ea sports college football

Something Unique That Would Set EA Sports College Football Apart?

The extended amount of time between a game’s announcement and eventual release is both exciting and dangerous. I think it’s fair to say both those elements are magnified and intensified when it comes to being the first college game to release in many years. So as it relates to EA Sports College Football, there is a lot riding on this project. In the interest of not just doing a catch-all EA Sports College Football wishlist, we have sort of been dripping out our own hopes and dreams either via the community or our Athletic Director mode.

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With that in mind, this thread from the community has really clicked with me as it revolves around discussing things you want out of EA Sports College Football that have never really been a major focus in any past college football game from EA. As much as maybe some can meme about that being “most things” as it relates to the series, while not always successful, EA has dabbled in most aspects of the college football life in one form or another.

So what would set it apart? Well, let’s see what the community has thought about so far.

What Could Set EA Sports College Football Apart?

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Canes21 kicks off the thread. A couple different directions are shown off here, but the first idea is a focus on the synergy between your coaches and preparation. I’m going to post most of what canes21 wrote because his thoughts are the most fleshed out in the thread, and also because it ties into my own overarching philosophy for a year-one college football game.

Something I feel not many sports games have ever really focused on is the importance of not only having good players, but having good coaches and winning the game on Sunday through Friday.

NBA 2k has definitely made staffs more important, but practices are still not a big focus.

Madden got the weekly game plan feature this year in franchise mode along with some coaching positions that makes you spend 2 extra minutes before games to prepare for your next game.

I’d like to see something much more in depth than that. I do really enjoy the game planning in Madden. It makes a difference and the halftime adjustments with it as well are welcome and do have a noticeable impact on the game which is great.

I still wish there was a big emphasis on having good coaching and having good preparation. I feel these are two aspects of college football especially that really dictate if a program will have success or not.

Look, recruiting is a major part of college football, but as Miami, USC, Texas, etc. have shown simply being great on paper doesn’t mean you’ll even be decent on the field. On the flip side, Boise State, App State, Wake Forest, etc. have shown that inferior talent doesn’t mean an inferior team.

I’d love to see the coaching staffs really matter. I’d love to see the game have all 10 on field coaching slots available. I’d love to see these coaches have real impacts on the recruiting and development of players. I’d love to see it have an impact on game planning, adjusting in game, play calling, etc.

I want to see poor coaches have teams that never play to their ratings. I want to see coaches that always have their teams playing about their ability.

I want to see coaches that are stubborn and never adjust in game. I want to see elite coaches that always adjust before you even adjust so that they’re always 1 step ahead.

I want to setup how my team preps during the week, during the offseason, etc. and have real tangible effects on the team. Don’t give me 3 simple options like the Madden game plan system. Let me make a mistake and not have my team be physical enough in spring and fall camp and get into the season and see my team can’t tackle with any consistency. Let me make a mistake and not rep certain play types enough leading to my freshman WR running the wrong routes.

If all of this could be added to the game, it would need to not be black and white like all else EA. I don’t want to see a coach has a 4 out of 5 development ability and instantly know he is better than a 3 out of 5 coach in that skill.

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The thought process continues with more in-depth thoughts about how coaches and planning tie together:

I want to click on a coach’s card and have descriptions.

  • Coach Hawkins has a reputation for developing pocket passing QBs well.
  • Coach Hawkins is not known as being great at adjusting in game.
  • Coach Hawkins won’t win any recruiting awards.

Have these descriptions have a little wiggle room to them. Don’t make every coach have the same ability in a certain area if they have the same description. Leave all the hard numbers behind the scenes, but make it possible that two guys described as great recruiters are still two different levels of quality as recruiters. Make it so two coaches described as average developers still develop at different rates.

Also make it so the effects of your prep type are not always known. Leave a lot of the numbers behind the scenes, and keep it dynamic. 3 hours of film session shouldn’t give the same buff every single week for every single player.

Give a detailed breakdown telling you what each prep does for your team and leave it at that. If I never practice tackling one time all spring and all fall, don’t tell me everyone has -25 tackling. Do it on the back-end, tell me in the recap that I didn’t practice it and may see effects, then when I play the game and have 24 missed tackles I’ll see I goofed.

Keeping it on the back-end and dynamic helps make it so not everyone runs a meta preparation plan each week/spring/fall. I want users AND the CPU to all develop their own ways to prep their teams so they can get real identities. Also make it so some assistants will be influenced by the coaches they’ve been under and may tune their preparation plans to be more like a successful coach they were under.

Make some coaches stubborn and never adjust and then get fired 3 years later. Make some coaches see they must change their ways and they do and right the ship.

And lastly, make it all able to be toggled on, off, or automated so that those who hate playing in the menus can completely ignore any of this if they want. I know your average 12 year old won’t care to take 30 minutes to an hour to setup their spring program schedule. They’ll just want to play their bowl game, recruit, and be in the next season within 5 minutes.

Other people like myself want literally set up the schedule day by day, even block by block in each day, all spring, summer, and fall even if it means it takes me 3 hours to get to the next season. I want it to feel like my program and like my plans actually have an impact on the field come game day. I want to know my preparation decisions can cause me to be upset one week if I don’t pay attention to it. I want to know I can make my guys be physical all spring and fall camp leading to me having 4 guys out for the year before opening week, but I never have to worry about missed tackles or physicality in the trenches.

I want to analyze my roster, see my likely starting QB is a freshman, and know I must tune my offseason to make sure he is up to speed with the playbook.

My Own Thoughts

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There are some other good ideas in the thread, but my feeling on this — and why I wanted to boost the thread — is because the “unique” aspect of this is hugely important. The first college game that comes out is going to be a great relief, but also I feel like it’s probably going to have that short honeymoon period before people start to lose their minds and exasperate themselves talking about why it’s a disappointment. This is just the nature of the beast to some extent when you’re the first college game back in the market and you have the baggage of EA.

That said, whatever people say they want from a college football game is valid, but also it’s also moot to some degree. You have to make the gameplay feel like college and the atmosphere feel like college first and foremost. If you nail those aspects, most other things will take care of themselves to some degree. If the dynasty mode sucks or is not even at the level of NCAA Football 14, that will obviously be a big miss, but even that is secondary to some degree to the college feel out on the field.

But having something unique is the next most important aspect of whatever EA releases. The aforementioned Athletic Director mode I pointed to in the intro would be one thing to make things interesting, but it could be a lot of things. An insanely in-depth coaching carousel or something like what canes21 talked about could be the ticket as well.

The point is that the focus should be concentrated. EA is not going to make everyone happy no matter what, so you have to at least plant that flag and say “this is why college football is different and worth bringing back.” Whatever form that takes ultimately comes down to EA’s development process, but while everyone’s biggest fear is this game will just be “Madden with college rosters,” my biggest fear is we’ll just get NCAA Football 14.5 out of the gates.

EA needs something that defines the game beyond “college football is back baby!”

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Author
Chase Becotte
Chase has written at Operation Sports for over 10 years, and he's been playing sports games way longer than that. He loves just about any good sports game but gravitates to ones that coincide with the ongoing real seasons of the NBA, NHL, MLB, NFL, and so on. As of now, he's gearing up for EA Sports College Football 25 and what should be a wild summer while still dabbling in the latest Top Spin and MLB The Show.