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Back From The Dead: EA Sports’ NCAA Football 14 Simulates The 2019 Season

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

A little over six years ago, EA Sports released the last version of their college football video game series when NCAA Football 14 hit shelves nationwide. Due to the Ed O’Bannon case, and the NCAA’s refusal to let players profit off of their own likenesses, we haven’t seen an updated version of the game since. Thanks to some heroes who are out there updating the rosters before every season, the game is much more alive than you might think. You can read Adam Kramer of Bleacher Report’s excellent article on that here. Recently released, Madden 20 features college gameplay as part of its ‘Face of the Franchise: QB1’ mode. You can read Adam Krishner on what that might mean for the future of EA’s NCAA Football franchise here.

It would be easy to look back on the NCAA series and tell you story upon story of Heisman winning fullbacks, Idaho Vandal national titles and running circles around defenders in the backfield with D.J. Shockley, but this exercise is not about looking back. Today is about looking towards the 2019 season, while bringing life back to something once thought dead.

We here at Dawg Sports believe in science. With college football season just a few weeks away, I found myself looking for something other than another preview magazine or tweeted opinion to give me an idea of what the 2019 season might have in store. So, I asked myself what would happen if I took my old copy of NCAA 14 and tried to simulate the Georgia’s upcoming season. As I mentioned before, current rosters exist. The rosters also include current coaches, their tendencies and their playbooks. So, I downloaded them and got to work. As I pondered the project further, it became obvious that we wouldn’t be provided with a clear picture of where Georgia might find themselves in the national race unless every team’s schedules were right. A tainted result to this simulation would simply be hollow. With the game’s conference realignment features, I was able to change around some cross-division rivalries and add a championship game for the Big 12, who didn’t have one in 2013. After many long nights systematically taking control of every team, and doing some really nerdy stuff through the magic of USB ports, I was able to create accurate schedules for the Power 5. The game’s “Teambuilder” feature went offline about a year ago. That means there was nothing I could do to fill in teams like App State, Georgia Southern and Charlotte, who weren’t in the FBS at the time. This was going to have to be a Power 5 only simulation. For the missing teams, I found a team from the same conference that should be rated similarly for 2019. That team took the missing team’s place in any non-conference games against Power 5 schools. Science requires some leaps, y’all.

The Simulation

Much like myself, NCAA 14 is a full supporter of chaos. If the upcoming season plays out anything like the simulated version, we should be in for our most entertaining fall in years. Without further ado, here are the results of the 2019 college football season, as told by NCAA Football 14.

ACC

After a pre-season filled with doubt about the conference’s ability to produce a decent team besides Clemson, the ACC makes everyone look stupid. Determined to send Bud Foster out the right way, Virginia Tech takes full advantage of not having the Tigers on their schedule and equal Clemson’s 11-1 record. Miami bounces back from an embarrassing week one loss against Florida and knocks off Virginia Tech in conference play Owning the tiebreaker over the Hokies, they win the Coastal despite falling to FSU. Boston College loses to the Hokies in week one before falling to Kansas (more on them later) in non-conference play. The Golden Eagles put together their best season since Matt Ryan was on campus, and almost take down Clemson in an overtime thriller. As for Clemson, the Tigers get shocked by FSU, 31-30, in a game that cools Willie Taggart’s seat in an otherwise disappointing 7-5 season. After solid seasons in 2018, fans of Syracuse, NC State and Virginia check out for the year when basketball season starts in late October. North Carolina fans never check in at all, as Mack Brown struggles to a 5-7 record in his first year back in the ACC.

Atlantic

  • Clemson 11-1
  • Boston College 9-3
  • Syracuse 7-5
  • Florida State 7-5
  • Wake Forest 5-7
  • NC State 4-8
  • Louisville 2-10

Coastal

  • Miami 10-2
  • Virginia Tech 11-1
  • Pitt 8-4
  • Georgia Tech 7-5
  • North Carolina 7-5
  • Duke 3-9
  • Virginia 4-8

ACC Championship - Clemson 34 - Miami 24

Relevant Seasons- Ryan Willis, Va Tech (235/380, 3275 yds, 30 TD, 8 INT), AJ Dillon, Boston College (1643 yds, 5,9 ypc, 14 TD), Haise Dubois, Virginia (83 rec, 1135 yds, 9 TD)

