Virtual Simulation Stimulation: Forecasting the Season with NCAA 13
When I told my wife I was headed to the local Walmart at midnight sharp to pick up a video game, she looked me over like I was insane—perhaps even slightly more so than usual. Following up with a crafted defense that this excursion was “work-related” didn’t necessarily save face, but she understood. Even though she’ll never truly understand, she understands.
With fresh coffee in hand, I was off. NCAA 13 was in my hands 37 minutes later.
For the third consecutive year, I’m using a video game to predict how the college football season will unfold. The results up until this point have been mixed to say the least, but my confidence in EA’s NCAA series remains strong as a simulation device.
Perhaps more impactful than the simulation, however, is the release of the game itself and what it signifies. It’s an offseason milestone, another item to check off your checklist, which is suddenly shrinking expeditiously.
As for the simulation, it’s all very real (or whatever you’d feel comfortable calling it). There is no doctoring of these results. This all took place around 3:30 in the morning, and rigging a video game seems like a bit much, even for the guy strange enough to orchestrate such an event to begin with.
Mild roster adjustments were made to correlate with recent movements (sorry, Georgia fans), but other than that, I’m relaying what the game believes will transpire over the next six months. No player ratings or schedules have been tampered with, and as much as I’d like to see Akron shock the virtual world with a Heisman winner and a BCS victory, that’s simply not the case. Maybe next year, Zips.
Here is what NCAA 13 believes will happen this year. Enjoy, and please direct all “BUT THERE’S NO WAY [YOUR TEAM] COULD BE THIS BAD!” complaints to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lead image courtesy of gameinformer.com.
The Heisman and Other Hardware
Quack, quack, quack. DAT goes HAM and takes home college football's heaviest and most impressive hardware. In the simulation, Chip Kelly decided to leave to coach the Dallas Cowboys in Madden 14 shortly after. I’m kidding, I think.
Your top five was as follows.
1. De’Anthony Thomas (Oregon): 272 carries, 1,370 yards, 39 receptions, 538 yards, 22 total touchdowns
2. Keith Price (Washington): 2,988 yards, 27 touchdowns, four INTs, 330 rushing yards, 11 touchdowns
3. Collin Klein (Kansas State): 2,944 yards, 28 touchdowns, two INTs, 759 rushing yards, seven touchdowns
4. John White (Utah): 204 carries, 1,023 yards, 17 touchdowns, 28 receptions, 417 yards, four touchdowns
5. Ryan Aplin (Arkansas State—yes, that Arkansas State): 2,741 yards, 27 touchdowns, nine INTs, 801 rushing yards, 10 touchdowns
If you had Michigan punter Will Hagerup (the proud owner of this wonderful GIF) taking home more awards than Matt Barkley, you win! You’re also terrible at lying.
Maxwell: Jordan Wynn (QB, Utah)
Walter Camp: De’Anthony Thomas (RB, Oregon)
Bednarik: Andrew Green (CB, Nebraska)
Nagurski: Hayes Pullard (LB, USC)
O’Brien: Jordan Wynn (QB, Utah)
Walker: De’Anthony Thomas (RB, Oregon)
Biletnikoff: Darius Johnson (WR, SMU)
Mackey: Mario Carter (TE, NC State)
Outland: Ricky Wagner (OT, Wisconsin)
Rimington: Khaled Holmes (C, USC)
Lombardi: Wes Horton (DE, USC)
Thorpe: Andrew Green (CB, Nebraska)
Lou Groza: Caleb Sturgis (K, Florida)
Ray Guy: Will Hagerup (P, Michigan)
Alabama fans proceed with caution. In fact, you might as well just take that computer and throw it out the nearest window while simultaneously lighting it on fire. Just remember, these are only—oh no, you’ve already started a fire.
