One of the best features in NCAA Football has always been the dynasty mode. It offers an opportunity for gamers to take over a NCAA football program and lead them through multiple seasons writing your new school’s future.
When you start your dynasty there are multiple ways to go about picking a team, and of course you always have to run one dynasty with your favorite team. For many people that might be enough; to build your team into a national power, or just maintain that 6 star program you’re inheriting beating up on rivals and racking up bowl wins.
But for some this can become dull after a while, so here are a few recommendations for spicing things up and adding longevity to the game.
Play as a team in the SEC.
No matter what conference you are personally a fan of there is little debate about the fact that the SEC is currently the king of the hill in college football. While I don’t personally feel any attachment to any of the teams in the SEC, I do think there is a lot of fun to be found in picking a SEC team to battle it out with the other 11 members of the conference on the field and on the recruiting trails each year.
With that many top notch programs, it is always a challenge to get to the top of the SEC and an even bigger one to stay there. One of the other great things about playing in the SEC is all of the different rivalry games that you can find, no matter who you pick you’re bound to be playing for some rivalry trophies at some point.
Run wild with an independent.
While there are few independent teams left, something can definitely be said for trying to make a run with one of them. Whether you’re trying to bring Army or Navy up into the ranks of elite college football or trying to bring the Golden Domers out of their horrendous downturn they took last year playing with an independent offers a unique experience.
The beautiful thing about playing as an independent is that you get a chance to make your own schedule, so you no longer have to be locked into games against poorer division rivals. This gives you the freedom to play any schedule you choose, scheduling the top 12 ranked schools at the beginning of the year, or taking on a different conference each season, you now have total freedom to have your schedule be whatever you want it to be.
Take a bottom feeder to the top of college football.
This has taken on an entirely new appeal to me. As an alumni of San Diego State I have taken the Aztecs a few seasons into a dynasty every now and then and enjoyed it. However after just recently finding out that in NCAA Football you can actually have non-BCS schools receive invites to BCS conferences I am now on a mission to find a way to get the Aztecs up to the level of the big boys of the Pac 10.
This is a fantastic feature that is hardly talked about, since it’s one thing to pick one of these teams and rule over the Mountain West, the WAC, or even the Sun Belt, but knowing that your team could get called up to the big leagues of one of the major BCS conferences adds much greater appeal.
Speed things up a bit and finish the seasons quicker.
I love advancing through seasons, getting my new recruits, and test driving them out on the field, but after about 6 or so games into the season I find that sometimes it becomes a bit monotonous. Sure I’ve got the Heisman race going on, and the bowl race is starting to get interesting, but overall I’m starting to get a bit bored with the overall game.
In order to keep things interesting start simming through some of your non-ranked, non-rival, couldn’t have a winning season to save their lives, conference opponents. Sure if you’re really focused on winning the Heisman for one of your guys these are the games to rack up the big numbers to do it in, but other than that what’s the point really. Sim away cause you know it’s a victory either way.
This can help keep things fresh because rarely are you playing a game against an opponent you’re not looking forward to playing, and if you’re blowing someone out big early and the game loses its fun, sim the rest of it and move onto the next game.
Take your dynasty online.
While all of the other types of dynasties to be run are great there isn’t another as highly anticipated as the online dynasty. The addition of online dynasties is hands down the biggest feature being added to this years game. Now players from around the country will be able to represent their favorite school online; getting involved in Heisman races, recruiting battles, and making a run at the BCS title or other bowl games.
Obviously there is the idea of spreading out across the nation, having total freedom over whoever you’d like to run your dynasty with and against, but there are also a couple other ways to go other than just slugging it out with the national powerhouses.
Group everyone into one conference online.
You and your buddies decide on a conference and then draw straws for an order to select teams and run a dynasty limiting team selection to just one conference. One of the major complaints of online dynasties has been the fact that you will have to play computer opponents from time to time no matter how you select schools. However if you fill the entire division with human run teams you may have to play or sim some non-conference games against the AI, but you will get to have the entire battle for the conference title be human vs. human matchups.
It might not be for everyone, and it’s likely to be rough on the gamers that get stuck with the Vanderbilts of the conference, but it is one way to minimize the games against AI opponents and have a blast while doing it.
Have everyone play as a school from a non-BCS conference.
Sure we know that Georgia, Ohio State, and USC are loaded with talent, but part of the joy of having over 100 teams in the game can be branching out and finding that diamond in the rough. Playing as one of the non-BCS conference schools will create a more unique matchup when you’re playing online, so you’re not just matching up against the power house schools of the nation every time you log on to play.
These are just a few of the many ways that you can approach the dynasty mode in the upcoming release of NCAA Football 09. What’s your favorite way to run a dynasty? Leave a comment to let us know!
This article was written by Rob Fetter for Operation Sports. Operation Sports is the Internet's leading sports video games resource.