Big 10

This is where the game starts to have a little fun. After a pre-season where the Michigan-Ohio St winner was the presumed conference champion, Rondale Moore, Taylor Martinez and Mark Dantonio have other plans. Nebraska starts the season with early losses to Colorado and South Alabama before rolling through conference play at 7-2. Purdue loses to TCU before going through conference play at 8-1. The Boilermakers knock off Ohio St, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State in the same season for what I would assume is the first time ever. Mark Dantonio does the thing he likes to do in years where everyone expects his team to go 4-8, Sparty goes 9-3! Michigan State owns the tiebreaker with the Buckeyes so they head to the Big Ten championship. Ohio State discovers that interest was higher than expected for the loan they took out on their dignity and karma by allowing Urban Meyer to coach in 2018. Payback is painful as the Buckeyes finish 8-4. As is customary, they still beat Michigan. Preferring a fresh start in 2020 to a hot seat after a 7-5 season, Jim Harbaugh takes the best offer he can find and bolts for the CFL. Boiler Up!

East

  • Michigan St 9-3
  • Ohio St 8-4
  • Michigan 7-5
  • Penn St 6-6
  • Maryland 6-6
  • Indiana 3-9
  • Rutgers 0-12

West

  • Purdue 10-2
  • Nebraska 8-4
  • Northwestern 7-5
  • Wisconsin 8-4
  • Minnesota 8-4
  • Iowa 5-7
  • Illinois 4-8

BIG 10 Championship - Michigan St 21 - Purdue 39

Relevant Seasons- Elijah Sindelar, Purdue (290/475 3933 yds, 39 TD/8 INT), Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin (1912 yds, 6.8 ypc, 9 TD), Rondale Moore, Purdue (108 rec, 1503 yds, 19 TD)

Big 12

LES MILES IS BACK BABY! Reminding the college football universe that logic never has and never will apply to Miles, Kansas loses their first two games to Indiana State and Coastal Carolina before upsetting Boston College and going on a 6-3 run in conference play. TEXAS IS BACK TOO! Back to being the 7-5ish team that they’ve been for the last decade. The Longhorns lay a giant egg after a preseason full of high expectations, getting beat by 22 points against LSU in Week 2 before losing four straight in October and November to Oklahoma, TCU, Kansas and West Virginia. The Kansas loss provides the internet with another decade of jokes, and Tom Herman spends the off-season rededicating himself to the pursuit of clear-colored urine for all mankind. Jalen Hurts fits in quite nicely in the conference as Oklahoma has its third straight 11-1 regular season. Mike Gundy’s Oklahoma State squad goes 7-5, which is fine, because his mullett is more fabulous than ever, and some things in life are bigger than wins and losses.

  • Oklahoma 11-1
  • Kansas 8-4
  • West Virginia 6-6
  • Texas 7-5
  • Oklahoma State 7-5
  • Kansas State 7-5
  • TCU 6-6
  • Texas Tech 6-6
  • Iowa State 5-7
  • Baylor 4-8

Big 12 Championship Game - Oklahoma 38 - Kansas 37 (2 OT)

Notable Seasons- Brock Purdy, Iowa St (180/343 2744 yds, 18 TD/14 INT), Pooka Williams Jr. Kansas (1351 yds, 5.8 ypc, 13 TD), TJ Vasher, Texas Tech (68 rec, 854 yds, 10 TD)

PAC-12

In a Pac-12 that looks to be Washington or Oregon’s to take, the bringers of intellectual brutality are back. Stanford rolls in angry after a Week 1 loss to Northwestern, and runs the table in conference. The Cardinal lose their shot at a playoff spot in a loss to Notre Dame the last week of the regular season, but notice is still served that David Shaw’s squad is back to being a national contender. Speaking of the early 2010’s Pac-12, Chip Kelly is a division champion again. The Bruins get rolled by the Sooners in Week 3, but turn things around and finish a respectable 6-3 in conference. UCLA’s wide-open offense becomes the hot thing with SoCal high-schoolers after USC goes 6-6 and fires Clay Helton. This time around, Kelly smartly uses the more seductive qualities of Los Angeles to attract the nation’s best high-schoolers instead of paying a “scout.” It’ll be clear when you get to the Heisman results below, but Khalil Tate got his groove back. Tate delivers some of the best Pac-12 after dark action ever seen, and the Wildcats become everyone’s favorite team to watch on their way to a solid 9-3 campaign.

