SBNation has lamented recently the continued absence of EA Sports’ NCAA Football various gaming platforms. Basically due to a (perfectly reasonable) lawsuit from Ed O’Bannon regarding using likenesses of college athletes, the game had no legs to stand on much to the chagrin of EA Sports and most importantly, its fans. Fans want this game back, EA Sports is fine with compensating players to bring it back, heck, even our own Debbie Yow has hinted at acceptance for its return. Alas, we still have to wait...and although there is a dedicated community providing regular updates to rosters, conference realignments to the last game NCAA Football 13...they can’t do anything about stadium updates (like removing whole parts of Chapel Hill’s seating), new uniforms or a College Football Playoff. Also, weirdly, though the last NCAA game let you do your own conference realignment, it conferences with 14 members were scheduled for 9 conference games which could not be edited to create proper schedules. So all we can do is daydream and every year the game designated 3 players as “Impact Players,” guys who had a star under their character during game play. These players got a boost of their attributes at certain moments and were the ones you leaned on during crunch time to make something happen. Now notably these weren’t always the highest rated players on the team. It was rare for even a great Safety or DT to earn that accolade and it never went to a member of the OL, the kicker or the punter.
Keeping all that in mind and maintaining their criteria, who would be our Impact Players in a mythical NCAA Football 19 (activity stolen from State of The U)? In my estimation with no ratings:
EA Sports LOVED to designate QBs and RBs so much as Impact Players that they might as well have been Heisman voters. With his hype that has been building, along with the 4 years he’d have had in the game (EA could be generous about bumping up player’s overall scores over time). I imagine they’d stiff him on arm strength and mobility metrics but highly grade him on accuracy and “awareness.” Finley may not be as fun as playing as either of the Vicks, Russ or Lamar Jackson but he’s still the one absolute lock.
There was nothing more fun in these games (besides a user pick when playing against a friend) then throwing a pass, switching to a big play receiver who’d just go up and get it in coverage. Games are all about taking risk, so 4th & 8? Throw it to Harmon in one on one coverage or on a slant route (which was nearly impossible to stop) and let him fight for the first. Harmon’s high profile among a strong receiver group, would make him a joy to play as. Speed and elusiveness may be lower on Harmon than others but his catch and spectacular catch ratings would sore.
I don’t know a lot of players who played with the LBs in the game. I imagine most played as guys on the D-Line because coverage was IMPOSSIBLE if you actively tried to do it. Show me any player who was successful controlling a CB the entire way and I will tip my cap to them. Pratt would be fun with his big play ability and athleticism on the field. His coverage rating may be pretty high but I wonder if they’d dock awareness considering he’d be a first time starter?
The first two are clear but obviously a case could be made for Darian Roseboro in that third slot. I excluded him due to what would’ve been NCAA Football 18’s Impact Players...Bradley Chubb, Jaylen Samuels (though the game was too limited to accurate reflect JaySams versatility, you’d have to create a special playbook or litter him throughout formation subs to make it work) and Nyheim Hines. Since Roseboro is a DE as Chubb was, I imagine they’d have chosen Pratt to diversify things a bit in the later edition.
One last point: in later games if you played through the season and non-Impact Players begin to perform at a high level, then they could earn the Impact Player star designation but that means it’d be removed from a previous Impact Player. Candidates I’d chose for that are Roseboro (especially cause I was excellent at DE in the game, so he’d rack up mad numbers in my season), Jakobi Myers, Stephen Louis, and Reggie Gallaspy. Any others?
Thoughts? Anybody good at guessing what players’ ratings would be? Any non-traditional Impact Player (like OL) that’d rate higher than any of the three listed?