Hey everyone. I present this post with a heavy heart. For those who don’t know, Real and I were HUGE NCAA football fans on the PS3. From the moment their dynasty mode was available online, we ran a very successful league that spanned 4 games and 4 years. Divisional rivalries were formed. Trash was talked. Championships were won and lost. Recruits were stolen. Moments were created. And just like that? It was all gone. I doubt many people were sadder than we were upon hearing the NCAA franchise was finished. We still talk about what sports game will fill the void. Madden finally transitioned to online franchises, but we haven’t played since 2010 really. NBA2K hasn’t fully realized their online franchise yet. We’re not huge baseball fans, so I don’t know if MLB The Show is the right fit. In any case, Real summed his feelings up and put them in my email. I was asked to share them with you, so I shall. R.I.P. NCAA Football. Gone too soon.
To my beloved NCAA Football,
I remember in 2005 when I first met you. I was familiar with your big brother, Madden, but I had grown tired of his antics. While I enjoyed the time we spent together, Madden always seemed to be stuck in the same place. True enough, he made money hand over fist, but the quality of his work had begun to wane, causing me to look in another direction. In your direction. I remember hearing the first notes of the FSU fight song played through my surround sound system and I thought to myself, “it can’t possibly get any better than this.” But it did.
See, on the Playstation 2 and original Xbox, you were just getting your legs under you. You had potential, and while still in the shadows of your older brother, I could see what you would be when fully realized. There were a few bumbling steps in your transition to the next generation, but you scored big when you finally grew up and transitioned your excellent “Dynasty” mode into the online infrastructure. There was no more need to find friends to start a league with. You had given me and gamers everywhere the tool to run these dynasties online.
Such a step could have been fatal, but you handled it with ease. You even surpassed your big brother Madden, who still thought that a simple “round robin” mode would get the job done. You let us battle up to eleven other players for recruits, compete for conference and national championships, and form relationships with other players that still carry on to this day. Recruiting would see the best upgrade in future iterations, allowing me to handle the tedious but necessary element of the game from my computer at work. I would spend HOURS looking and scouring for recruits as I knew my competitors were doing the same. Nothing brought me more joy than to see a young high school player I could offer a new scholarship to, who’d then sign immediately because he felt my school was a perfect match for his abilities.
You’d given us everything we could’ve asked for, but the one thing I always wanted was for these memorable moments to be broadcasted. My group of online friends were a tight knit bunch, and while we enjoyed playing the game, we loved trash talking each other even more. Epic tales were spun of last minute touchdowns, game winning interceptions, soul crushing fumbles, and hilariously horrible 4th and 1 missteps. The words were pure, but seeing it would’ve made it the memories that much brighter.
Technology has finally made it possible for these memories to be shared and yet, you are nowhere to be found. The NCAA has been in a bit of hot water lately, after being sued by former players for using their likeness without compensation. Apparently, this has caused the NCAA to sue your creator, EA Sports for using said player likenesses, while putting the NCAA in the position to pay roughly $40 million in a settlement suit with those who brought the suit.
As one who has argued vociferously for the payment of collegiate players in “amateur” sports, I am not upset at what the court has done. But the collateral damage has saddened me. It seemed you were on the brink of greatness, only to be cut down too soon. I have no idea what the future holds for you, but I do find myself hoping that we will meet again some day. If not, I thank you for the memories you have left me with over the course of seven years. You may be gone. But the joyous sounds of trash talk, victory, defeat, and the all around experience of pure unadulterated fun will not be forgotten.
R.I.P. old friend.