Now that NCAA Football 14 has come into the stores and homes of America, we can learn important aspects of what the preeminent college football simulation believes our Badgers are going to do. As we all know, this is a year of transition. There's a lot of questions that we don't know. And there's only one way to find out. We're going to go to noted Wisconsin Blogger Mike Fiammetta and discuss his experiences with the latest version of EA Sports college football.
1) As someone who loved to run the option in the PS2 era of NCAA Football, the tweaking of the run game has me intrigued. So the question is, did you swap out Joel Stave for Tanner McEvoy, and do you feel that EA has rebuilt their option game?
Mike Fiammetta: Upon throwing in the game, I was excited to see EA's default rosters had McEvoy as the No. 1 quarterback. A pretty savvy, bold move from a game otherwise known for its often lackluster ratings accuracy. After getting a few kinks worked out, I quickly realized 1. Wisconsin could have a nasty option attack with McEvoy, James White and Melvin Gordon, and 2. EA has indeed rebuilt its option game. Each time you're running it, the game gives you an option to have the proper read defender highlighted, so that if you're 1. A novice, or 2. Someone merely enjoying the game after a grueling day of work, you don't have much thinking to do. For more advanced gamers, the feature still has use (it can also be ignored), and the sleek option game makes for some incredibly deep offensive gameplay.
MF: Yeah, umm, remember what I said about an often lackluster approach to ratings accuracy in the first question? Here we go. Yeah, Wisconsin flies under the radar and all that, but at the very least, wouldn't you double-check rating a kicker so highly on a team that's just reached three straight Rose Bowls? I can see a nose tackle like Allen flying under the radar, but Gordon, considering what he did to Nebraska in the Big Ten Championship Game (Wisconsin just scored again), that's kind of weird. I know they have a lot of ratings ground to cover and all that, but c'mon man.
3) A two-part question in regards to the offensive set-up. Give us a rough estimate of how much of the offense is based on the spread, and how often are we going to see both James White and Melvin Gordon on the field at the same time?
MF: A lot can and probably will change by Week 1 vs., but I think we'll see many spread looks, especially once Big Ten play rolls around. I think we'll see White and Gordon on the field together a lot, but I wonder if the coaching staff will find ways to make them the focal points of the offense in different packages and points of the game. One thing to remember: despite all the hubbub over Wisconsin "becoming a spread team" after Andersen was hired, remember he's always said the offense will be run-based and won't just ignore the best parts of the unit: those running backs.
4) What was the most surprising thing you found during your play of NCAA Football 14?
MF: The most surprising thing is also a pleasant one: the pure reactiveness of the players. The updated Infinity Engine apparently has revamped the game's physics, and the greatest moment in the game I've had so far supports that. In the midst of a 38-31 win over Ohio State under the lights at Camp Randall -- damn straight -- I (believe it was Ethan Hemer or another lineman) crunched Braxton Miller into the ground just after OSU had reached the red zone. A delicious sight, I know, but it got even greater when Chris Borland, in true Chris Borland fashion, immediately located the ball and POUNCED. It was a cool leap-dive, too, not a head-first, bullet-out-of-a-gun catapult we've seen in other football games, NFL-Blitz style. Borland's quick reaction and crisp animation generated a pivotal turnover in the span of two or three seconds, and I was thrilled.
5) If they put "Jump Around" as one of the traditions into NCAA Football 15, how fast are you going to buy this game?
MF: I'll be quitting my day job, camping outside Best Buy two weeks ahead of time and going MIA for the next four.
I'd like to thank Mike for take the time out to answer these questions, and I'd like to remind you that NCAA Football 14 is out now. Get it. Despite underrating Melvin Gordon, it's pretty great.