Resident video game aficionado and Ole Miss Rebel football fan Juco All-American discussed with me what he felt EA Sports got right and what they got wrong in their attempts to create an NCAA football video game that is as realistic ad possible. Understandably, our perceptions of what is and isn't "real" in this sense are based on our expectations of the upcoming season, so consider this post a somewhat revealing look into what we as fans are looking forward to.
So, Juco, take it away:
First of all, the game feels more like an actual game, and by that I mean the things around the game itself are more realistic. It is more like you're watching the game on TV. I remember the older versions had these stilted transitions from one quarter to the another - something like an announcer voice over and then the next quarter would begin. This game, though, has the ESPN graphics, the score, highlights from that quarter, and all the other things you'd see if you were watching a game on TV. It will even show some stats, pop up scores from other games going on (even with pretty clever commentary - "Looks like an upset is brewing in Athens as Vandy is on top of Georgia..."
The pregrame show is a little bit better too. It is more detailed, and shows you a little bit more about the upcoming game. "Keep an eye on ol-soandso" and whatnot. Specifically with Ole Miss, there's a funny glitch I've seen. Every team has an intro screen, with players running around or fans cheering, then a word or phrase pops up on the screen, then more clips of players or fans, then more words. It just goes back and forth. The first time I played with Ole Miss, it showed the players running out of the tunnel, then flashed "The Grove," then showed some jumping and hype-up type of stuff, then flashed "Toddy." No "Hotty," mind you. Just the "Toddy." It'd have been cool to flash one then the other, but not one over the other.
As far as the team goes, I think Bo Wallace is a little slow. But it's interesting to say that because the way you can use the read option is kinda realistic. You can churn out decently long runs by selling the fake or setting up the play well. He's not a player you want on designed runs I guess, but I have had a 30-yard run from him out of the read option before, and I play on Heisman mode.
Donte Moncrief is probably underrated in the game, since he is rated maybe 88 or 89. Vincent Sanders is at 87 though, so it's kinda cool to have two receivers who are neck-a-neck so you don't have to isolate one in your playcalling strategy. JaMes Logan always demolishes his slot in the corner too because of how high he is rated and how low most nickel corners are rated.
The running game overall is much improved. The new game's physics are a tremendous step up, making the game more challenging yet more similar to what one would expect. The Ole Miss offensive line is probably a little too good. I like our OL in real life, but they're too good in this game. It just seems that way at least.
Defensively, Robert Nkemdiche is fun to play with. He's fast, strong, and he recovers well when he over-pursues, which is exactly what you want out of an end. CJ Johnson was the sack leader in the season I just played, which mirrors what he did for this team last season. In the secondary, Senquez Golson has had the biggest impact in the game for me with five picks in my season.
Mike Marry is slow in coverage, but a very good player. He makes lots of tackles for loss. The one player that sticks out the most for me - and not in a good way - is Issac Gross. In this game he's kindof a mediocre D tackle and he's no faster than any of the other starters. He's just average, which is disconcerting considering how well he played last season due to his quick first step.