This year features a major rewrite of the popular game, and avid gamers have been waiting for its arrival since its announcement last spring.
One of the theme's of this year's version is "Keeping It Real", which includes everything from updated stadiums and timely pre-game coverage by Brad Nessler and Kirk Herbstreit to a halftime show with Rece Davis and David Pollack, all the way down to updated uniforms and the right gloves (everyone knows the right gloves are essential to success!).
The game has more than just, well, the game, plus the game day trappings, though. One feature that should not only help the avid gamer who thought he knew football, but also the one who does and it trying to teach the game to his wife/mom/(I'm not going any further with this) is the Skills Trainer.
One thing that is supposed to help "Keep It Real" are the team ratings, broken out to offense, defense, and overall. You can see the complete list here.
I thought I'd take a look at how Oregon St. might do this season, and just how real EA Sports' rating might be. Based on the EA Sports ratings, we might expect 5 clear wins, 5 probable losses, and 2 games that are up for grabs for the Beavers this season. That didn't sound too unreal, but a closer look looks like either EA Sports knows something we don't, or maybe they don't know something we do!
The game only includes FBS teams, so the season opener against FBS Eastern Washington isn't "ratable". But we can conclude that's a W.
So to should the Hawaii game be, and though the teams' overall ratings are the same, as are the defensive ratings, Oregon St. rates higher than San Diego St. offensively, so that's a win as well, even though it seems a stretch that the Aztec defense is going to be the equivalent of the Beavers. Perhaps that's an acknowledgement of the replacement of both defensive tackles and the middle linebacker, and the uncertainty that could foster.
The first likely loss is at Utah, where though the Utes' offense rates behind the Beavers, Utah gets an overall higher rating because of a presumed much stronger defense.
I'm not sure that's entirely real, given the departure of Star Lotulelei and both Kruger brothers.
The Pac-12 campaign should then see a couple of wins, as Oregon St. rates out better across the board than both Colorado and Washington St.
Then it gets a little sur-real; EA Sports has California rated the same as Oregon St. across the board. Sure this year's game is in Berkeley, but doesn't anyone else remember 62-14? It might be time to play this one out; I don't think reality has changed that much yet.
Next comes Stanford, and its not a surprise that the Cardinal rate a LOT better than the Beavers (Defense 93-83, Offense 91-86, and Overall 91-84).
But is it "real"? Or exaggerated? Last year's 27-23 Stanford win with a lot of the same pieces in place suggests the latter.
USC's an overwhelming favorite too, but Beaver Nation knows how the Trojans have fared the last couple of evenings they have happened by Reser. It might be interesting to play this one through too.
Arizona St. is another team rated the same as Oregon St. across the board, and this year the game is in Tempe, which has been a troubling place for the Beavers since the days when Dee beat up on Frank Kush. But Oregon St. coach Mike Riley finally got that problem checked off the last trip to Tempe, and the Beavers have won 3 of the last 4 against the Sun Devils, including last year's 36-26 win that was that close because of a gift touchdown in the opening seconds and another score with only 22 seconds left.
Washington pulled out a late 20-17 win last year, but once again, these teams are largely the same squads this time around, yet the Huskies are on a whole different level, with all 3 ratings in the 90s. Is that real? One thing that will be real this November will be the energy behind the Beaver Dam.
Oregon, inside Autzen or not, has earned their higher rating (Offense 99 [!}, Defense 92, and an Overall 95); and that just might be real.
But that's what I think; how about you?
Keep it "real", but let us know what you think of the ratings. And maybe give us your review of the new EA Sports NCAA Football 14 as well.
The best response will get you a spot in the conversation here on BTD when we revisit this topic in a couple of weeks!