Andrew Ellis – The first 14 years of the new millennium truly were the earth’s glory days. The EA Sports’ NCAA Football franchise still existed and, in turn, our lives were infinitely better than they are today.
Whether it be the mailing of memory cards to some random dude in Washington to get the rosters or the signing of 20 five-star players in Dynasty mode, this franchise probably was a big part of many of our childhoods.
I remember certain battles more vividly than I do many of the other poignant, non-virtual moments of my life. Getting an insanely high “greatness” or “instant classic” score was something my friends and I talked about constantly, even when we were at different schools across the state during our college days.
Before I start crying, here are a few superlatives from my many years playing the game:
NCAA Football Superlatives
Favorite NCAA Moment
The 2003 version (that’s the Carson Palmer one for those of you who remember things based on cover art) was a significant one. It was the final game in which my friends and I allowed one another to play as Ohio State. The reason we came up with the “anyone-but-OSU” rule was for good reason.
One of my good friends (whose name may or may not be Kyle) nearly ended our friendship over an Ohio State vs. Ohio State matchup. Chris Gamble turned into one of the best players on the team that season, and I found it absurd that his speed rating was something like 80. I did what any rational person would do: edited my roster and boosted his speed to 98.
During our matchup, I trailed by a field goal with just seconds left. I ran a fly route with Chris Gamble and he toasted Dustin Fox, who at the time was the fastest player on the team. Touchdown. Game Over. I win.
My friend was furious. “How does Fox get outran by Gamble?” He then checks the rosters and discovers my shenanigans. I casually placed my memory card into one of the slots thus allowing my rosters to be used. I was then kicked out of his home and subsequently thought our decade-long friendship was over.
A half hour later he drove to my house and dropped off a hat that I had left behind. He apologized. We are still friends.
NCAA 2005 (Larry Fitzgerald)
The introduction of home-field advantage and “toughest places to play” were very nice touches. I was a sophomore in college at the time and this game was the reason I failed Accounting 102.
Ted Ginn Jr. His speed rating (99) should have been higher.
Close call between Vince Young and Roy Williams. We played with fatigue off, so I played Williams at safety and the man intercepted practically every deep pass in the 2004 version. I’ll give the edge to Vince Young though. Used him in 2003 when he was a true freshman despite a bad throwing accuracy rating. His powers were simply absurd after his inaugural season.
Texas. For the above reasons + Cedric Benson.
Miami Hurricanes, NCAA 2003. You couldn’t throw the ball against their defense. Pretty sure we outlawed that team at one point too.
Best Commentary Phrase:
“This guy’s one of the most athletic players I’ve seen all year. Do you realize in high school he was all-state in football, basketball, AND baseball? He’s been making big plays his whole life.”
Most Hated Feature:
“Impact Players” was an awful addition. It was too gimmicky and I hated it. A player has a pulsating icon so that automatically means he breaks six tackles on a given play? Get out of here.
Most Annoying Team:
The Florida Gators during Urban Meyer’s reign of terror.
NCAA 2018 Ohio State Player Ratings
Kevin Harrish – EA Sports hasn't made an NCAA video game in four years now, but since they graciously gave us the ability to edit rosters, the fun can live on.
Since today would be release day of NCAA18, I decided to take my shot at creating an accurate roster for this year's Ohio State team.
I didn't do every player as that would be tedious. I just did the top players at each position, plus a few more just for fun. Also, I didn't list every single rating on the chart below, just the most applicable ones for each position.
Let me know how you think I did and what you would change.
|Name||Speed||Strength||Agility||Acceleration||Elusiveness||Awareness||Throw Power||Throw Accuracy||Overall|
J.T. Barrett either runs the fastest 4.9 ever, or the slowest 4.5. No matter what I put for his speed and acceleration, it felt wrong, but I felt 85 was safe. As far as his arm goes, it's not a weenie arm, but it's much more accurate than it is powerful.
Joe Burrow and Dwayne Haskins are comparable passers with Haskins getting the edge, especially in power. Burrow, however, is a much better runner.
