You are looking live at the fourth annual EA Sports NCAA Football season simulation, a major offseason landmark and much-anticipated sign that the college football season is fast approaching.
It's also the perfect storm, one where our extreme "nerdom" for both video games and football collide in a bizarre pixelated vortex.
With the launch of NCAA Football 14 on Tuesday, July 9, comes an important exercise: Simulate the season ahead using the inimitable forecasting powers of a video game and document what college football’s ultimate predictor has to say.
Although our 2012 season simulation did not produce the most memorable results—let’s just forget about that BCS championship pick (Oklahoma 42, USC 28) and move on—the weekly simulations from the 2012 campaign produced a record of 51-22. The game indeed has powers, magical ones, and I am confident these powers will translate to the latest version.
As for the simulation, please take note that the PS3 was the game system used. This is typically one of the most frequent questions asked and appears to be strangely important to many of you. Xbox has been the featured platform in the past, but we’re riding the momentum gained on the system used a year ago.
The bar has been raised.
As for roster management, very few changes had to be made manually. The one important item of note comes out of South Bend at quarterback. Everett Golson’s 2013 departure from Notre Dame was the lone major alteration, and it has been accounted for in the game.
Spoiler alert: Let's just say it is a notable change.
As always, this exercise has not been doctored or altered whatsoever. I take my video game simulations quite seriously, thank you, and the results and records are exactly as they appeared on the game for this one and only simulation.
Here are the awards, records, bowls and, of course, the final BCS National Championship Game picks, according to NCAA 14.
Football is coming, friends.
Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller posts video game-like numbers in, well, a video game.
His season—highlighted by a mammoth 46 touchdowns—is good enough for the coveted Heisman. And Ohio State is just getting started in the hardware department.
The full Heisman top five, including a lovely podium visit from a Georgia Tech player and the MAC, is included below. No, really.
NCAA 14 is feisty, it seems.
- Braxton Miller (QB, Ohio State): 3,483 passing yards, 795 rushing yards, 46 touchdowns
- Jordan Lynch (QB, Northern Illinois): 2,978 passing yards, 1,006 rushing yards, 48 touchdowns
- Vad Lee (QB, Georgia Tech): 1,725 passing yards, 1,101 rushing yards, 32 touchdowns
- Connor Shaw (QB, South Carolina): 3,146 passing yards, 753 rushing yards, 41 touchdowns
- T.J. Yeldon (RB, Alabama): 1,108 rushing yards, 396 receiving yards, 20 touchdowns
If you play for Ohio State, there’s a pretty good chance you’re on this list.
Please note that Jadeveon Clowney’s 32.5 tackles for loss (and countless virtual helmets destroyed) were not good enough to make the cut.
- Maxwell: Braxton Miller (QB, Ohio State)
- Walter Camp: Braxton Miller (QB, Ohio State)
- Bednarik: Nevin Lawson (CB, Utah State)
- Nagurski: Scott Crichton (DE, Oregon State)
- O’Brien: Braxton Miller (QB, Ohio State)
- Walker: T.J. Yeldon (RB, Alabama)
- Biletnikoff: Amari Cooper (WR, Alabama)
- Mackey: Gerald Christian (TE, Louisville)
- Outland: Anthony Steen (G, Alabama)
- Rimington: Corey Linsley (C, Ohio State)
- Lombardi: Scott Crichton (DE, Oregon State)
- Thorpe: Bradley Roby (CB, Ohio State)
- Lou Groza: Jordan Williamson (K, Stanford)
- Ray Guy: Kyle Christy (P, Florida)
Well, that escalated quickly. Take your forecast for the ACC in 2013, turn it upside down and that’s basically what the game foresees.
Paul Johnson’s tremendous usage of Twitter (I mean, just look at this) translates into a marvelous season, while Clemson, Virginia Tech, Florida State and Miami all finish behind Virginia and Boston College.
Heck yes, NCAA 14 is hitting on 17. Try to stop us, dealer.
- Georgia Tech 13-1
- Virginia 8-5
- Boston College 7-6
- Clemson 8-6
- Virginia Tech 8-5
- Florida State 8-5
- Miami 8-5
- Wake Forest 8-5
- Maryland 8-5
- Syracuse 6-6
- North Carolina 5-7
- N.C. State 6-6
- Duke 3-9
- Pittsburgh 4-8
Tajh Boyd (QB, Clemson): 3,070 yards passing, 456 yards rushing, 26 total touchdowns, 15 interceptions
Duke Johnson (RB, Miami): 1,117 yards rushing, 557 yards receiving, 11 total touchdowns
Stefon Diggs (WR, Maryland): 72 catches, 1,172 yards receiving, 10 touchdowns
Yes, this is an actual name of a conference, and this conference will debut in 2013. If you’ve yet to catch up on expansion happenings, now might be the appropriate time, buddy.
The artist formerly known as the Big East watches its best team crumble in an unlikely spot. Louisville’s unbeaten season comes undone against Houston in Week 12, and it crushes all hopes for a BCS championship run.
