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NCAA Football 12: Rebuilding a Program

Everybody loves a powerhouse team in the NCAA Football series, but after a few consecutive national championships doesn't it get a little old? 

The nation's top schools start each recruiting cycle with a bevy of talent that wants to enroll. Plus with nothing but high-quality pitches, it's not too much trouble for elite programs to consistently sign five-star prospects. Building a great roster out of nothing, though, can be a real challenge. The path from one-star to six-star program is long, and it's a true test for the NCAA Football dynasty player. I've compiled a set of tips for anyone just starting out in their attempt to build, or rebuild, a program. 

1. Know how you play

Before you start planning how you’re going to overhaul a team in NCAA Football 12, take a step back and think about your own play style. Even if you use multiple teams and playbooks, you probably have some basic tendencies that you revert to when a game isn’t going the way you planned. 

Think critically about these tendencies and how they affect how you use certain players. If you can acknowledge your weaknesses as a player, you’ll be able to figure out how to compensate, especially when you’re roster doesn’t have enough talent for you to get away with too many blunders.

2. Survey your depth chart

With a poor team, it’s especially important to know your depth chart by heart. You’re not Alabama, where the top three guys at every position are all going to be great. Most of your players are going to have legitimate weaknesses, and you need to be aware of them. 

Also, don’t be afraid to play players out of position. If both of your safeties are slow, you’re going to give up a ton of long plays, no matter the overall rating. Instead, take your fastest DB and put him at a safety spot. Sometimes your safeties are going to play better at linebacker, especially against wide-open passing offenses. The overall rating is a starting point, but don’t let it be the ending point.

3. Choose talent over need

It goes without saying that if you want to build a program, it’s going to depend on your recruiting. When you’re starting out, your roster is going to have more holes than a cheese grater. But the problem you face lies in which holes should be plugged first? 

In year one with a poor program, you just need to recruit the highest-rated players that you can convince to come to your school. Don’t worry about positional needs unless you literally have nobody else. Don’t worry about signing too many players at one position either. If you can get five three-star receivers in a class, take them! You’re in no position to turn down a talented player in favor of a less-talented player at a “need” position. Plus, there are all kinds of surprises in player ratings that are kept under the hood during the recruiting process. In my first year of one dynasty with a one-star program, I signed four three-star receivers who immediately became my two highest-rated receivers, my highest-rated halfback and my highest-rated quarterback. 

4. Find specialists

By specialists, I don’t mean special teams players. I'm talking about guys who are particularly good at one thing. When you’re signing a four- or five-star player, their ratings are going to be generally good across the board. But that doesn’t mean your lower-rated players are going to be bad across the board. No, a two-star player at a skill position isn’t going to come in at 80 overall. But one-, two- and three-star recruits will often have very high ratings in particular categories that make them lethal players, far exceeding the performance you’d expect from their overall ratings. Your job is to find them. 

5. Know your limits

Until you build your program up for a few years, recruiting is going to be an uphill battle. With a one- or two-star program, you really shouldn’t waste too much time gunning for four- and five-star prospects. The other schools that you’ll be competing with for those players will have better ratings on most, if not all, of their pitches. The notable exceptions are Junior College players, who generally get less interest, and athletes, for whom the CPU usually has an inexplicable blind spot. 

Also, since your ratings on most pitches will probably be low, it’s going to be hard for you to come from far behind and land a recruit. If you’re can’t get into a recruit’s top 10 schools within the first couple weeks of the season, cut bait and move on to someone else. Focusing on your pipeline states is also particularly important for a low-prestige school. Those pipeline bonuses are key, and if the pipeline state is your college’s home state, having the A+ “Proximity to Home” pitch is crucial. It’s also a good idea to take players from Texas, California and Florida whenever possible. These states produce the most talent, so building pipelines will pay huge dividends in the future, even if you have to sign and keep some scrubs to acquire and maintain them. 

Also, always, always compare pitches when you’re rated higher in a pitch than one of your competitors for a recruit. You’ll earn the same number of positive points as you would if you just made the pitch for your own school, your competitor will suffer (even if it’s just a little bit), and unlike NCAA’s recruiting system from a few years ago, you won’t anger a recruit into hanging up on you. 