Tate Martell, as we all know, is the best runner of the group and at this stage in his college career, probably the least effective passer.
|Name||Speed||Strength||Agility||Acceleration||Elusiveness||Break Tackle||Trucking||Stiff Arm||Spin Move||Vision||Juke||Carrying||Overall|
Had I done this without seeing Ohio State's top 40-yard dash times posted a few weeks ago, I certainly would have had Mike Weber as a much slower power running back. If those numbers are even close to correct, he's probably even better than these ratings indicate. I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt while still being realistic.
As far as J.K. Dobbins, he's a little quicker than Weber, but a good bit smaller and less experienced. Give him reps and some time in the weight room and he should be a monster.
Then of course we have Demario McCall. His more physical attributes keep his overall rating relatively low, but if you get him in space it's over.
|Name||Speed||Strength||Agility||Acceleration||Elusiveness||Spin Move||Vision||Juke||Catching||Catch in Traffic||Route Running||Jumping||Overall|
Paris Campbell has been talked up quite a bit this offseason and he's the frontrunner to earn the starting spot at the h-back position, which was Ohio State's most productive receiver position last season. He's the fastest of the group and is the best after the catch.
K.J. Hill and Binjimen Victor each showed flashes last season and appear to have promising 2017 seasons ahead of them. Hill is more of a speedy, quick guy while Victor is more of a tall, possession receiver.
Johnnie Dixon also cracks the top four due in no small part to his spring game performance. If he can stay healthy, he could be headed for a big season. However, that's proven to be a big if.
|Name||Speed||Strength||Agility||Acceleration||Catching||Catch in Traffic||Route Running||Jumping||Pass Block||Run Block||Overall|
Marcus Baugh was one of Ohio State's most reliable receivers last season and with the addition of tight end's coach and offensive coordinator, he could be headed for a big year.
With A.J. Alexander's injury, it's anybody's guess what the tight end depth chart will really look like come fall, but Luke Farrell will likely be near the top of it after showing flashes in the spring. Jake Hausmann could see time as well depending on how things shake out.
|Name||Position||Strength||Awareness||Pass Block||Run Block||Impact Blocking||Overall|
Jamarco Jones is the highest-rated player on my roster. That's not an accident. He was quietly one of the best offensive linemen in the country last season and he's going to have one more year to assert his dominance.
Billy Price isn't far behind Jones and is the strongest Buckeye on the roster. Then we have Michael Jordan and Isaiah Prince, who will likely both be improved entering their second seasons starting.
The one starting spot not sealed up is right guard, and that seems to be a race between Matthew Burrell and Demetrius Knox, though another candidate could sneak in there as well, such as Wyatt Davis or Malcolm Pridgeon.
|Name||Position||Strength||Speed||Acceleration||Tackle||Hit Power||Power Moves||Finnesse Moves||Block Shedding||Pursuit||Play Recognition||Overall|
Ohio State's best unit is the defensive line, so I made that clear in the ratings with seven players on the defensive line rated 87 or above. Tyquan Lewis is the top dawg, as he was named the Big Ten's top linebacker after last season and he has the most experience at the position, but there's not a steep drop off after any of these players.
|Name||Position||Strength||Speed||Acceleration||Tackle||Hit Power||Play Recognition||Man Coverage||Zone Coverage||Overall|
Dante Booker is hard to accurately rate because while he's been talked up and was supposed to start over Jerome Baker last season (which should raise your eyebrows), nobody outside of the program has really seen him healthy and at his best.
Chris Worley has the most experience of the group and is a tackle machine, but Jerome Baker is arguably the most physically gifted player on the entire roster.
|Name||Position||Speed||Acceleration||Tackle||Hit Power||Play recognition||Man Coverage||Zone Coverage||Press||Overall|
Denzel Ward is the top cornerback on the team after he was essentially a starter last season and he is also probably the fastest Buckeye on the roster. Kendall Sheffield is not far behind in speed and will battle with Damon Arnette for the No. 2 cornerback spot, though in reality it will likely be a three-man rotation anyway.
At safety, Damon Webb has one spot all-but locked up and was praised heavily all spring. He seems to be on the verge of a huge season. At the other spot, Erick Smith and Jordan Fuller are battling for the starter role, but it will likely be a rotation anyway.
|Name||Position||Kick Power||Kick Accuracy||Overall|
Sean Nuernberger showed off his big leg this week by drilling a 60-yard field goal, so his Kick Power rating reflects that. Drue Chrisman's ratings are, to be completely honest, a total guess since I've only seen him in very limited action.