If art truly does imitate life, then a simulated season in the widely popular video game NCAA Football 12 should help predict how the Washington Huskies will fare in 2011—turning my XBox 360 into a crystal ball.
In the first installment of an ongoing series, I simulated the upcoming game between UW and the Eastern Washington Eagles (the closest NCAA Football 12 has to Eastern Washington is a team called FCS NW).
NCAA Football 12 allowed me to replicate the conditions at Husky Stadium (clear skies and temperature in the mid 70s) and I never had to hit a button until the end of the game.
Watching the cyber Huskies run out of the tunnel and onto the field got me even more excited for the real college football season, as if that were possible.
During warmups, in-game commentators Brad Nessler and Kirk Herbstreit highlighted MLB No. 31 for UW, better known as Cort Dennison in the real world, where we don't have to worry about preserving his collegiate amateur status and profiting off his likeness.
NCAA Football 12 gave this year's Dawgs the following ratings:
- B+ Offense
- B Defense
- B+ Overall
It's been a long time since the Huskies have graded so well in a video game, validating that last year's winning record and Holiday Bowl victory are restoring the UW football program to prominence.
On the opening drive, the Eagles passed the ball all over the field, as many predict they will on Saturday. The Huskies defense tightened up in the red zone, only giving up three points: 3-0 Eastern Washington.
On the first Husky play from scrimmage, Washington RB No. 1, a.k.a. Chris Polk, broke a 71-yard touchdown run to put the Huskies up 7-3. During the simulated game, Eastern Washington couldn't stop Polk all day, and the punishing back had over 100 yards rushing by the second quarter.
Polk may not play for the Huskies this weekend, giving Eastern Washington a better chance to pull the upset.
A late first-half interception by UW OLB No. 37, or sophomore and first-time starter Princeton Fuimaono, preserved a comfortable 24-10 Washington lead at halftime.
In the second half, the Huskies passing game emerged. Video game QB Keith Price connected with WR Jermaine Kearse for two touchdowns through the air. Price finished with 155 yards on 10-of-16 passing.
The Washington defense smothered Eastern Washington in the second half, and the final score read 38-10, Huskies over the Eagles.
I think Husky fans would love to see that score on Saturday. Eastern Washington, the FCS national champion last year, is no pushover, and the Eagles' passing attack could be problematic for the Huskies' secondary.
However, as NCAA Football 12 showed, the Huskies have plenty of offensive weapons of their own, and the dominant Washington defensive line should manhandle the opposing offensive line by the second half.
My prediction is a Washington win, 31-17.