6. Win

As obvious as this seems, it’s hard to overemphasize the importance of winning to rebuilding a program. Winning increases your program prestige, which has huge effects in the NCAA series. For one, recruiting is the obvious key to building a stronger program, and every additional star opens up a new set of recruiting possibilities, as higher-caliber players will be interested in your school at the start of each recruiting cycle. Winning will also improve many of your recruiting pitches, which makes it easier to land the the top players you need to improve your overall talent. Finally, program prestige has historically had an impact on how much your players progress during each offseason. It’s why good teams stay good and bad teams stay bad. And it’s your ticket to the big time.

Final Thoughts:

There's no one-size-fits-all approach to rebuilding a dynasty. Every new dynasty has its own unique attributes and player sets, which gives the mode serious replay value. But these tips should apply across the board, and this overall approach has helped me through many years of rebuilding programs. Later this month, I'll take a look at what I see as the five most difficult teams to use in a new dynasty, as well as five teams that are set up well for a rebuilding effort.


NCAA Football 12 Videos
Member Comments
# 1 RandallB21 @ 10/13/11 11:25 AM
Why does that online dynasty site look waaayyyyyy different than mine?
 
# 2 RandallB21 @ 10/13/11 11:26 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by RandallB21
Why does that online dynasty site look waaayyyyyy different than mine?
Nevermind, I see I'm in the Beta
 
# 3 jwmcards @ 10/13/11 11:29 AM
Me too, my question is how is he NOT in the beta???
 
# 4 SoulAssassin @ 10/13/11 11:38 AM
^like the guy above me... why hasn't EA released the new online dynasty site? It's damn near half way through the season... the game has had 3 patches and was released back in July.

anyways... back on topic, rebuilding smaller programs is the only way I've ever really played Dynasty mode. I'm partial to playing with a small or "mid-major" caliber program and trying to build it's roster to fit my offensive system and then challenge the powerhouses.
 
# 5 FAIRDALE_KINGS @ 10/13/11 11:40 AM
Those are screen shots from the Coming Soon page!

This message has been up for 6 months:
It should be ready soon! For a preview, check the images below.


When exactly is EA going to update the new Online Dynasty website? Here's another better question:

When is EA going to finally fix the problem where dynasty users can play a game and be rewarded with a victory and their "actual" stats... instead ~ after re-starting our dynasty after Patch #3 and the so-called fix to the dynasty problems our dynasty was stricken with the "Transfer failed error" again today in Year #2 Week 9.
 
# 6 eason24 @ 10/13/11 12:46 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by FAIRDALE_KINGS
Those are screen shots from the
When is EA going to finally fix the problem where dynasty users can play a game and be rewarded with a victory and their "actual" stats... instead ~ after re-starting our dynasty after Patch #3 and the so-called fix to the dynasty problems our dynasty was stricken with the "Transfer failed error" again today in Year #2 Week 9.

I agree.

It is almost impossible to rebuild a team when your bowl games never save. I am in 2 ODs and out of 11 seasons, not one of our bowl games have saved.
 
# 7 OGKing @ 10/13/11 02:34 PM
dat inspiration
 
# 8 statdude @ 10/13/11 04:57 PM
I'm having a great time playing as UCLA. Hopefully I can bring in a few PAC 12 championshipd
 
# 9 KingV2k3 @ 10/13/11 05:19 PM
Can you do a solo online dynasty, so I keep keep track of my whole shebang (vs CPU) on that kind-of-cool dashboard setup?

Are there any things I need to know to do / avoid, if that IS possible?

Anyone else doing that?

Thanks!
 
# 10 Petey B @ 10/13/11 06:33 PM
Genius! This article is hot diggety spot on! I was following most of if not all of these rules on instinct before this article was even born, and have carried the San Diego State Aztecs (who?) up two stars within 3 Dynasty years. Friends, focus on recruiting any player over one star who likes you more than 30%, bomb the highest rated early on in the school year, plus promise them no redshirt, a winning record against rivals and if you feel confident a conference championship the first year they're on campus. As soon as you get exactly the number and types of players that you NEED to get, move onto the highest rated players whereever they may play who like you. Don't worry about balance more than the sim is making you! And then win. You can soften your schedule, since you're probably not going to get to the Nat'l Champ, so stack your deck, since winning now is so important to make sure you can win bigger later.
 
