The much awaited college football season kicks off later tonight with a slew of games on the docket, including my South Carolina Gamecocks’ opening game at home against the Texas A&M Aggies. While getting ready to head up for the game, one thing kept coming to my mind, how much I really miss the NCAA Football series.
While I love the Madden series, there was no annual series that I looked forward to picking up more every year than NCAA Football. However, due to litigation surrounding the illegal use of player likenesses, EA Sports decided to end the series, at least for the time being. This stemmed from the fact that while the game didn’t technically use player names, they based the rosters off of the real life counterparts with heights, weights, and playstyles based off the real players, and even coded the game in the past with the real names before removing them for release.
Ever since I first got NCAA Football 2004 for my original Xbox, I had gotten the game every single year on launch day, many times even at midnight. Due to the release in mid July, it always fell during the middle of my summer vacation from high school to college, so I was able to play the game without worries of schoolwork or other concerns. I have extremely fond memories of playing the game every Friday afternoon after school with friends before we would leave to go to that week’s high school football game, memories I still cherish to this day.
Ever since I started playing the series, online gaming has played a major role, so I have played way more games that I would probably care to admit online, whether against friends or random strangers. Even when playing the kind of gamers that will rage quit when losing, I loved every second of playing the game.
Over the last year, there is no single game I have played more than NCAA Football 14, and still tend to play it at least once every few weeks if I can online. Finding online matches is much more difficult these days, but luckily I still have a friend that plays it regularly. The biggest problem is that as a major college football fan, it feels wrong playing with outdated rosters from the previous year, especially with the new season starting. It would have been really nice if online unranked matches against friends allowed for custom rosters, but right now just about the only way to do that is to create a new Online Dynasty with custom rosters and invite your friend for the one game, before resetting and starting the Dynasty over again. The fact that there is no game where you can participate in the new College Football Playoff is a terrible feeling as well.
I absolutely loved Madden NFL 15 this year, which you can tell by my review, but the series is still no substitute for the NCAA series. With the very major rules change in the NCAA that occurred recently, which allow for conferences to make some of their own rules, we may finally see players get compensated for a number of things, including the use of their likenesses in media such as video games. This would be a major step towards us possibly seeing the return of the NCAA Football series, and I really hope it happens sooner rather than later, as who knows how long EA Sports will keep the online servers for NCAA Football 14 open.
While we have no new NCAA Football game to play this year, at least we still have college football. With this being the first year of the new College Football Playoff, every week matters even more and it will be a blast to see it unfold.
For those that are college football fans, who is your favorite team and who do you think will make the four team playoff in its year of inception?