North

  • Stanford 10-2
  • Oregon 7-5
  • Washington 8-4
  • Washington State 7-5
  • Oregon State 6-6
  • California 2-10

South

  • UCLA 8-4
  • Utah 9-3
  • Arizona 9-3
  • Colorado 6-6
  • USC 6-6
  • Arizona State 3-9

PAC-10 Championship Game - UCLA 28 - Stanford 24

Notable Seasons- Jacob Eason, Washington (200/381 3125 yds, 29 TD/8 INT), Joshua Kelley, UCLA (1567 yds, 5.6 ypc, 12 TD), Laviska Shenault Jr., Colorado (96 rec, 1503 yds, 16 TD)

SEC

Arkansas 27 - Alabama 3. Let’s just get this out of the way now. In mid-October, the Hogs deliver the SEC’s most-shocking score of this century, and turn the playoff race on its head. Arkansas 27 - Alabama 3, read it with me, and laugh heartily at the prospect. The Tide still goes 10-2 with a 38-31 loss to Texas A&M, but the damage is done. The Aggies, at 10-2 with losses to Clemson in non-conference play and Georgia in November, become the new West Division champs. This leaves Nick Saban in the familiar position of campaigning for his team on the Saturday before the CFP committee chooses its field. But more on that later. Despite a September loss to Kansas State, Mississippi State has an unexpectedly great season. Gus Malzahn and Auburn start with a Week 1 win against Oregon. Despite having enough talent to earn one of the game’s highest overall team ratings, the Tigers can’t keep things on the right path and the Gus Bus finally slides into the ditch. Malzahn loses his job after going 5-7. (This game know things, man).

Jeremy Pruitt fails to inspire hope as Tennessee endures a 6-6 season that includes a loss to BYU by 16 points, and finishes with a disappointing defeat to 3-9 Vanderbilt. While Florida starts hot with a win against Miami, they lose to Tennessee before blowout losses to Auburn, Georgia and South Carolina. Despite absolutely zero evidence of it being true, Dan Mullen spends the off-season continuing to claim he’s closing the gap between his program and Georgia. About those Gamecocks, they end up as the division’s closest challenger to Georgia, upsetting the Dawgs in October. In classic South Carolina fashion, they lose their chance at a division title with an upset loss in overtime to the Vols. Georgia’s other loss comes to Notre Dame in a blowout at home. Afterwards, Dawg fans go crazy on message boards everywhere, comparing the Kirby Smart era to Mark Richt’s time in Athens. Florida and Tennessee fans harass them incessantly on Twitter until being hit back with some classic “scoreboard” burns. After Georgia wins the Eastern Division, some level of calm is restored to the fanbase. Read on to see what the CFP committee does with the Dawgs,

East

  • Georgia 10-2
  • South Carolina 9-3
  • Florida 8-4
  • Missouri 7-5
  • Kentucky 7-5
  • Tennessee 6-6
  • Vanderbilt 3-9

West

  • Texas A&M 10-2
  • Alabama 10-2
  • Mississippi State 9-3
  • LSU 8-4
  • Arkansas 7-5
  • Auburn 5-7
  • Ole Miss 4-8

SEC Championship Game - Georgia 35 - Texas A&M 31

Notable Seasons- Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama (263/413 3592 yds, 34 TD/4 INT), Larry Rountree III (1393 yds, 5.5 ypc, 15 TD), Jhamon Ausbon, Texas A&M (79 rec, 1241 yds, 16 TD)

Heisman

  • Winner- Travis Etienne (RB, Clemson) 1619 yards/6.2 ypc 20 TD’s, 610 receiving yards/6 TD’s
  • D’Andre Swift (RB, Georgia) 1931 yards/6.6 ypc 13 TD’s 584 receiving yards/5 TD’s SWIFT WAS ROBBED
  • Jalen Hurts 220/463 3,104 yards 30 TD/17 INT, 1,028 rushing yards/11 TD’s
  • Zack Moss (Utah) 1,824 yards/6 ypc 17 TD’s, 285 receiving yards/1 TD
  • Khalil Tate 259/432 3,690 yards 36 TD/7 INT, 875 rushing yards/13 TD’s

Other Awards

  • Maxwell - Khalil Tate (QB, Arizona
  • Walter Camp - Travis Etienne (RB, Clemson
  • Bednarik - Josh Metellus (SS, Michigan)
  • Nagurski - Benning Potoa’e (OLB, Washington)
  • O’Brien - Khalil Tate (QB, Arizona)
  • Doak Walker - Travis Etienne, Clemson)
  • Biletnikoff - Davontavean Martin (WR, Washington St)
  • Mackey - Miller Forristall (TE, Alabama)
  • Outland - John Simpson (OG, Clemson)
  • Rimington - Sean Pollard (C, Clemson)
  • Lombardi - Emmanuel Belmar (DE, Clemson)
  • Thorpe - Marcelino Ball (SS, Indiana)
  • Groza - J.J. Jolson (K, UCLA)
  • Ray Guy- Tommy Townsend (P, Florida)

College Football Playoff

Since the playoff, and more importantly, playoff committee didn’t exist when the game was made, we’ve been forced to use the good old BCS Standings to decide who goes to the semifinals. 12-1 conference champions Clemson and Oklahoma are both in, but OU gets punished because they let Kansas take them to two overtimes (lol) in the Big 12 title. Clemson gets the one spot. With a two-loss Alabama on the sideline for conference championship week, Nick Saban does 14 interviews with ESPN the Saturday before the CFP field comes out. Though he argues passionately, the committee decides they’re no longer a believer in giving the Tide a bye. Two loss Georgia, with a thirteenth data point, gets the nod for the #3 spot over the idol Hokies despite the second loss. The Hokies, at #4, get in ahead of #5 Alabama and 9-3 #6 Notre Dame. On the live CFP selection show, Saban goes on a rant about illegal men downfield and argues for the removal of the play clock.

Semifinal #1 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl - #2 Oklahoma 21 - #3 Georgia 38

Unlike Oklahoma’s last playoff appearance, the first quarter is fairly even, and it ends with Georgia taking a 3-0 lead on a Rodrigo Blankenship FG. From there things go south for the Sooners. D’Andre Swift punches it in from four yards out for a 10-0 lead before Jalen Hurts is intercepted on the next drive. Fromm quickly cashes the turnover in with a seven-yard strike to Demetris Robertson for another touchdown and a 17-0 lead. Oklahoma moves the ball to midfield on their next drive, but fail to convert on third down, pinning Georgia inside their own 20 with a solid punt. On the next play, Swift takes it to the house from 87 yards, kindly reminding everyone that the Heisman results were an absolute sham, and putting Georgia up 24-0. On the ensuing possession, Oklahoma HB Kennedy Brooks is stripped by Eric Stokes on a catch out of the backfield. Stokes pounces on the fumble to put the Dawgs in business again. A few plays later, Fromm again finds Robertson for six, this time from 37 yards out for a 31 point lead. It’s all window dressing from there, and Oklahoma has to spend the next off-season answering questions about a third-straight semifinal loss to an SEC team.

Semifinal #2 Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl - #1 Clemson 31 - #4 Virginia Tech 27

In a rare competitive CFP semifinal, the Tigers and Hokies trade blows from the start. Clemson gets the ball first and scores on a Trevor Lawerence QB sneak before Virginia Tech answers with a 3-yard touchdown run by Deshawn McClease. Travis Etienne scores touchdowns on a pair of short runs, and the Hokies get a short touchdown catch from Tre Turner and a field-goal before the half. Clemson takes a 21-17 lead to the break, but Virginia Tech comes out and takes the lead on a 9-yard Damon Hazleton touchdown catch to start the second-half. Near the end of the quarter, Tee Higgins hauls in a 13-yard pass from Lawerence for six-points and the lead. The Hokies snag another Brian Johnson field-goal after the teams trade defensive stands. Clemson tacks on a field-goal of their own for a 31-27 lead. The Hokies try to mount a final touchdown drive for the win, but Clemson holds on defense and escapes to face Georgia in the national title. Despite the loss, Bud Foster, lunch pail in hand, is carried off the field on the shoulders of his players.

