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My secret summer obsession: NCAA Football 12


I have to admit that even as an “adult” … I think I qualify on most definitions of the word … I have not been able to kick the video game habit.  I am a fairly avid gamer and usually my drug of choice is the EA NCAA Football Series.  It is a game that I obsess over and play virtually year round and even though I am a bit more of a Kentucky basketball fan, John Calipari’s team is no match in getting attention on my XBOX 30.

Why am I obsessed with the game?  First of all, I have to say that it s the deep “dynasty mode”.  Every July, I “fire” Joker Phillips or previously Rich Brooks and insert myself as the head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats.  You handle all the recruiting, can set custom schedules ( I still find room for the Indiana Hoosiers every season) and lead your team towards an NCAA title.

I must say, my gamer success is a bit better than the onfield product.  In my latest dynasty with NCAA Football 11, I managed to finish five seasons and brought home four SEC Titles and 3 NCAA Championships to Lexington.  And damned if Ohio State did not offer me their head coaching job after I beat them in two straight NCAA Title games.  I took great pleasure in turning it down.

What I want to do for you tonight is look at the game from a Kentucky fans standpoint and look at a few things concerning the Wildcats and how the game applies to them.


On this aspect, the game is a little lacking as EA Sports is going with an obviously older roster.  Donald Russell’s #23 and profile still make up the starting HB position for UK and Tyler Brause (now a LB) is listed as the backup QB.  The FB positions are assigned to Christian Hudnell (#37 -CB) and Mychael Bailey (#41 – FS).  Nick Melillo is listed as the starting TE ahead of Jordan Aumiller.  WR Gene McCaskill is not listed anywhere, probably due to an injury last year.

For most people playing, this will not affect the level of fun on the game.  If you are a hard core gamer, you know to wait download an “updated real names” roster which will be more accurate and even include some of the incoming freshmen.  I always wait to start my dynasty until I get that :real name roster” and I tinker with the starting lineup to make it as real as possible.  If you don’t know how to get a “real name roster”, email or comment me.


The look of the game is amazing.  Commonwealth Stadium looks amazing in HD and the game pay is as smooth as it has ever been.  Don’t expect the new Wildcat uniforms and the best best for that is to see if anyone creates them along with the real name rosters.  Also left out was the big scoreboard at Commonwealth.  Part of the thrill of the game is that they have incorporated a lot of the real life pre-game rituals by teams into the gameplay.  Kentucky’s is still kind of generic, but maybe that will change sometime.

I know it is impossible to expect perfection, but seeing how Nike works with EA Sports, it would have been nice to get the new uniforms for Kentucky.  When I reserved my game, I was given a code that allowed me up update yet another Florida Gator’s uniform and the game gives the “big name schools” several uniform options.  Hopefully EA will make the new uniforms available as a future possible download.


For what seems like every year, Kentucky is given a *** prestige rating out of ****** and UK earns sold “B’s” across the board in overall, offense, and defense.  By comparison, Vandy is a  ** prestige school and is rated B- on offense and C+ defense for an overall B- rating.  In retrospect, the rating seems fair for Kentucky being a middle of the road team that is a little over .500 historically.

Individually, a few players stand out for Kentucky.  Danny Trevathan is rated as Kentucky’s best player with a 91 rating.  Morgan Newton is something of a surprise as he gets a 86 overall and 87 speed rating.  Winston Guy also gets a respectable 88 rating with a 91 speed.  Kentucky’s offensive line may be a bit under-rated as they all had individual ratings in the 85 range.  The big surprise for me is that Coshik Williams has a 94 speed rating, while Raymond Sanders has a 91.  The one thing I do like about the ratings is that Kentucky’s speed as a whole is a lot faster as I counted seven players with a speed rating over 90 and seven more at a 88-89 speed.

I can’t complain about the ratings for Kentucky.  We are rated slightly ahead of Louisville (barely) and teams that are in the EA sports Top 20 have overall B+ scores.  In other words, a nice 4-5 game winning streak tends to get Kentucky ranked in the dynasty mode, just like real life.  I have to say that my first game out of the gate, I played Louisville in an exhibition game and spanked them 17-0.  Just like in real life.


In my opinion, this is the meat of the game and EA Sports has made it even deeper this year.  They have a much improved “Road to Glory” where you can play the entire high school season and even customize your schedule.  I am a real geek and looked at the Madisonville North Hopkins schedule and took the time to create the teams along with colors, and it definitely adds a lot to the game.

You can play both sides of the ball (I am playing as a HB and MLB) and nine games in, I have a **** rating as a HB and a *** as a LB.  It’s a blast to watch the offers as schools add you to their wach list and you can earn scholarships.  I have moved into the ESPN “Top 150” as a HB now and am getting offers from schools like Alabama and Florida.  I am not that into the LB mode, so I simulate about half my plays defensively to make the games go faster and a game only takes about 15 minutes.  The game simulates the time you are not on the field to make it go faster.

There is a chance in the regular dynasty as well. You can start your “career” as an offensive or defensive co-ordinator and move up to accept other offers.  I started my career as the offensive co-ordinator for Western Kentucky and I have to say, my offensive play led to a 21-14 upset over Kentucky, so my stock is on the rise.

I have not played the actual dynasty as Kentucky yet because I am waiting for the real name rosters, but as you can see there is a lot do do in this game.  I especially like the fact that you can change the conferences and make “super conferences” and play the season that way.  For my one simulation, I added Notre
Dame and Miami to the SEC for a 14 team conference, but you are free to do whatever you want. 

Another plus is the online dynasty mode where you can play your friends in a super conference or just play the regular season out.  I do play online some and love the aspect, but have gotten tired of getting my ass handed to me by random 14 year olds, so I tend to play online with just real life friends.


Another aspect of the game is that it measures the fanhood of your team.  When you set up a game, you pick your favorite team.  As you play the games, you earn points for your school depending on how well you play.  Thanks to the BBN, Kentucky always fares pretty well.  As of writing, Kentucky was ranked #29th in the standings.  For a comparison, Louisville was 40th.  When the regular season starts, this will pit Kentucky fans versus Louisville fans in their activity points and the team with the most will win.  It’s kind of geeky, but there is nothing special you have to do to participate.

I know this was a long review that about maybe 30% of my readers will appreciate, but I wanted to pay homage to one of my favorite past times.  And if you are new to the game, do not be afraid about diving in.  The game features a easy “one button play” mode to get you used to the game enough where you can graduate to play calling and such.  I hope you enjoyed this.  I’d like to hear from any other gamers and if you are on XBOX LIVE, look me up at orlandokat32746.

Keep following www.http://wildcatbluenation.com for the best in Kentucky basketball and football news, rumors, and opinions. By Kentucky fans for Kentucky fans