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NCAA 09: An Ole Miss Review

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NOTE: If I figure out how to save XBox screen captures, I'll post some pictures 'n' shit. For now, this is purely textual.

My addiction to pixellated Ole Miss football recently relapsed with a purchase of EA Sports' NCAA 09. As mentioned in a previous post, I was anticipating this game to be the most improved of the series thus far and, after a few days of playing, it is yet to disappoint. The game runs incredibly smoothly compared to the 2008 version and, as far as parity and difficulty of play are concerned, is much more accurate to actual NCAA football. Overall, I am extremely pleased. The only real gripes I have with the game as of right now are (as always) poor evaluation of our players (Mike Wallace with 90 speed? Really?) and seemingly frivolous changes. For example, on the XBox 360, the RB receiver has been switched to LB and now RB is a button used to throw the ball away. While it may seem silly, I have had a hard time getting adjusted to this change. For the first couple of days of playing I garnered several incredibly frustrating intentional grounding penalties. Why EA decided this needed changing is beyond me.

Besides all of that, Ole Miss is pretty fun to play with in the game. While no players, save Michael Oher, are off-the-charts good, there are a lot who are very fun to play with. Cordera Eason breaks tackles well and is a solid back. Enrique Davis is one of the fastest players on the team. The defensive line underachieves a bit, in my opinion, but they're still a lot of fun to work with. Jevan Snead throws the ball fairly accurately and has decent mobility. Shay Hodge is a very reliable receiver and Dexter McCluster moves fairly well. Speaking of McCluster, one can run the WildRebel (or, as some have put it, the McClusterfuck) in this game and, if your timing is good, utilize it with some success.

Thus far I've played the first six weeks of the upcoming Ole Miss season and am sitting on a better-than-anticipated 5-1 record. My only loss came to a South Carolina team which I simply couldn't keep out of the endzone. The wins over Vanderbilt and Florida were incredibly tough and, especially in the case of Florida, riddled with good luck streaks. If this video game is any sort of indicator of the upcoming season, we will need 2 INT's (one for a pick 6) thrown by Tebow, a successful Hail Mary throw to Mike Wallace, and a missed Florida field goal to eke out the Gators in the swamp.

It's been fun so far and I imagine that the new "Online Dynasty" feature will give me yet another excuse to waste a few hours every afternoon.