Back at the first of the month, when EA Sports NCAA Football '14 was just about to come out, we took a look at whether the system was keeping it real with the team rankings, and how Oregon St.'s season might play out. There were some assessments that seem to align with what we know today, but also some surprises. That's ok though, the fun of both the computer game and the real ones that start in just over 6 weeks is finding out how the games really turn out.
Now that the game has been out almost a week, and some have a copy of it in captivity, we can see how the season simulates out. Our buddy Anthony up at the UW Dawg Pound promptly pounded out 5 simulations of the Pac-12 season, and again, we see some results that align with current wisdom, and some that, well, will be eye-opening if they prove prophetic.
For example, Oregon going to a BCS Bowl in 3 of 5 scenarios, and the National Championship game in one of them, won't shock sensibilities, and neither will Cal going somewhere between 2 and 4 wins in any event.
But Washington winning the Pac-12 with a 13-1 season, or turning in a 13-1 season that doesn't win the Pac-12? (Keep in mind Anthony ran the sims, but did't "influence" them, or a win over Air Force in the Las Vegas Bowl to salvage a winning season wouldn't show up in the result!) Or Stanford winning no more than 7 games?
Let's take a look at Oregon St.'s outcomes, and see if there's any chance the good folks at EA Sports have kept it real.
On the surface, the Beavers going to a bowl game in 3 out of 5 cases, and coming up just 1 win short in another, with 4-8 the floor for the season, seems like it could be real.
The first simulation has the Beavers going 2-1 in non-conference, and 3-6 in the Pac-12, and that's the one where Washington wins the Rose Bowl. It also has Utah going 9-4, and Washington St. 5-7. Maybe one or the other could happen, but both?
The next run through is Oregon St.'s best outcome, going 8-5, after a perfect non-conference run, a 4-5 Pac-12 campaign, and a win in the Russell Athletic Bowl over Georgia Tech. It assumes a very strong overall season for the Conference, with 9 teams in bowl games, hence a pair of "At Large" bowls, for both the Beavs and the Cougs.
In simulation #3, the Beavers wind up with a sub-.500 season, but only because of a loss to Notre Dame in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. However, that also projects going 1-2 against Eastern Washington, Hawaii, and San Diego St. And USC beating an 11-1 Oregon team in Autzen in the Pac-12 title game. There would be lots to write about along that road.
The 4th simulated season sees the Beavers finishing 4-8, after a 2-1 non-conference campaign. That one has Arizona St., widely expected to be a contender in the Pac-12 South, staggering to a 2-10 season, and the Huskies winning the Pac-12 North over a BCS At-Large qualifying Oregon team that subsequently loses to North Carolina!
Injuries could cause a 4-8 run for Oregon St. in the tough Pac-12, but when you look at some of the other events that unfold in that scenario, I doubt many think that one will "Be Real."
The last run through end with the Beavers once again in San Francisco for the Hungry for a Successful Season Bowl, and picking up a winning season with a win over North Carolina St. It assumes a 4-5 Pac-12 campaign in a year that would have Oregon in the Alamo Bowl, and both UCLA and Washington in BCS Bowls.
Interestingly, 4 of 5 scenarios do not see Oregon St. sweeping their pre-season schedule, which probably suggests San Diego St. is headed for a good season. The Aztecs are the popular pre-season pick to win the Mountain West West division. (That's not a stutter; the Mountain West is splitting into the Mountain and West divisions this year.)
And how much fun would we all (except for Oregon fans) have if Boise St. not only finally claims a National Championship for the "BCS Outsiders", but does it at the Ducks' expense? Maybe EA Sports is keeping it real after all?
Here's the complete results:
|Sim 1||Sim 2||Sim 3||Sim 4||Sim 5|
|Champ:||UW over UCLA||Oregon over USC||USC over Oregon||USC over UW||UCLA over UW|
|Sun||Oregon L vs Miami||Arizona L vs Florida St||Arizona L vs Ga Tech||Arizona L vs BC||Utah L vs Ga Tech|
|Alamo||USC W vs Ok St||USC L vs K State||UW W vs WVU||UW L vs Oklahoma||Oregon W vs Ok St|
|Fight Hunger||Utah W vs UCF||UCLA W vs Louisville||OSU L vs Notre Dame||WSU L vs Louisville||OSU W vs NC State|
|Holiday||UCLA L vs Kansas||ASU W vs Ok St||ASU W vs Ok St||UCLA L vs Ok St||USC W vs Texas|
|Las Vegas||ASU W vs Utah St||UW W vs Air Force||UCLA W vs Fresno St||Utah L vs Fresno St||Arizona L vs Fresno St|
|New Mexico||Stan W vs TCU||Stan W vs WKU||Utah W vs Utah State||Stanford W vs SJSU|
|Rose||UW W vs Florida||USC L vs Ohio St||USC L vs Iowa||UCLA L vs Mich St|
|Russel Athletic||OSU W vs Ga Tech|
|BBVA Compass||WSU L vs BC||ASU W vs UConn|
|Sugar||Oregon L vs Alabama||Oregon L vs UNC|
|Orange||UW W vs Maryland|
|BCSCG||Oregon L vs Boise St|
How about that!
Discuss and dispute below!
Better yet, if you've got your copy, and have some dog days of summer to kill, run your own season and share the results!