NCAA Football series

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NCAA Football was an American football video game series developed by EA Sports in which players control and compete against current Division I FBS college teams. The series is a younger brother to the Madden NFL series.

In July 2013, the NCAA announced that it would not renew its licensing contract with Electronic Arts because of an ongoing legal dispute regarding the use of player likenesses in the games. However, this contract only covers the use of the NCAA name and related logos, not those of individual schools and conferences, which are negotiated individually or through the Collegiate Licensing Company. The CLC concurrently announced that it would extend its existing licensing deal with EA through 2017, ensuring that EA Sports could continue the series without the NCAA branding.[1] However, the series was placed on hiatus in September 2013, following three major conferences pulling their trademark licenses from EA, and uncertainties surrounding the results of lawsuits involving the use of player likenesses in-game.[2]

Yearly releases (1993-2013)[edit]

Bill Walsh College Football[edit]

Bill Walsh College Football
Developer(s) Visual Concepts
Publisher(s) EA Sports
Platform(s) Super NES, Sega Genesis, Sega CD
Release date(s) June 1993
Genre(s) Sports
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer

Bill Walsh College Football was released in June 1993 on 4th generation video game consoles, such as the Sega Genesis.

Bill Walsh College Football featured the top 24 college football teams from 1992 and 24 of the all-time greatest teams since 1978. While no actual players were named and no official team logos used, colleges were listed by city and players identified by number. Play modes include exhibition, playoffs, and all-time playoffs. Sixty-eight classic college plays were available, including the triple option, student body, and wishbone.

Other options and features include automatic or manual-pass catch mode, audibles, reverse angle replay, onside kicks, four weather conditions (fair, windy, rain, and snow), three different quarter lengths (5, 10, and 15 minutes), and a hurry-up offense.

The Bill Walsh endorsement was meant to parallel John Madden's endorsement of NFL Football.

Bill Walsh College Football '95[edit]

Bill Walsh College Football '95
Developer(s) High Score Productions
Publisher(s) Electronic Arts
Platform(s) Sega Genesis
Release date(s) June 1, 1994
Genre(s) Sports
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer

Bill Walsh College Football '95 was the second installment of the college football franchise and the first to have a year.

The game featured 36 Division I-A teams, a windowless passing mode, customizable seasons from one to sixteen weeks, and complete statistical tracking throughout the season. Players could choose either a playoff system or bowl games with fictional names: Maple Bowl, Palm Bowl, Pecan Bowl, and Redwood Bowl.

Bill Walsh College Football 95 also provided 36 new plays and formations including the Wishbone, Veer, Tee Offense, and 4-4 D.

College Football USA 96[edit]

College Football USA 96
College Football USA 96 Cover.jpg
Developer(s) High Score Productions
Publisher(s) EA Sports
Platform(s) Sega Genesis
Release date(s) July 15, 1995
Genre(s) Sports
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer

The series was renamed College Football USA 96, and was the first version to feature all (108 at the time) Division l-A teams. It was also the first in the series to feature real bowl games (Orange, Sugar, Fiesta, and Rose). Players could play an entire 11-game season (or shorter if desired) before advancing to one of the bowl games.

There were 400 plays from which to choose, and a new passing mode allowed players to select from five receivers on every play. Other new features and options included the following: four-player mode, three different game lengths, substitutions, injuries, audibles, fake snaps, spins, hurdles, dives, blocked kicks, interceptions, and laterals

College Football USA 96 would mark the first and only time that the Southwest Conference would appear in a video game.[3]

College Football USA 97[edit]

College Football USA 97
Developer(s) High Score Productions
Publisher(s) EA Sports
Platform(s) Super NES, Sega Genesis
Release date(s) Genesis
  • NA June 1, 1996
SNES
  • NA December 1996
Genre(s) Sports
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer

College Football USA 97 was the fourth installment of the series. The game featured University of Nebraska quarterback Tommie Frazier on the cover.

The game added a new "create player" feature (up to 28 players) and custom schedules, new animations and all 111 Division I-A teams. Players could also compete in a customized Tournament with support for up to 16 players in a single-elimination or round robin format.

Players were also able to adjust penalties, set weather type, enter user records, perform substitutions, set audibles, toggle injuries, and change game length, as well as difficulty level. Authentic playbooks (with plays like the Wishbone), a USA Today/CNN Coaches Poll, and the Sears National Championship Trophy were also available.