Simulated standings for the SEC are as follows. [runs]
South Carolina 10-3
LSU 9-4 (gulp)
Mississippi State 8-5
Texas A&M 8-5
Alabama 7-6 (double gulp)
Ole Miss 5-7
Tyler Wilson (QB, Arkansas): 3,819 yards, 32 touchdowns, five INTs
Eddie Lacy (RB, Alabama, for those that haven’t began crafting hate mail): 220 carries, 1,248 yards, 11 touchdowns
Russell Shepard (WR, LSU): 56 catches, 1,027 yards, 10 touchdowns
The Big Ten
And now, Ohio State fans have the opportunity to adamantly disagree with a video game. Don't worry, you'll still throw a huge wrench in things by becoming bowl eligible.
Wisconsin has a monster 2012 campaign, and Purdue somehow finishes this year with a 13-1 record! (One of those statements is actually true in sim land. Quick, guess which one.)
Michigan State 8-5
Penn State 6-7
Ohio State 6-7
Denard Robinson (QB, Michigan): 2,662 passing yards, 30 (!!!) touchdowns, seven INTs, 886 rushing yards, seven touchdowns
Montee Ball (RB, Wisconsin): 218 carries, 1,305 yards, 11 touchdowns
Keenan Davis (WR, Iowa): 83 catches, 1,294 yards, 14 touchdowns
If you’re into 3-9 teams, then do we have the conference for you! I’m not pleased seeing college football’s favorite leader Mike Leach in that crew, but NCAA games can sometimes have a challenging time handicapping pirate SWAG. Perhaps this will be a new feature in 2014.
It can only do so much, folks.
Arizona State 5-7
Oregon State 3-9
Washington State 3-9
Matt Barkley (QB, USC): 3,045 yards, 38 touchdowns, four INTs
Stepfan Taylor (RB, Stanford): 189 carries, 1,062 yards, seven touchdowns
Marquess Wilson (WR, Washington State): 71 catches, 1,203 yards, 10 touchdowns
The Big 12
The new-look Big 12 doesn’t look all that differently at the top, and we could certainly see things shaking out as such. Charlie Weis is projected to go 3-9, and he’ll somehow end up making $4 million a year coaching someone's offense not named Kansas in 2013. It's football magic!
Kansas State 10-3
Oklahoma State 9-4
West Virginia 8-5
Texas Tech 8-5
Iowa State 2-10
Landry Jones (QB, Oklahoma): 3,649 yards, 33 touchdowns, eight INTs
John Hubert (RB, Kansas State): 204 carries, 1,162 yards, 14 touchdowns
Kenny Stills (WR, Oklahoma): 94 catches, 1,550 yards, 12 touchdowns
And we have ourselves massive simulation chaos. North Carolina, you weren’t supposed to put together a season like this, and your postseason ban (which is not present in the game, for those curious) presents a sticky situation. Also, Randy Edsall is soooooo virtually fired.
North Carolina 12-2 (Yeah, this is the dynamite in the toilet bowl scenario)
Virginia Tech 8-5
NC State 10-3
Georgia Tech 9-4
Florida State 10-4
Boston College 5-7
Wake Forest 5-7
Mike Glennon (QB, NC State): 3,441 yards, 36 touchdowns (!!!), nine INTs
Giovani Benard (RB, UNC): 205 carries, 1,358 yards, nine touchdowns
Tobias Palmer (WR, NC State): 75 catches, 1,121 yards, 13 touchdowns
The Big East
Don’t worry, Big East. We would never forget about you, not a chance. After looking over these standings, however, let’s just shake hands and go our separate ways for a little bit. I'll go this way, and you just—why are you following me?
We still love you in a disapproving father sort of way.
Tino Sunseri (QB, Pitt): 2,605 yards, 28 touchdowns, 11 INTs
Lyle McCombs (RB, UConn): 210 carries, 1,195 yards, nine touchdowns
Alec Lemon (WR, Syracuse): 69 catches, 1,011 yards, 10 touchdowns
Notre Dame has one of the most grueling schedules in the country, and NCAA 13 thinks the Irish will handle it jusssssssst fine. Quarterback problem? No worries. Oklahoma, USC, Stanford and a cast of other challenging foes? Yawn.
