The folks at EA Sports released their second most popular game last week (Madden is No. 1) in NCAA Football '12.
EA prides itself on providing the most realistic sporting games in the business.
Their Madden rosters are updated frequently to mimic what happens in real life, in real games.
EA's NHL franchise has correctly predicted the winner of the Stanley Cup seven of the last nine years.
College Football is a little trickier, as there are many bylaws and amateur rules that have to be closely looked at.
The players in the game are close replicas to the actual players but are not quite the same as it would violate rules, and the real life players don't receive any compensation from the game sales (unlike all other games like Madden, NHL and NBA).
There was even a lawsuit filed in 2009 against EA Sports and the NCAA, but a judge dropped the antitrust case against EA. The NCAA is still on the hook.
Every year EA tries to make the game more realistic, whether it be tackling, throwing, juking or kicking.
It isn't perfect, but every year it gets closer to the real thing.
Even ESPN is fully aboard with Brad Nessler, Kirk Herbstreit, and Erin Andrews doing the commentating, analysis and sideline reporting.
However, it isn't always up to date as Terrelle Pryor is still on Ohio State and Blake Ayles is still on the USC roster, which hinders the credibility of it being life like.
As well with the game not being able to have the same likeness of the actual players, rosters start off at 68 with one slot available per team to create yourself or another capping the rosters at 69. This is 16 roster spots less than the actual 85 scholarship limit in real life.
During USC's dominant run in the Pete Carroll era, EA had always rated USC and its players very high.
NCAA 2006 opening video has USC fans and Tommy Trojan saying the famous EA Sports tagline "EA Sports...It's In the Game!" at the 2004 Orange Bowl.
The 2006 edition was the year after USC won its second National Championship in a row over Oklahoma (now vacated) and featured the return of Matt Leinart (99 overall), Reggie Bush (97 overall), LenDale White (92 overall), Dwayne Jarrett (91 overall), Steve Smith (90 overall) and Darnell Bing (96 overall).
The game rated USC: Offence A+, Defence A-, Overall A+ and Ranked No.1.
After losing the 2005 National Championship game to Texas, EA picked Reggie Bush to be on the cover of the 2007 edition after winning the Heisman Trophy (current players can't be on the cover).
NCAA 2007 was the year when USC lost to rival UCLA in the final week that denied them their third straight shot at the BCS National Championship game appearance and their third National Championship in five years.
This edition included John David Booty (86 overall), Dwayne Jarrett (95 overall), Steve Smith (93 overall), Ryan Kalil (92 overall), Lawrence Jackson (92 overall), Sedrick Ellis (92 overall), Dallas Startz (91 overall), Keith Rivers (88 overall) and Oscar Lua (92 overall).
The game rated USC; Offence A-, Defence A, Overall A and Ranked No. 4.
After winning another Rose Bowl over Michigan in January 2008, USC brought in a new starting quarterback and a much feared defence.
USC went on to win the Rose Bowl over Penn State, but a loss to Oregon State when ranked No. 1 cost USC a birth at the BCS National Championship game and finished ranked second in the coaches poll and third in the AP.
This edition featured Mark Sanchez (95 overall), Stanley Havili (92 overall), Partick Tuner (94 overall), Damian Williams (93 overall), Kyle Moore (94 overall), Fili Moala (95 overall), Brian Cushing (95 overall), Rey Maualuga (99 overall), Kaluka Maiava (90 overall), Cary Harris (91 overall), Kevin Thomas (90 overall), Taylor Mays (99 overall) and Kevin Ellison (99 overall).
The game rated USC; Offence 96, Defence 99, Overall 99 and Ranked No. 4.
After failing to make a BCS Bowl for the first time since 2002, USC won the Emerald Bowl over Boston College.
USC's players and ratings started to take a plunge, though the talent was still being brought in as seen by top recruiting classes. Depth, however, was starting to become an issue.
USC would be bowl ineligible in real life for sanctions levied by the NCAA but in the game, USC could play in a bowl game.
This edition included Matt Barkley (86 overall), Stanley Havili (92 overall), Ronald Johnson (94 overall), Kris O'Dowd (96 overall), Tyron Smith (88 overall), Nick Perry (93 overall), Christian Tupou (90 overall), Jurrell Casey (88 overall), Chris Galippo (90 overall), Shareece Wright (95 overall) and TJ Bryant (90 overall).
The game rated USC: Offence A, Defence B+, Overall A- and Ranked No. 13
Over the next two weeks I will be previewing USC's roster and depth chart as seen on NCAA '12 and let you decide how realistic they are, and I will also give a brief breakdown position by position of how real the game is (there are quite a few surprises).
I also will be doing 100 simulations to see what USC's final record will be and how the Pac-12 stacks up at the end of fall camp.
As well, doing a week to week simulation during each week of the season to see what the outcome will be.
I hope you enjoy!