NCAA Football 98[edit]

NCAA Football 98
Developer(s) EA Tiburon
Publisher(s) EA Sports
Platform(s) PlayStation, Microsoft Windows
Release date(s) PlayStation
  • NA July 31, 1997
Windows
  • NA September 30, 1997
Genre(s) Sports
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer

NCAA Football 98 was released on July 31, 1997. The game featured University of Florida quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel on the cover.

This was the first game in the series to feature a multi-season Dynasty Mode, allowing players to take control of a team for four seasons and recruit players to fill out roster vacancies at the completion of each season. Additionally, it was EA's first college football game to carry the name and logo of the NCAA. Its ability to use the NCAA's brands in the game were the result of a licensing deal intended primarily for EA's NCAA March Madness basketball games (first released in February 1998) and its incorporation of the Men's Division I Basketball Championship.[3]

NCAA Football 99[edit]

NCAA Football 99
Developer(s) EA Sports
Publisher(s) EA Sports
Platform(s) PlayStation, Microsoft Windows
Release date(s) PlayStation
  • NA August 1, 1998
Windows
  • NA August 31, 1998
Genre(s) Sports
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer

NCAA Football 99 was the sixth edition of the game. The game featured University of Michigan cornerback and Heisman Trophy winner Charles Woodson on the cover. Its tagline read Desire+Pride=Victory!.

The game featured all 112 Division I-A teams at the time and also featured 3D, polygon-rendered players for the first time in the franchise's history. Additional features included the ability to create players, edit player names, sixty fight songs and crowd chants. Over eighty historical teams were added to the game, as well. The Heisman Memorial Trophy replaces the 'EA Sports MVP" trophy and other awards are given out. Recruiting is simple and done in a serpentine draft system. The Rose Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Fiesta Bowl and Sugar Bowl are now playable, and the other Bowls played have EA Sports as the sponsor. Created players from this game can be imported to the title Madden NFL 99. It featured no commentary by booth announcers, instead a PA Announcer provides the commentary. Unlike the current games in this franchise, NCAA 99 featured an optional 16 team playoff at the end of the season in dynasty mode.

NCAA Football 2000[edit]

NCAA Football 2000
Developer(s) EA Sports
Publisher(s) EA Sports
Platform(s) PlayStation
Release date(s) June 30, 1999
Genre(s) Sports
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer

NCAA Football 2000, released only for the PlayStation, featured University of Texas running back and Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams being tackled by a Texas A&M University defense on the cover.

The game included all 114 Division I-A schools and 26 from Division I-AA. It also featured new 3D polygon-rendered players, which are fully displayed in multiple camera angles during gameplay.

Other notable additions include coaching tips, 23 bowls (up from four), the ability to edit new plays, and the official Heisman Trophy award.

NCAA Football 2001[edit]

NCAA Football 2001
Developer(s) EA Sports
Publisher(s) EA Sports
Platform(s) PlayStation
Release date(s) July 25, 2000
Genre(s) Sports
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer

NCAA Football 2001, released only for the PlayStation, featured University of Alabama running back Shaun Alexander on the cover.

This version included Create-a-player, Create-a-school, Custom League (up to eight teams, double round-robin, plus playoff), Custom Tournament (up to 16 teams, double elimination), and fully customizable Season/Dynasty schedules (which allowed players to violate conference obligations in rescheduling opponents). This was also the final installment which allowed a playoff at the end of the season in dynasty mode (24 teams).

NCAA Football 2002[edit]

NCAA Football 2002
Developer(s) EA Sports
Publisher(s) EA Sports
Platform(s) PlayStation 2
Release date(s) July 23, 2001
Genre(s) Sports
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer

NCAA Football 2002, released only for the PlayStation 2, featured Florida State quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke on the cover.

This was the first version released for PlayStation 2; it lacked features (such as Custom League, Custom Tournament, and Create-a-school) that were present in the previous PlayStation edition (2001).

The game featured a new Campus Cards rewards system, which allowed players to unlock special features in the game such as historical teams or special stadiums.

NCAA Football 2003[edit]

NCAA Football 2003
Developer(s) EA Tiburon
Publisher(s) EA Sports
Platform(s) PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube
Release date(s) July 20, 2002
Genre(s) Sports
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer

NCAA Football 2003, released for the PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube, and Xbox, featured University of Oregon quarterback Joey Harrington on the cover.

