Borrowing (ok, more like completely stealing) an idea from @KegsnEggs, I decided to take my triennial plunge and purchase EA Sports NCAA Football 13 for PS3. XBOX sucks, people. Anyway, the main purpose for the purchase was to take advantage of the season simulation feature and see how the robots inside the game think Auburn will do this season.
For those not familiar with the game, these simulations are more than just random happenstance. The makers of the game rank each player and each team on multiple attributes, so there is some thought and semblance of educated prediction behind this.
Because one simulation is just too random for me, I decided to do five to get a good gauge on what EA Sports thinks we should expect this year. Here's how the Tigers did against their 2012 schedule in those five simulations.
Note: the only things I changed before running the simulations was moving Kiehl Frazier to the starting spot (sorry Clint) even with his inaccurately low player rating, and taking Isaiah Crowell out of the mix at Georgia. In my first two trial simulations he won the Heisman both times, so I had to get him out of there for the sake of accurate reporting.
So what did we learn? We learned that Auburn will beat LSU this year. We learned the EA Sports is run by a bunch of trolls (Losing 3-6 against Miss. State, really? I thought that 3-2 fiasco was long forgotten). We also learned that the Auburn guy that helped make the game wasn't able to slip "Auburn>Alabama;" into the code anywhere.
In general, I'd say the results are pretty positive. Auburn's average record from the five simulations is 10-3. The Iron Bowl results could definitely be better, but a SEC Championship and National Championship Game appearance is much better than what most real life experts are expecting. Trust the machines. They are your friend.
Some other notes from the game:
- The game loves Emory Blake and Phillip Lutzenkirchen. The two alternated breaking school reception and TD reception records throughout the simulations. Lutzie won a Mackey Award (best tight end) in one of the simulations, and Blake was named a 1st or 2nd-team All-American multiple times.
- Tre Mason was 5th in the Heisman voting for the 4th simulation when Auburn, ranked #1 in the nation, lost to Washington in the National Championship Game. Chizik was also Coach of the Year.
- The game loves South Carolina, Washington, and Notre Dame. Of the five simulations, one of these teams was in four of the National Championship games at least twice.
- The game doesn't think much of Alabama or LSU. LSU was never over 8-5 and aside from the one SEC Championship, Alabama was near the bottom of the SEC West each time.
As far as uniforms and other aesthetic things go...
- The pregame eagle flight remains in this year's game, and is untouched from last year. They really should add the crowd saying "War Eagle" to it. Plus, you never see the eagle land, so it looks like it's just flying around aimlessly.
- I've only played a game or two myself, but Jordan-Hare Stadium looks perfect. Both scoreboards, the suites, and even the running video boards on the upper decks are perfect. The only thing that my keen eye noticed that was wrong were the yellow uprights. The real life uprights were changed to a white, adjustable version when the Super 6 High School State Championships were moved to Auburn and Alabama's stadiums.
- There are no major changes on the uniform front, but they did bring in the tapered pant stripe (due to functionality of the new Under Armour pants). Something I've also never noticed from this year and previous year's games is the huge orange stripe on the sleeve. Something I've always noticed that is still not fixed is the too skinny pant stripes.
- The numbers on the jersey are like last year's tiny versions, but I have been told by two people who would know that the larger, correctly sized numbers are returning in real life. The tiny last names are supposedly gone as well. The names on the jerseys are present and larger, but EA Sports probably doesn't go into that level of detail and are the same for every team.
- The "War Eagle" on the back of the pants is still there, just like they will be in real life. You can barely see it in the picture.
I plan doing much more with the game this year to get my money's worth. I'll probably do a weekly simulation once the season starts so we know how to bet. I'm also planning a tournament for you so keep an eye out for that. If you have any ideas, leave them in the comments section.
If you haven't gotten the game in a few years, go ahead and pick this one up. It definitely has some major improvements. If you had last year's, the addition of the Heisman Challenge is not big enough to make you want the game, especially since Pat, Bo, or Cam were not included.
But since this year's version of the game is Heisman-centric, I found a few replacement covers with our Heismen on them. Does anybody else do that? Say "Heismen" when talking about more than one Heisman winner? Just me? Ok, we'll here are the covers anyway.