Another anniversary of NCAA Football 14 has come and gone. The game turned 5 years old on July 9th, with it being the last iteration before the series was cancelled. NCAA 14 still lives on today, with dedicated fans still making roster updates and even a playoff format mod for PS3 and XBOX 360. The community is still strong, and the game is definitely still playable despite only being available for older gen consoles.
Rumors have come up from time to time of the possibility of a new college football video game series. In September of 2017, Playstation aired a commercial featuring Joey Bosa, Urban Meyer, Deshaun Watson, Derrick Henry, and Jim Harbaugh, with lines such as “Come back stronger” and “Are you ready?” While it seemed like this was a surefire teaser for an upcoming NCAA game on PlayStation, nothing since has came from the commercial.
Possibly a more promising tease is the rumors of an upcoming game called ‘Gridiron Champions,’ being developed by iMackulate Vision Gaming. The game is set to release in 2020 for XBox, Playstation, and Steam. While it can’t legally have officially licensed teams and players because of our good pals Ed O’Bannon and the NCAA, you’ll have full customization over teams, rosters, and basically every aesthetic aspect in the game. And, with the game being set to release on newer consoles with better online features, it should be pretty easy to download user made rosters and leagues if you don’t want to take the time to do it yourself.
But, for now, we have no current NCAA games, and we haven’t for the past five seasons. That’s five whole seasons of missing out on playing as your current favorite players. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the more fun teams and players that we missed out on playing as since the release of NCAA Football 14.
2016 Louisville Cardinals
This could also be considered just 2016 Lamar Jackson. The read option is the best part of NCAA football. Having a dual threat quarterback made the game so much more fun and the team so much better. What better player to encapsulate that style of play than Lamar Jackson. Any version of him would easily be one of the better choices to play as, but his Heisman season makes the most sense. With crazy speed and a huge arm as well, you could carry Louisville just through the ACC just like Jackson had to do.
2015-16 Ohio State Buckeyes
The Buckeyes only lost 1 game in 2015. With both an explosive offense and a dominant defense, it would probably be one of the more unfair teams to use. The combo of Braxton Miller and Ezekiel Elliot on offense would be fun on its own, but throw in Michael Thomas and Curtis Samuel and you’re probably putting up 50 a game. Then on defense you’ve got Bosa, Raekwon McMillan, and Eli Apple. Dominant.
2018-19 Arizona Wildcats
Similar to the Louisville team, this one’s all about the quarterback. Khalil Tate is expected to have a breakout year as a dual threat quarterback for Arizona. In 2017, Tate threw for 14 touchdowns and rushed for another 12. His 3,002 scrimmage yards was electrifying to watch. An underdog team like Arizona with Tate as quarterback would be a fun team to start a dynasty with.
2016-17 Clemson Tigers
Clemson, led by Deshaun Watson, went on to win the 2016 National Championship over Alabama with a dynamic passing game. Watson had some studs to throw to in Mike Williams and Deion Cain. And, with Wayne Gallman in the backfield, the National Champion Tigers are an easy addition to the wishlist.
2016-17 Penn State Nittany Lions
2017’s version of Penn State would also work here, but 2016 was Saquon Barkley’s more entertaining year. Being able to play as the best running back since the game was cancelled would be a treat. Barkley’s ratings would have been through the roof. While we get to use him in this year’s Madden, Barkley’s dominance will always be rooted in his time at Penn State.
2016-17 Alabama Crimson Tide
This list wouldn’t be complete without an Alabama team, and this one has the best defense since NCAA 14. It’s loaded with current NFL starters: Johnathan Allen, Minkah Fitpatrick, Reuben Foster, Marlon Humphrey, Da’Ron Payne. On the flip side, you’ve got Jalen Hurts alongside Bo Scarborough and Damien Harris, with Calvin Ridley, Ardarius Stewart, and O.J. Howard out wide. This would probably be the most complete team you could have in any version of the game.
2016-17 Texas Tech Red Raiders
Big offenses are always fun in video games, so of course there’s going to be a Big 12 team. Patrick Mahomes led the Raiders to 567 yards per game in 2016, while the defense surrendered about as much. This team would be another good dynasty starter to try and turn into a perennial powerhouse, but it would be especially fun playing with Mahomes and wideout Johnathan Giles.
2015-16 Houston Cougars
Greg Ward Jr, now a wide receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles, was a stud at QB for Houston. In 2015, Ward had his best overall year. He posted 21 passing touchdowns AND 21 rushing touchdowns. If you haven’t picked up on the theme yet, dual threat QB’s are the best part of any NCAA game, and Ward Jr. would be an awesome addition to the list. On the flip side of the ball, you’ve got Ed Oliver, who’s currently projected as one of the top 2019 draft picks. With two stars on offense and defense, you’re set up for a dynasty that could last you a long time.
I’m sure I left some other great options off the list, so let me know who else you’d want to run with in NCAA Football on Twitter @DominiciPerry.