# 11 patsfan1993 @ 10/13/11 07:15 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingV2k3
Can you do a solo online dynasty, so I keep keep track of my whole shebang (vs CPU) on that kind-of-cool dashboard setup?

Are there any things I need to know to do / avoid, if that IS possible?

Anyone else doing that?

Thanks!
Yes you can do an online solo dynasty.

I don't do it because of the transfer failed error I don't want to get stuck on my solo dynasty because of EA's server problem

You won't get that snazzy dashboard because they still haven't made it available. The online site is still in beta even though they have touted the new site for quite some time.
 
# 12 seawolves9 @ 10/14/11 01:20 AM
Kind of taking advantage of the flawed system here...

But near the last few weeks of the season, there will be some 3-5 star rated prospects who are still in their top 10 schools phase with no scholarship offers. As a low to mid-major level team, it helps to really hit these guys hard with promises and minutes and hope you can jump into their top 10 by the off-season while the other schools stay away.

I don't do this often, just when I'm looking for a story line or something to create. Nothing like going undefeated with a non-BCS team and going to a BCS bowl but still have to choose from the 2 star recruits to live up to expectations. So it's nice to get some of these higher rated recruits to come to your school in hopes of joining a team on the upswing of things. Or I pretend they had terrible grades or character problems or something..
 
# 13 KingV2k3 @ 10/14/11 08:39 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by patsfan1993
Yes you can do an online solo dynasty.

I don't do it because of the transfer failed error I don't want to get stuck on my solo dynasty because of EA's server problem

You won't get that snazzy dashboard because they still haven't made it available. The online site is still in beta even though they have touted the new site for quite some time.
Ah, thanks for the heads up...

Might be a cool thing down the road, but yeah...that server /error thing is a deal breaker for me (for now)...
 
# 14 DocBean @ 10/14/11 11:28 AM
I'm loving playing as KU.
Problem is, I've have the Jayhawks ranked number 1 with one game to go in my first year.

I'm playing on heisman, and almost lost a couple of games, but I need to adjust my sliders so that I don't keep winning everything.

I also need to adjust my recruiting level, because I have it set to Freshman so I could get the guys I created that are 3, 4, and 5 star guys.
 
# 15 khaliib @ 10/14/11 05:41 PM
It's the middle of October.

That's 3 months since the release day of July 12.

Is this supposed to get the community excited or something?

As nice as it looks, history says it's pushed back to being marketed as an "ALL New Online Feature" for 2013.
 
# 16 JahMarLen @ 10/17/11 05:11 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingV2k3
Can you do a solo online dynasty, so I keep keep track of my whole shebang (vs CPU) on that kind-of-cool dashboard setup?

Are there any things I need to know to do / avoid, if that IS possible?

Anyone else doing that?

Thanks!
I'm doing a solo dynasty, trying to rebuild Hawaii. I did run into an issue and was wondering if anyone here might know if this is a bug that can be fixed. I did look at the official bur/glitches thread but couldn't find any solutions.

After the 3rd or 4th year of my Dynasty, it didn't generate a new schedule\teams for the new year. I did go through the whole process of recruiting, red shirt, etc. but when the new season started with my new class, the old schedule came up.

I'm thinking of playing the season out to see what happens...or will I just be wasting my time going into the new year with the same teams again.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks
JML
 
# 17 BiloxiSmitty @ 11/05/11 03:21 PM
I created a Dynasty with 12 (inc. Independent) 10 team conferences, no Conf Championships. When I got to the week that says Conf. Championship it wouldn't advance. Anybody else get this?
 
# 18 DJ @ 11/05/11 11:57 PM
I picked Indiana this year and I've had a lot of fun; I'm 4-4 on the season and managed to upset No. 2 Wisconsin on the road.

Recruiting is tough, especially going up against the Big 10 competition, but I'm trying to stockpile as many 3-star recruits as I can. I figure in Year 2, I can go after some 4- or 5-star guys.
 
# 19 44drob @ 11/06/11 11:14 AM
wow so when is that new page going to be up ?
 

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