CFP Title - Mercedes-Benz Superdome - #1 Clemson 28 - #3 Georgia 38

In a title game featuring two bitter rivals, the game starts at a furious pace. Fromm takes the Dawgs quickly down the field, throwing a 9-yard touchdown to tight-end Eli Wolf before Clemson cashes in on a 15-yard Lawerence to Etienne connection. In the second quarter, Georgia quickly goes on three unanswered touchdown drives. They come thanks to a 2-yard Swift score and Fromm bombs to Lawerence Cager from 16-yards and Demetris Robinson from 8. Amari Rogers catches a short Lawerence touchdown before the half to make it 28-14. A matchup of running backs who were the top two finishers for the Heisman Trophy has turned into a QB duel between Fromm and Lawerence. At the half, Georgia fans everywhere try to assure themselves another blown title game lead isn’t lurking on the other side of the break. They remind themselves that Jim Chaney isn’t in the booth to inexplicably shutdown the offense for the remainder of the game, and immediately feel better. Following the half, the teams hit a stalemate before Eli Wolf, this time toting the rock at fullback, scores from inches out to stretch the lead to 35-14. Clemson adds a couple more Rogers touchdown catches in the fourth, but a 51-yard Blankenship field-goal ensures that the Tigers never get closer than ten points. Fromm (28/33, 388 yds, 3 TD) outguns Lawerence (19/34, 309 yds, 4 TD) on a night where Lawerence is sacked four times to Fromm’s zero. Georgia’s third-down conversion rate of 9/13, coupled with three drops apiece by Justin Ross and Amari Rodgers is simply too much for Clemson to overcome.

Almost forty years after their last title, Georgia wins the national championship. Because he’s so damn beautiful, Rodrigo Blankenship is given National Title Game MVP. He conducts all interviews in his rec specs and helmet.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 08 CFP National Championship
2020 College Football Playoff National Championship Game MVP Rodrigo Blankenship
Photo by David John Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

UGA Season Statistics

Passing- Fromm- 189/362, 2983 yds, 31 TD/8 INT

Rushing- Swift’s impressive stats have already been covered, and the remaining carries fall to Brian Herrien (795 yds, 4.9 ypc, 9 TD.) Despite those numbers, it’s likely Zamir White and James Cook are going to be touching the ball a good bit this fall.

Receiving- The game seems to think the lack of experience at receiver will be a early problem for the Dawgs. However, judging by the CFP Championship game results, Fromm looks to have developed a strong rapport with his pass catchers later on in the season. Graduate transfer Lawerence Cager (39 rec, 612 yds, 9 TD) leads the team, with Charlie Woerner and Swift both producing just shy of 600 yards while grabbing five touchdowns each. Tyler SImmons is the fourth-leading pass catcher, but true freshmen George Pickens and Dominick Blaylock come in just behind him. All four players haul in three touchdowns over the course of the season. You may be wondering what happened to Demetris Robertson. Robertson got injured late in the Vanderbilt game the first week of the season, but returned for both playoff games and snagged sixteen receptions and three touchdowns while playing a big role in the Dawgs’ title run.

Defense- Tyler Clark co-leads the Dawgs with 82 tackles and 8.5 sacks from his defensive end spot as newcomer Nolan Smith more than lives up to the hype, also recording 82 tackles and 2.5 sacks while playing outside linebacker. JUCO transfer Jermaine Johnson has no problems adjusting to the SEC, and records 79 tackles with 3.5 sacks opposite of Smith at the other outside linebacker spot. Tae Crowder cleans up the rest, making 70 tackles and 3.5 sacks of his own. At 6.6” 330 pounds, Jordan Davis creates headaches for centers all season, producing an unheard of 46 tackles and 3.5 sacks from the nose guard spot. Leading the team in interceptions, Richard LeCounte grabs six picks at free safety.

Kicking- Rodrigo Blankenship goes 16/22 on the season with his long of 51 yards coming in the national title game.

Please note: While this is a Georgia sports blog, all settings were set to default, all rosters were left unedited, and all games were simulated only once.

DAWGS ON TOP!

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