After the top two teams, this one isn't easy on the eyes.
- Louisville 11-2
- Cincinnati 10-3
- Connecticut 8-5
- Houston 7-6
- UCF 7-5
- Rutgers 5-7
- Temple 5-7
- SMU 4-8
- USF 4-8
- Memphis 4-8
Teddy Bridgewater (QB, Louisville): 2,751 yards passing, 795 yards rushing, 40 total touchdowns, six interceptions
Jeremy Johnson (WR, SMU): 80 catches, 1,277 yards, 12 touchdowns
Lyle McCombs (RB, Connecticut): 1,032 rushing yards, 543 receiving yards, 12 total touchdowns
Although Texas loses the Red River Shootout for the 456th consecutive year—it’s not that long of a losing streak, but the scoring has certainly felt like it—it's the only conference loss for the Longhorns.
It's also good enough for the conference title and a trip to a BCS bowl.
The Mack Brown hot seat watch cools to room temperature, at least until next season. Suddenly, the exercise starts up yet again.
- Texas 11-2
- Oklahoma 11-2
- Oklahoma State 9-4
- West Virginia 7-6
- Texas Tech 8-5
- Kansas State 8-5
- Baylor 7-6
- TCU 6-7
- Kansas 3-9
- Iowa State 2-10
David Ash (QB, Texas): 3,025 passing yards, 393 rushing yards, 28 total touchdowns
John Hubert (RB, Kansas State): 1,162 rushing yards, 344 receiving yards, 13 total touchdowns
Eric Ward (WR, Texas Tech): 77 catches, 1,498 yards, 14 touchdowns
Here’s where things get interesting and controversy begins to brew.
Ohio State’s lone loss in 2013 doesn’t come to Michigan, Northwestern or Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game, but rather Iowa. Yes, that Iowa, the one with nine wins in 2013.
The massive upset has major implications on the BCS championship picture, which will be evident soon enough.
- Ohio State 13-1
- Michigan State 10-4
- Iowa 9-4
- Nebraska 10-3
- Indiana 8-5
- Northwestern 5-7
- Minnesota 8-5
- Michigan 6-7
- Wisconsin 6-7
- Illinois 5-7
- Purdue 4-8
- Penn State 4-8
Taylor Martinez (QB, Nebraska): 2,142 passing yards, 974 rushing yards, 35 total touchdowns
Venric Mark (RB, Northwestern): 987 rushing yards, 478 receiving yards, 16 total touchdowns
Jared Abbrederis (WR, Wisconsin): 59 catches, 949 yards, 11 touchdowns
Out steps Everett Golson, in steps Tommy Rees at quarterback for the Irish. Put down that vomit bag, concerned Notre Dame fan; the results are outstanding.
Also, there's much more to come here.
For BYU, the results are not nearly as favorable. In fact, why don’t you borrow that Notre Dame vomit bag for a bit, just in case.
- Notre Dame 10-3
- Navy 9-4
- Army 8-5
- Old Dominion 7-5
- New Mexico State 3-9
- BYU 3-9
- Idaho 0-12
Tommy Rees (QB, Notre Dame): 3,058 passing yards, 205 rushing yards, 29 total touchdowns
George Atkinson III (RB, Notre Dame): 837 yards rushing, 475 yards receiving, 10 total touchdowns
Cody Hoffman (WR, BYU): 54 catches, 873 yards, 11 touchdowns
Magnificent #MACtion gets its own results page in 2013, and if you’re not watching midweek MAC football, you’re making horrible life choices. Don’t make horrible life choices.
Jordan Lynch’s magnificent season for Northern Illinois is overshadowed by an 11-win season for Buffalo. Three teams finish with at least 10 wins in the conference.
Oh, MAC. You never disappoint.
- Buffalo 11-3
- Northern Illinois 12-2
- Ball State 10-3
- Bowling Green 7-6
- Ohio 6-6
- Toledo 6-6
- Western Michigan 6-6
- Kent State 5-7
- Akron 2-10
- Central Michigan 4-8
- Miami (OH) 2-10
- UMass 2-10
- Eastern Michigan 2-10
Tyler Tettleton (QB, Ohio): 2,255 yards passing, 433 yards rushing, 26 touchdowns
Trayion Durham (RB, Kent State): 1,140 yards rushing, 233 yards receiving, 18 total touchdowns
Willie Snead (WR, Ball State): 63 catches, 1,038 yards, eight touchdowns
It’s a strange season for the Pac-12, one that results in a combined 10 losses for Stanford and Oregon. If you’re predicting this to transpire, apparently you have company. Up and down the standings, it’s not all that pretty.
USC wins more games than anyone in the Pac-12 in 2013, cooling yet another hot seat. Until it catches fire again.