New features in this version included over 200 licensed fight songs, 3D cheerleaders and 144 different schools.

Dynasty mode was enhanced with the ability to redshirt a player and schedule non-conference games before each season. Trophies and awards, modeled after real-life college football awards, was another feature new to this version. Players could win trophies by playing games and could add them to a personal collection which is shown off in a trophy room. These awards include the Heisman, Coach of the Year and Bowl-specific trophies. The game featured 23 different rivalry trophies that were created to represent their real-life counterparts.

Create-A-School mode returned in this edition of the game after being absent from the previous year. The game also featured a customizable interface for the first time. A player could choose his or her favorite team and the game interface would be based around that team's fight song, mascot, logos and school colors.

NCAA Football 2004[edit]

NCAA Football 2004
Developer(s) EA Tiburon
Publisher(s) EA Sports
Platform(s) PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube
Release date(s) July 16, 2003
Genre(s) Sports
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer, online
Main article: NCAA Football 2004

NCAA Football 2004, released for the PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube, and Xbox, featured University of Southern California quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer on the cover.

This edition featured the return of gameplay modes seen in previous versions such as Dynasty Mode.

The College Classics mode was introduced in this version and allowed players to replay classic games in college football history. New tackling animations and more realistic zone defenses were also included.

NCAA Football 2005[edit]

NCAA Football 2005
Developer(s) EA Tiburon
Publisher(s) EA Sports
Platform(s) PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube
Release date(s) July 15, 2004
Genre(s) Sports
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer, multiplayer online
Main article: NCAA Football 2005

NCAA Football 2005, the last game in the series to have the full year on the cover and released for the PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube, and Xbox, featured University of Pittsburgh wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald on the cover.

This version introduced more fan interaction in the game. The home team's defense can incite the crowd to make noise, making it difficult for the offense to hear the quarterback's audibles. This feature, dubbed "home field advantage", allowed stadium influence and energy to swing a game's momentum if strong enough. The game ranked the "Top 25 Toughest Places to Play," which included famous stadiums such as Florida's "Swamp" and LSU's "Death Valley," where this feature would be felt more strongly.

The new "Match-Up Stick" feature allowed players to match up more experienced and skilled players on younger, less-talented ones to exploit matchup problems.

All Division l-A schools were included in the game along with more than 70 l-AA schools. Signature fan celebrations, such as the "Gator Chomp" and "Texas Hook 'Em Horns" were included.

NCAA Football 06[edit]

NCAA Football 06
Developer(s) EA Tiburon
Publisher(s) EA Sports
Platform(s) PlayStation 2, Xbox
Release date(s) July 12, 2005
Genre(s) Sports
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer, multiplayer online
Main article: NCAA Football 06

NCAA Football 2006 has features that include the Dynasty mode, wherein the player act as a team's head coach, both on and off the field. Aside from weekly games, the player also controls recruiting freshman for the next year's season; new to the 2006 version is in-season recruiting.

Another new feature in the 2006 game is the Race for the Heisman mode, in which the player takes on the role of a single player attempting to win the Heisman Trophy. Race for the Heisman begins with the user selecting which position they want their character to be. The player then completes a workout for college scouts and you are offered scholarships to three different schools. The quality of football programs that offer scholarships depends on how well the player did in the workout. The player can either choose to accept one of the scholarships or walk on at any Division I school. After selecting what school to play for the player is automatically placed in the starting line up. Year after year the player's attributes increase depending on the previous seasons performance with the ultimate goal of winning the Heisman trophy.

Desmond Howard, a Heisman-winning player from the University of Michigan, is on the cover. This is a slight break in tradition as the NCAA Football series traditionally featured an NFL rookie on the cover of the game, with an action shot of him wearing his college jersey from the previous year. The game was released for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. NCAA Football 06 is the last game in the series to feature FCS (Division 1-AA) teams.

NCAA Football 07[edit]

NCAA Football 07
Developer(s) EA Tiburon
Publisher(s) EA Sports
Platform(s) PlayStation 2, Xbox, Xbox 360, PSP
Release date(s) July 18, 2006
Genre(s) Sports
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer, multiplayer online
Main article: NCAA Football 07

NCAA Football 07 was released on July 18, 2006, and was the series' first release on both the Xbox 360 and PSP. University of Southern California running back and Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush is featured on the game's cover.[1]

This version of the game utilized a feature called Turn the Tide, which consisted of a momentum meter on the score graphic at the top or bottom of the screen. A boost in momentum for a team would increase the performance of all players and boost their attributes by a varying amount.

