I used to be a prettty avid fan of NCAA Football (the video game series!) up until the 2006 edition, which is when consoles got fancier and I didn't keep up. I got the latest iteration every year despite the fact that it was just a video game about football and there really wasn't a whole lot that could change from version to version unless they started making up new rules to football. Not that the developers didn't drag their feet knowing they had tapped into a frenzied market willing to throw money at anything college football related two months before the season started. I just didn't care, frankly. The roster updates were good enough for me.
I don't play the game anymore, but whatever bit of residual giddiness that's left gets a jolt every year on the day the team and player ratings are inevitably leaked onto the internet. That day was yesterday, as some intrepid folks at Tradition Sports Online managed to sneak some screen shots of team rosters during the E3 Expo. And holy cow is Wisconsin going to be good this season.
The Badgers are just one of five teams to earn an overall 99 rating, joining LSU, Oregon, Texas and USC. The offense checks in at a 97, which is pretty damn high but not wholly unreasonable considering what they have been able to do the past two seasons. The defense earned a 95, however, which would put them on the same level of Alabama, Florida State, LSU and Ohio State, among others. Methinks we're a just a smidge overrated, but at least it means the developers are paying some attention to Wisconsin's success instead of just giving everyone an 82 and moving on to more important things like animating Chief Osceola's head piece.
You can find shots of several other team rosters here. I took the liberty of pulling out the available Badger players:
faux-Montee Ball: 98
faux-Chris Borland: 94
faux-Jacob Pedersen: 93
faux-Ricky Wagner: 93
faux-Travis Frederick: 93
faux-Jared Abbrederis: 91
faux-James White: 91
faux-Rob Havenstein: 89
faux-Casey Dehn: 89
It's nice to see that EA Sports has the same probably unreasonable expectations for Pedersen that I do. And if you think White is a tad too high, check the RB ratings for every other team. College football will be packed with stud running backs next season, apparently.
I'd like to say this is a sign of Wisconsin's ever-strengthening foothold as a college football power but ... no screw it, this is a sign of Wisconsin's ever-strengthening foothold as a college football power.
So Jim Delany said that the Big Ten would keep the status quo re: playoffs if it had the choice, and that the preference now would be to select the Top 4 teams for the semifinals regardless of whether or not they won their conference. All of this has resulted in a collective "wut?" from people who write about these things.
Stewart Mandel says the Big Ten embarassed itself. Delany even managed to piss off the usually unflappable Adam Rittenberg:
"A computer doesn't have an eye," Delany said. "So an eye test is missing if there is an injury" or other issues with a contender. Delany also said the impetus for change is that the BCS "has been battered and criticized" and treated "like a piñata" for the past 15 years. So to reiterate: The Big Ten's No. 1 preference would be to keep a current system that everybody hates and which uses a totally bankrupt formula to select its teams. Gotcha.
Plus-one is still getting thrown around for some reason, though I think we're too far down the four-team rabbit hole for that to gain any more traction. The Big Ten is still behind a selection committee, which I think is a good thing. By next week they'll support a Hunger Games-style showdown between long snappers to determine the final semifinalist.
Anyway, this is all a moot point because Delany and Larry Scott, and the B1G and Pac 12, already have plans to take over the world (literally) and can't be bothered with playoff trifles right now, according to this seriously good read from Eleven Warriors.
More well done conspiracy-theorying, this time via Black Heart Gold Pants. And Chik-Fil-A is just a chicken sandwich.
CONFESSIONS OF AN SEC FAN TO A BIG TEN FAN - Spencer Hall, EDSBS. You should read this, obviously.
Ball had one of the Top 5 individual seasons in the Big Ten of the last 50 years, according to Brian Bennett. Ron Dayne made the also-ran list.
Jarrod Uthoff is transferring to Iowa, which we should have seen coming all along because HE IS A DOUBLE AGENT.
Peter Konz earned the Big Ten Medal of Honor for excellence in academics and athletics.
Nick Toon is excelling in OTAs with the New Orleans Saints.