- Stanford 9-5
- USC 10-4
- Oregon 8-5
- Washington 9-4
- Oregon State 8-5
- Colorado 5-7
- UCLA 7-6
- Arizona 7-6
- Arizona State 6-7
- Utah 5-7
- Washington State 3-9
- Cal 3-9
Marcus Mariota (QB, Oregon): 2,687 yards passing, 698 yards rushing, 31 touchdowns
Ka'Deem Carey (RB, Arizona): 1,319 yards rushing, 361 yards receiving, 19 total touchdowns
Marqise Lee (WR, USC): 68 catches, 1,280 yards, 13 touchdowns
Alabama’s 45-38 win over Texas A&M in Week 3 lives up to its "Game of the Year" billing, and it also sparks an electric regular-season run for Nick Saban and his crew.
Real life, video game—it doesn’t matter at this point. I’d love to dazzle you with some bizarre, unique projections in the SEC, but NCAA 14 won’t allow it.
It knows better.
- Alabama 14-0
- South Carolina 12-2
- Florida 10-3
- Missouri 8-5
- Georgia 9-4
- Ole Miss 9-4
- Texas A&M 9-4
- Auburn 7-6
- Mississippi State 7-6
- Kentucky 3-9
- Vanderbilt 4-8
- Tennessee 6-6
- LSU 5-7 (readies mailbox for video game hate mail)
- Arkansas 5-7
AJ McCarron (QB, Alabama): 4,076 yards passing, 178 yards rushing, 44 total touchdowns
Todd Gurley (RB, Georgia): 1,188 yards rushing, 341 yards receiving, 13 total touchdowns
Amari Cooper (WR, Alabama): 1,547 yards receiving, 21 total touchdowns
Let us not forget that the mascot included in this image is an actual mascot for an actual bowl game. That nightmare fuel of a potato is one of the many reasons you watch college football.
Of course the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl is important, much like the other non-BCS bowls, which provide a wonderful buffer between you and your family during the holidays.
- Gildan New Mexico Bowl: Colorado State 31, Arizona 17
- Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Ball State 31, Utah State 9
- San Diego Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl: San Diego State 27, TCU 21
- Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl: Maryland 38, Florida Atlantic 26
- R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: UAB 17, Arkansas State 16
- MAACO Las Vegas Bowl: Fresno State 24, Oregon State 17
- Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl: UTEP 20, San Jose State 17
- Little Caesars Pizza Bowl: Northern Illinois 31, Wake Forest 28 (OT)
- Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl: Kansas State 38, Oregon 20
- Military Bowl: Navy 27, Bowling Green 10
- Belk Bowl: Virginia Tech 45, Arizona State 28
- AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl: Miami 31, Houston 3
- Russell Athletic Bowl: Boston College 34, Connecticut 10
- Meineke Car Care Bowl: Baylor 42, Michigan 28
- Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl: Boise State 27, ECU 14
- Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: UCLA 34, Cincinnati 12
- Valero Alamo Bowl: USC 40, West Virginia 3
- Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: Minnesota 37, Texas Tech 31
- Franklin American Music City Bowl: Auburn 17, Florida State 10
- Hyundai Sun Bowl: Washington 20, Clemson 10
- AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Mississippi State 27, Marshall 3
- Chick-fil-A Bowl: Ole Miss 27, Virginia 24 (OT)
- Capital One Bowl: Iowa 41, Florida 14
- Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl: Texas A&M 48, Indiana 14
- Heart of Dallas Bowl: Western Kentucky 38, Wisconsin 21
- Outback Bowl: Nebraska 38, Missouri 31
- AT&T Cotton Bowl: Georgia 35, Oklahoma State 30
- GoDaddy.com Bowl: Buffalo 24, Troy 17
- BBVA Compass Bowl: Army 35, UL Monroe 13
Bob Stoops and Mack Brown win BCS bowls in the same season, and please don’t exit yet—you’re almost at the end.
Adding to the madness, Georgia Tech caps off its ridiculous simulation run by conquering Clowney and the Ol' Ball Coach in the Orange Bowl.
Please take note of the one-loss Big Ten representative in the Rose Bowl. This part is important.
- Discover Orange Bowl: Georgia Tech 30, South Carolina 20
- Allstate Sugar Bowl: Oklahoma 48, Louisville 38
- Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: Texas 24, Michigan State 13
- Rose Bowl: Ohio State 30, Stanford 7
Alabama 42, Notre Dame 30
No need to adjust your screen; this is the proper year and proper result. According to NCAA 14, there will indeed be a BCS National Championship Game rematch to celebrate the death of the BCS. What a fitting way to go out.
Two-loss Notre Dame gets in above all others, and the Ohio State hate mail is just warming up.
Taking this coincidence one step further, Alabama scores 42 points in this game for the second consecutive season. We’ve had weird simulation results in the past, but this is perhaps the most bizarre.
Thrown into the starting role, Tommy Rees plays incredibly well in this game for the Irish. His 278 yards and three touchdown passes, however, are not enough. On the other side, wide receiver Amari Cooper caps off his ridiculous season with a ridiculous stat line for Alabama: 10 catches, 217 yards and three touchdowns.
Once more, with feeling: