EA Sports' NCAA Football franchise finally moved out from under big brother Madden's shadow with the 2011 edition.
It included a new running style, ESPN animations and replays, authentic team entrances and 120 ways to win. It was a breath of fresh air after the bland and sometimes boring 2009 and 2010 games.
Having said that, even with all of the great advancements, there were still many things holding it back. The critically acclaimed TeamBuilder still leaves something to be desired, and the defense has been neglected for some time now in both NCAA and Madden.
Here are a few ideas that if initiated could make NCAA Football 2012 the greatest football game of all time.
The smokescreen at Miami and the touching of Howard's Rock at Clemson are great, but there are many other great entrances throughout the nation.
Even if you can't find any spectacular entrances at some school, at least make more than one boring generic entrance.
As a Georgia Bulldogs fan, I felt left out in 2010 when the Redcoat Band forming the Arch wasn't included in the game. I'm sure many other fans whose schools have great marching bands felt the same way.
The title is a slight exaggeration, but that side of the ball has not seen any advancements in a long time. Heck, Madden even threw lead blockers a bone in Madden 07, but they couldn't do anything with defense.
At least do something to make it fun. Unless I'm playing a school with a C-minus in offense, it's just frustrating knowing that EA Sports has not programmed your safety to make a smart decision on pass plays or when for some odd reason your linebacker is covering a slot receiver while the safety is covering their large tight end.
In 2011 they finally kicked Lee Corso out of the booth, and Kirk Herbstreit and Brad Nessler just don't live up to their flesh and blood counterparts. I mean, they're so repetitive and random that I just have to turn them off.
Why is it that Brent Musburger isn't in the game? He does the game of the week with Kirk Herbstreit, plus he has the best voice since Keith Jackson.
It wouldn't be a bad idea either if different broadcast groups worked different games, like Todd Blackledge with Brad Nessler and Holly Rowe on the sidelines,and a couple other teams.
Oh, and please get Kirk and Brad a new script—they've had the same lines for years.
One of the coolest things about NCAA Football 11, as well as all of the 2011 EA Sports games, is that the ESPN scoreboard and animations are included.
In the first year that EA Sports did this, what did ESPN do? They changed their animations for college football.
I'm not too hung up on that, but I do think that starting lineups and coaches' interviews at halftime and postgame should be added to broaden the game a little more.
When EA Sports created the "superstar" mode back in 2005, it was one of the coolest ideas for a sports video game in a long time.
Then for NCAA Football 09 the High School Playoffs were added, and in 2010 Erin Andrews came in. After that Road to Glory came to halt.
The least EA could do is have more high school uniforms or maybe have you play out an entire 10-game season with five-minute quarters. You could even go through the entire recruiting process by answering phone calls and going on visits during the week.
Come on EA, this is basic stuff. I'm sure your NCAA team is more than capable of doing this.
Part of me was disappointed when "create a team" was taken away. The TeamBuilder came out, and everything seemed okay. You could not only create a team but also download teams other people had created.
It was cool in 2010, but with no major changes between 2010 and 2011 it started to get boring. The field editor is restricted, and you can't even add logos to the end zones or pick any other turf color than blue.
The uniform creator isn't that great either. No Nike Pro Combat styles, and the pants don't even go with the jerseys they are suppose to match. I'd take it a step further and say that things like camo or TCU's frog skin should be added to the custom unis.
The stadiums have to be by far the worst. There is no stadium editor and only two generics to chose from. The really dumb thing is that the generic stadiums aren't even generic; they are just two different stadiums already on the game. EA should at least create about 10 or 15 generic stadiums of their own if they don't make a stadium editor.
NCAA Football 11 was a great game. It was 10 times better than the ones before it and is still the most fun NCAA game of all time.
Just in case you never found the special edition, here's the cover.
The opening video of the game doesn't have Brad Nessler's speech about the start of the season. Instead it shows the last few minutes of the SEC Championship Game starting with Javier Arenas' pick in the end zone all the way up to Tim Tebow's postgame interview.
He will never live that down
That would've been cool though. It would've sold millions of copies from Ohio to Oklahoma, and from Alabama to Georgia.