If you haven’t already, now is the time to list my top five NCAA Football games of all time. There’s less than a month to go until NCAA Football ’09 comes out, and there was a demo out this month.
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1. No. 5: NCAA ’08 (Xbox 360)
People will be mad at me for this, but I thought last year’s game was good. That’s what the first game on next-gen should have been like for me. In terms of graphics, it was better than the year before. They also made the gameplay controls better.
Another interesting thing about the new hiring process was that it was fun at first, but after a while it became a little boring. Nonetheless, the offseason was a lot of fun to play, and on the field, there were a lot of good times, especially after the patch.
Once you could drop the balls in over the linebackers and in before the secondary, the game played very well, and head-to-head was then more about play calling and execution rather than money plays.
2. No. 4: The Original, Bill Walsh’s College Football (Sega Genesis)
This game was the “grandfather of them all.” The first college football game didn’t have every D1-A team, nor did it have real college names, either. BYU was in Provo, and Penn State was in State College, but you still got the point.
The game was so much fun to play. It was great for having friends over and playing all night long with a few bottles of Mountain Dew to help you out.
I remember mostly running with the ’88 Notre Dame team. Nothing worked when Tony Rice was in charge. His spin move was so powerful that people would just bounce off him. Once he was in the open field, it was over.
You can’t stop him with Rocket Ismail and a few All-Americans who had great careers in the NFL.
The game was ahead of its time when it came to gameplay. That’s why what the game didn’t have in season mode, it made up for with fun and replay value because it was so fun to play.
3. No. 3: College Football ’96 (Sega Genesis)
There is now a season mode in the NCAA series that you can play non-stop. That’s what this game looked like in its mid-1990s 16-bit glory. It had all the pomp and excitement of college football in all its glory. The game played fast and smooth, and had real polls and teams, with your choice of a tournament or bowls to crown the winner at the end of a great season.
It was fun to run the option in this game, and choosing your own playbook helped the college football genre change its direction. During this game, the BCS was used for the first time. It set the stage for what dynasties would become down the road.
4. No. 2: NCAA ’99 (PS1)
One of the best head-to-head games I have ever played. In the past, I taught one of my best friends how to play the games on this game. We usually took UCF with Daunte Culpepper or Indiana when it was Antwaan Randle-first El’s year. He went with Big Kat and the OSU Buckeyes, as he did.
Daunte and I threw a pick, and as my friend ran back, Culpepper was the last person to get it. Before the Hit Stick, Daunte laid him out on the ground. I had a good angle on him for the stop.
As a bonus, this game had a lot of cool futures, like an all-star game in the Shrine Game. At the same time, you could also play games in other stadiums, like Pitt Stadium and Three Rivers. This was something that blew my mind at the time.
5. No. 1: NCAA 2004 (PS2)
This game was a big hit for EA. Things were better than they had ever been in a football game. Online was great, and the dynasty mode was also very good. This game was very good.
Head-to-head was great, and one big stop or turnover usually decided the outcome. The game was very close, and the offensive side had a few big plays.
My favourite was running my Pitt Panthers dynasty and convincing Larry Fitzgerald to stay with the team for the rest of his career. He won three straight Heisman Trophies and set every single record for me at my school and in the NCAA, so he was very good. I thought the guy was a real monster!
I also had a lot of fun on the web. I lived in a big apartment with two roommates and a girlfriend who was going to Pitt at the time. I would get home from work late at night, and so would my friend. They both would. When we were going to play online, we would play from 11 pm to 4 am every night.
His offence would be run by him, and I’d be ready to defend us against any cheaters. There were many nights of fun because it was a deadly mix.
On the weekends, we would go to the Pitt game and see Larry do his thing in person, then come back and have a party, which usually led to an NCAA tournament game. This is what we did (something the girlfriend never appreciated).
This was a good time going back in time. How would you rank your favourite NCAA football games?
6. Nov. 27: No. 5 Michigan 45, No. 2 Ohio State 27
When these two didn’t play each other in 2020 because of the pandemic, the 2021 edition of The Game was very exciting.
That’s not all: This rivalry didn’t need any more spice. Whoever won had a good chance of getting into the playoffs. The loser, on the other hand, would get their second loss of the season, effectively ending their chances of making the national championship.
Michigan had never beaten Ohio State under head coach Jim Harbaugh, and it had been 10 years since the Wolverines had won the game.
When the game was at halftime, Michigan had a 14-13 lead. This game looked like it would be close the whole way through. But in the second half, the Wolverines showed why this 2021 team was different from all the other teams that Coach Harbaugh had in the past. Any time Ohio State scored a goal, Michigan responded with a goal of its own. This made the game even more difficult for the Buckeyes to get back into the game.
Michigan scored two touchdowns in the third quarter thanks to runs by running back Hassan Haskins. Michigan had a 28-13 lead going into the fourth quarter.
To make it 28-20, Ohio State running back TreVeyon Henderson scored a one-yard touchdown run to finish a 17-play, 82-yard drive. Michigan’s offence kept running through their opponent’s defence with ease, though. Haskins scored again on the ground to put Michigan up 35-20 with 9:14 left.
OSU scored a touchdown with 4:45 to go to cut Michigan’s lead to eight, but Haskins scored his fifth rushing touchdown to all but seal the deal.