Don’t worry, they’ve got this, and there’s no possibly way any of this could be wrong. Right, Alabama fans?
Notre Dame 11-2
Everett Golson (QB, Notre Dame—hey, look! The starter!): 2,649 yards, 24 touchdowns, eight INTs, 373 rushing yards, one touchdown
Gee Gee Greene: (RB, Navy): 303 carries, 1,769 yards, 14 touchdowns
Cody Hoffman: (WR, BYU): 57 catches, 730 yards, five touchdowns
Non-BCS Bowl Games
I know, I know. You’re absolutely dying to know who won the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. I can feel the excitement oozing through your veins, and thankfully I have answers. Ohio State is included in this mix, and the bowl bans/NCAA 13 simulations only get worse from here.
New Mexico Bowl: Alabama 41, Colorado State 14 (I’ll just leave this right here)
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Louisiana Tech 28, Ohio 17
New Orleans Bowl: FIU 41, Rice 27
Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl: Tulsa 35, Rutgers 17
Poinsettia Bowl: Nevada 31, Eastern Michigan 17
Las Vegas Bowl: Oregon 28, Fresno State 23 (Hmmmm…)
Hawai’i Bowl: Marshall 49, Utah State 30
Independence Bowl: Florida State 38, Boise State 24
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl: BYU 49, Bowling Green 6
Belk Bowl: Clemson 38, Temple 10
Military Bowl: Miami (OH) 31, Navy 24
Holiday Bowl: TCU 42, UCLA 7
Alamo Bowl: Utah 52, Oklahoma State 21 (meh, not NEARLY the 2011 output)
Champs Sports Bowl: Miami (FL) 27, Syracuse 24
Insight Bowl: Michigan State 45, West Virginia 38
Music City Bowl: Florida 31, Georgia Tech 24
Sun Bowl: NC State 31, Stanford 30
Armed Forces Bowl: San Diego State 28, Southern Miss 7
AutoZone Liberty Bowl: UCF 26, Cincinnati 21
Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas: Texas Tech 44, Penn State 21
Chick-fil-A Bowl: Auburn 24, Virginia Tech 19
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: Texas A&M 42, Arkansas State 33
Outback Bowl: South Carolina 42, Iowa 21
Capital One Bowl: Michigan 31, Tennessee 23
Gator Bowl: Georgia 31, Northwestern 3
TicketCity Bowl: Houston 34, Ohio State 31 (damn you, bowl sanctions)
AT&T Cotton Bowl: LSU 31, Texas 21
BBVA Compass Bowl: Louisville 29, Mississippi State 23
GoDaddy.com Bowl: Western Michigan 31, UL Lafayette 14
BCS Bowl Games
Well, North Carolina, you’ve managed to explode the entire simulation with your fine play. Talented jerks, I tell ya. But hey, at least you know it’s authentic now. Apologies to Virginia Tech and Florida State fans everywhere for this confusion and potential virtual letdown.
As for the rest of the BCS games (hey, don’t forget there aren’t many more of these), here they are.
Rose Bowl: Wisconsin 46, Washington 32
Sugar Bowl: Arkansas 45, Nebraska 28
Orange Bowl: North Carolina 38, Pitt 21
Fiesta Bowl: Notre Dame 36, Kansas State 19
BCS Championship: Oklahoma Is Your (Virtual) Champion
Oklahoma 42, USC 28
Landry Jones throws for 375 yards and five touchdowns as Oklahoma is simply too much for the USC offense. Matt Barkley manages to toss three touchdowns, but it is simply not enough. NCAA 13 is takin’ the Sooners.
The visor is victorious, and your “Big Game Bob” jokes are no longer good for a season or two.