but we are finally back. Just a few months ago our own Jordan Reid sat down with longtime commentator and voice of the NCAA football franchise, Kirk Herbstreit, to gauge his thoughts on a potential return.
And now, with the news of its return, one can only ponder what will and won’t return for the storied gaming franchise. From tunnel entrances with university fight songs to Mascot Mode to Road To Glory, the intricacies of the video game since its debut back in 1993 as Bill Walsh College Football have set it apart among all sports games.
Here are a few things we hope to see in the new college football game when it drops.
Fact is, the game’s absence for the better half of the last decade has left many options open. Will there be some sort of inclusion of the athletes we missed seeing in the game? Lamar Jackson, Saquon Barkley, Christian McCaffrey, Derrick Henry, Kyler Murray, all were superstars at their respective schools but never appeared in the game. To bring these athletes back into the fold, how unique would it be to create a mode where, like NBA 2K, Madden, and NHL, you could hop in a time machine and take on the Jackson-led Cardinals or head into Happy Valley to face Barkley under the lights at Beaver Stadium. And with that, the potential continues to grow.
Take it further. “All-University” alumni rosters. The excitement of the Bo Jackson-led Auburn Tigers against Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush in the Coliseum? How about Peyton Manning back in Rocky Top in an SEC battle against Joe Burrow, Justin Jefferson, and LSU? Or a matchup of Kyler Murray and Adrian Peterson in the same backfield squaring off against Tim Tebow, Percy Harvin, and the Florida Gators? Sign. Me. Up.
Gone are the days of the FCS East and FCS West rosters. It’s time to upgrade and include the country’s I-AA programs. North Dakota State has served as the cream of the crop for the better part of the last decade at that level, but nothing would be more enjoyable than unique-tailored schedules to mirror the current landscape of college football. Plus, who wouldn’t want a Week 1 matchup of Alabama and the Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs?
Senior Bowl Mode
Similar to the addition of the NFL Scouting Combine in Madden, each and every year the top seniors in college football descend on Mobile as their last chance to showcase their talents to the 32 NFL franchises in the stands. A mode taking you through the week as an individual player, or the option to control a team at your desire would add another unique option to the game.
In a day in age where recruiting is at its utmost importance when competing for a National Title and refueling your roster after draft departures and graduation, inserting the transfer portal would offer a different look within a dynasty mode when building a roster from year to year.
Nothing is worse than recruiting a guy just to see him land at your in-state rival. With this option, players you recruited and lost out on could be added to your target list as a potential fit if that athlete were to enter the portal.
Expanded College Football Playoff
The older versions had your typical bowl bids and BCS calculations, but the CFP has changed the landscape of the annual New Year's Day bowls with two semi-final games for a spot in the National Championship. There is no doubt it will be implemented into the new version, but an option to expand on the current four-team layout would be ideal. Adding a six-, eight-, 12-, or 16-team playoff would be nice—and an added setting of either BCS-like rankings choosing teams or even a committee would shake things up. An added visual boost to the process would be to include a virtual selection show for the teams, adding to the excitement of the new playoff system.
The array of uniforms, colors, helmet designs, and stadium atmosphere is what makes college football so special. The addition of branded gear and switching providers would be a sight to see. Oregon has been the poster-child for Nike, but what if you had the option to switch to Adidas? And with that came updated designs, alternate uniforms, new cleats, the opportunities are seemingly endless.
There's still a lot to sort out about what the game will look like, but college football is coming back to gaming consoles, and with that, comes a reason to celebrate.
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