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What NCAA Football 19 team ratings might’ve looked like

SB Nation logo SB Nation 7/11/2018 Jason Kirk
a group of baseball players on a field © YouTube

There is no new college football video game released this July, but we won’t let that stop us from torturing ourselves with what might’ve been.

Every year since NCAA Football left us, I try and guesstimate how EA might’ve chosen to rate each team’s quality, if it’d released a new edition.

Before you yell at lil ole me for underrating your team, as if I matter in any way, here’s the rough process:

  • The baseline: Bill Connelly’s projected S&P+ ratings for overall, offense, and defense.
  • I cram that into a 60-to-99 scale, fitting EA’s traditional range for FBS teams.
  • I make a few adjustments based on big transfers (Shea Patterson pulls a few team offense rating points from Ole Miss to Michigan, for example) and general public sentiment (for example, Bill’s numbers are not excited by West Virginia, but most humans are, so I gave WVU a bump on offense to reflect the game people would want to see).
  • Though the game has a whole other metric for incorporating coach impact, I still make some tweaks there. For example, Scott Frost to Nebraska bumps up the Huskers’ offense, and new UCF HC Josh Heupel mitigates the Knights’ losses there, but Mizzou replacing Heupel with the dreaded Derek Dooley demanded a nerf.
  • And a check of the many early top 25s and top 130s made by humans, just to see if all this sort of lines up with what the public expects.

That gives us this:

And then a few more adjustments:

Of course, then you’d need to give 10-point boosts to popular teams like Notre Dame, Texas, and Michigan, as it often felt like EA did.

For the full EA effect, you’d also need to make the top three or four teams in each category a full 99, even though a 99 should be reserved for a true, proven, all-time elite. Does anybody expect this year’s Alabama, Clemson, or Ohio State to be one of the greatest teams ever? A modern game would be wise to start out the best teams lower than 99 and make them work their way up, via in-game updates later on.

Which team would you pick for dynasty mode?

Arizona would’ve been a crazy popular pick for every mode, thanks to dual-threat QB Khalil Tate. Trick plays would’ve made Purdue’s playbook a frequent choice.

But for dynasty mode, you want to start at the bottom, albeit with one fun piece to build around. You want a school in an oddball location and no real history of winning, so you can tell your friends you turned [Random School] into a power.

UNLV would’ve checked every box, coming off its 15th losing season this century but boasting Armani Rogers, a big and speedy QB with three years of eligibility still to go, and access to Cali recruiting. And maybe you could’ve downloaded the new Raiders stadium for his senior year.

Anyway, what do you think? Sorry for reminding you there’s no game this year.

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