This version also included spring drills, an update to the Race for the Heisman mode called Campus Legend (which plays more like NFL Superstar mode in Madden), ESPN integration, and a spring game in Dynasty and Campus Legend modes.

NCAA Football 08[edit]

NCAA Football 08
Developer(s) EA Tiburon
Publisher(s) EA Sports
Platform(s) PS2, PS3, Xbox, Xbox 360
Release date(s) July 17, 2007
Genre(s) Sports
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer, multiplayer online
Main article: NCAA Football 08

NCAA Football 08 was released on July 17, 2007. The cover athlete is Boise State University quarterback Jared Zabransky. Zabransky is the second athlete featured on the cover of any EA Sports NCAA Football game that was not drafted in the NFL draft following his senior year of college. The first was Tommie Frazier in the 1997 edition.

Some of the new features for this version include Leadership Control, which allows players who perform well to "lead by example" and control the action on the field and increase their sphere of influence by improving their players' personal ratings on each big play. The game also features a new and deeper recruiting system and an all-new Campus Legend mode, including, for the first time on PlayStation 3.

NCAA Football 09[edit]

NCAA Football 09
Developer(s) EA Tiburon, EA Canada
Publisher(s) EA Sports
Platform(s) PS2, PS3, PSP, Xbox 360, Wii
Release date(s) July 15, 2008 (approximate)
Genre(s) Sports
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer, multiplayer online
Main article: NCAA Football 09

NCAA Football 09 was released July 15, 2008. It was released on all next generation consoles, including, for the first time, the Wii.[4] The covers featured the following college football figures:

NCAA Football 10[edit]

NCAA Football 10
Developer(s) EA Tiburon, EA Canada
Publisher(s) EA Sports
Platform(s) PS2, PS3, PSP, Xbox 360
Release date(s) July 14, 2009
Genre(s) Sports
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer, multiplayer online
Main article: NCAA Football 10

NCAA Football 10 was released on July 14, 2009. It was released on all next generation consoles, with the exception of the Wii. The covers feature the following former college players:

NCAA Football 11[edit]

NCAA Football 11
Developer(s) EA Tiburon, EA Canada
Publisher(s) EA Sports
Platform(s) PS2, PS3, Xbox 360, iOS
Release date(s) July 13, 2010
Genre(s) Sports
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer, multiplayer online
Main article: NCAA Football 11

NCAA Football 11 was released on July 13, 2010. It was released on all next generation consoles, with the exception of the Wii. The cover athlete for all three versions is former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow.

NCAA Football 12[edit]

NCAA Football 12
Developer(s) EA Tiburon, EA Canada
Publisher(s) EA Sports
Platform(s) PS3, Xbox 360
Release date(s) July 12, 2011
Genre(s) Sports
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer, multiplayer online
Main article: NCAA Football 12

NCAA Football 12 was released on July 12, 2011 on PS3 and Xbox 360. The cover athlete was Mark Ingram of the University of Alabama. The PS2 did not have an NCAA game this year.

NCAA Football 13[edit]

NCAA Football 13
Developer(s) EA Tiburon
Publisher(s) EA Sports
Platform(s) PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Release date(s) July 10, 2012
Genre(s) American football simulation
Mode(s) Single-player
Multiplayer or singleplayer on-line
Main article: NCAA Football 13

NCAA Football 13 was released on July 10, 2012. The game's cover features Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III of Baylor, along with another Heisman winner (Barry Sanders from Oklahoma State), who was decided by fan voting. Sanders was picked over Marcus Allen, Doug Flutie, Desmond Howard, Charlie Ward, Andre Ware, Eddie George, and Herschel Walker) during the voting process.

