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EA Sports NCAA Football '14

The weekend sendoff guides you to the weekend's warm embrace. Shh. Don't fight it.

If you look at NCAA '14 rankings, the path to a threepeat is a formality.
If you look at NCAA '14 rankings, the path to a threepeat is a formality.
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Alright folks, in case you guys haven't picked up on it, the weekend sendoff has kind of evolved into a grab bag piece, where we discuss a topic that's just a bit off the normal path. With EA Sports NCAA Football '14 hitting shelves in just a few days (July 9), it seems like as good a topic as any for this week's sendoff. Last year was the first year that I didn't buy NCAA Football in the last few years, but I think I'll be picking up a copy this year, if only to help me through the doldrums of the next two months.

The theme/tagline/slogan for this year's iteration is "keep it real." Now, maybe I'm just getting cynical in my old age, but I'm not crazy about the tagline. To me, it sounds like your grandpa trying to sound hip. Crazy, "cool kid" lingo aside, I have played the game's demo (available for download now), and boy is it nice to have football on my tv in July (even if it is simulated). Before I give any impressions of this year's edition, though, let's take a look at the rankings for all of the SEC teams.

Team Overall Ranking Offensive Ranking Defensive Ranking
Alabama 99 99 99
Arkansas 88 88 87
Auburn 88 88 90
Florida 90 90 92
Georgia 91 95 88
Kentucky 84 84 83
LSU 93 93 92
Ole Miss 90 91 88
Miss State 88 90 85
Missouri 88 90 87
South Carolina 90 88 90
Tennessee 86 84 88
Texas A&M 91 95 88
Vanderbilt 83 84 82

Couple thoughts on the rankings (especially in light of the "keep it real" catchphrase):

  • Bama's rankings - Laughably strong. Just like real life..
  • Auburn's defense - Fourth best in the SEC? LOLOLOL. Nope.
  • Tennessee might as well be Kentucky or Vanderbilt. Point and laugh.

Aside from the Auburn defense, I'd say EA did a fair job of "keeping it real" in their rankings, as there isn't a whole lot I'd argue over. What do you guys think about the rankings?

As I mentioned, I recently played the demo for NCAA '14, and the first thing that jumped out at me is this is a really pretty game. The player models look way better than they did even two years ago. Also, I'm not sure if the menu interface is specific to the demo or if this is how it will look in the final game, but in my opinion it is a big improvement over previous years' menu systems.

The actual gameplay didn't seem terribly different to me. There is supposed to be some more running animations and improvements to the physics system, but I didn't notice any massive changes in my short play through. One thing that was noticeably absent during my short time playing was the dreaded trampoline linebackers. For the uninitiated, in previous iterations, there was a notoriously bad tendency for linebackers to jump up and knock down or intercept passes that were intended to go 10-20 yards behind them and should have been physically impossible to reach. In my play through, I didn't see a single instance of this, by either defense.

If anybody else has played the demo, please share some of your impressions in the comments, and if any of you fellow gamers are interested, we'll be selecting a commenter to join in on our next post about the game, where we'll discuss comparisons between some real teams and their polygonal doppelgangers.

Finally, I've included the Demo trailer below. I used this one instead of the launch trailer because Bama is bafflingly absent from that one. Also, let me know in the poll below if you'll be picking up a copy of the game this year.