NCAA Football 14[edit]

NCAA Football 14
Developer(s) EA Tiburon
Publisher(s) EA Sports
Platform(s) PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Genre(s) American football simulation
Mode(s) Single-player
Multiplayer or singleplayer on-line
Main article: NCAA Football 14

NCAA Football 14, the final installment in the series (see Future section below), was released on July 9, 2013. The game's cover features former Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson of Michigan, who was decided by fan voting. Robinson was picked over Eddie Lacy, Kenjon Barner, Jarvis Jones, EJ Manuel, Ryan Swope, John Simon, and Tyler Eifert) during the voting process. It was made available on current-generaton consoles ( PS3 and Xbox 360).

of the recent legal disputes between the association, Electronic Arts, college athletes, and others regarding the usage of college athletes' likenesses in video games (which is currently barred by the NCAA because of the concept of sport amateurism), they would not renew their licensing deal with EA. However, the expiration of the license only affects the use of the NCAA's trademarks in the games; teams and other events are licensed from schools individually or through organizations such as the Collegiate Licensing Company—who announced on the same day that they would extend its own licensing deal with EA through 2017. As such, EA ensured that with these existing deals in place, it would still be able to produce future versions of the franchise without the NCAA license (as it did prior to 1997); EA Sports' executive vice president Andrew Wilson announced that the next edition of the franchise was already in development, and would "[still] feature the college teams, leagues, and all the innovation fans expect from EA Sports."[1][3][5]

However, after the SEC, Big Ten, and Pac-12 conferences announced that they would not license their trademarks to EA, the company announced on September 26, 2013 that it would not make a college football game for 2014.[2][6]

Player names[edit]

Players' real names and exact likenesses are not used in the game. While the Madden NFL series uses real player names and likenesses, those players are compensated for the use of their image. Due to NCAA restrictions on the amateur status of athletes, names are not allowed. Additionally, current college players cannot be used as cover athletes. Instead, each cover features a player whose college eligibility ended the season before the game's release, wearing his former college uniform. The only two exceptions have been the Wii version of NCAA Football 09, which featured Sparty, the mascot of Michigan State University, on the cover, and NCAA Football 06 when Desmond Howard was featured on the cover striking the Heisman Trophy pose during his career at Michigan, despite not playing for Michigan for more than 15 years.

Although EA Sports does not claim that the players in the game represent real life players, the jersey number, position, height, weight, home state, and ethnicity are aligned with the real players. Fans of any particular team are sure to recognize their favorite players (for example, in NCAA Football 2014, University of North Carolina Tar Heels QB #2 would correspond to QB Bryn Renner). Actual usage of a player's real name would be in violation of the NCAA's policy regarding student athletes. Amateur "roster makers" will often manually associate player names and will upload a roster file to the built-in roster sharing system. As of the 09 release, EA has put in the EA Locker feature which allows remote roster sharing online through either Xbox Live or PlayStation Network depending on the console.

Soundtracks[edit]

Prior to the release of NCAA Football 06, the only music featured in the game were fight songs of most FBS and FCS colleges featured in the game. These would play at random, however the user-selected "favorite team" would always have their fight song played first whenever the game was first started.

NCAA Football 06 was the first and only entry in the series to include licensed music to keep the series in uniform with other EA Sports releases, such as Madden NFL and the NHL series.

NCAA Football 07 returned to the fight song only format. NCAA Football 08 added a cinematic theme song to the main menu, with fight songs playing during Dynasty Mode.

NCAA Football 09 allows a new custom stadium sounds feature allowing users to edit what sounds are heard at specific stadiums during events within the game, such as a touchdown, field goal, or timeout. Fans of the teams can now create an authentic experience in each stadium by using copyrighted songs that EA is not allowed to put into the game.

NCAA Football 10 plays Tick Tick Boom by The Hives in the introduction only.

NCAA Football 11 uses the music that is used in ESPN College Football coverage.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Schrotenboer, Brent (July 19, 2013). "EA Sports re-ups on college football after NCAA snub". USA Today. Retrieved 21 July 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Eder, Steve (September 26, 2013). "E.A. Sports Settles Lawsuit With College Athletes". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 September 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c "EA Sports Didn't Need the NCAA's Logo, and Maybe It Didn't Want It". Kotaku. Retrieved 22 July 2013. 
  4. ^ Wii NCAA Football 09 confirmed and cover mascot challenge begins | pastapadre.com
  5. ^ Goldfarb, Andrew (July 17, 2013). "NCAA Will Not Renew WA Sports Contract". IGN. Retrieved July 17, 2013. 
  6. ^ Pereira, Chris (August 14, 2013). "EA's College Football Games Lose the SEC Branding". IGN. Retrieved August 15, 2013. 

External links[edit]