I'm no scientist but I have to imagine that, based on the demographics, the Venn Diagram of "College Football Fans" and "Gamers" has some serious overlap. With that conclusion drawn I think it's safe to say that, alongside Signing Day and Schedule Release Day, NCAA Football 20-- Day ranks pretty high in the pantheon of Off-Season milestones for the average CFB Fan. Until fatherhood robbed me of all Nintendo related activity, I was just like you, checking Amazon.com religiously after bowl season to see when the next edition was available for pre-order and shelling out my $59.99 like the sheep that I was/am. Not because I expected any MAJOR changes because, let's face it, at EA Sports innovation begins and ends with the iPhone money Madden franchise. No, I simply bought it because I wanted every single subsequent digitally displayed TCU roster to win their games by scores of 77-0, go undefeated and win the national title. Sure, there was always the frustration of the EA programmers falling behind the times and ranking TCU's best players in the 70s, but that just made it that much more exciting when the Frogs would sweep awards season. The latest editions even let you design your own Coach to slightly resemble yourself, and even give them your name, so it's like you were a part of it all! You mean I can fake Coach a fake TCU squad? SIGN! ME! UP!
But this year is different. For one, as mentioned above, having a 2-month old in the house pretty much saps those 45 minute spurts you need to play a game and recruit, and what free time you DO have is mostly spent tip toeing around quietly and breathing at half your normal pace in order to not wake the baby. Needless to say my "throwing the controller and dropping F bombs at the TV when the computer intercepts your QB on 5 straight possessions after going into 'Eff You, You Aren't Winning This Game" mode don't jibe with my new family arrangement. On top of that the cover features Robert Griffin which, while not a deal breaker, certainly makes me hesitant to spend my hard earned coin on something that is indirectly lining Baylor's pockets.
Truthfully, I probably could've gotten past those two things; Limit gaming opportunities to Saturday afternoons when mom and baby are venturing out into the world and replace the cover with a TCU related custom one EA usually provides, if not just tossing out the Griffin one altogether. But, this year EA chose to implement one of their 5 year innovation overhauls for the NCAA franchise, the byproduct of which pretty much killed my NCAA Football days for good. For those of you who haven't been paying attention to the zillion commercials bombarding each and every sporting event you watch, EA's big new improvement for this year's version was to not only add a handful of former Heisman winners to the game, but make those players available additions to ANY roster. Not sure who TCU is going to pair with Jason Verrett on the outside? Just add Charles Woodson! Josh Boyce graduates and Brandon Carter falls victim to the bullshit EA computer transfer? Desmond Howard is there to fill his place! Ed Wesley quits the team? Eddie George, Barry Sanders or Bo Jackson should fit in VERY nicely. Casey Pachall's legs not cutting it in the VERY option friendly gaming world and you can't adjust your play-calling technique? Just add Vince You... oh wait, nevermind! Sorry, UT fans. But, you get the point.
On the surface it sounds pretty cool, which goes double for Florida fans desperate for the days of Tim Tebow in the wake of the John Brantley debacle. But, thanks to the magic of targeted internet marketing, what should be a pretty amazing addition to the game is suddenly revealed to have a dark side. Behold!
In case that isn't clear, that's a picture of Robert Griffin playing for TCU. I died a little inside just typing that. To be honest, despite at one point working for an internet marketing company, I have no idea how this stuff works. Could Griffin for TCU be showing up everywhere? Does the interweb KNOW I'm a TCU fan and thus target this as such? Judging by how Eddie George - an OSU player - shows up in the bottom right of that screen shot playing for Michigan, either EA's programmers have no clue how college football works or they're trying to make Hate Marketing a thing. Considering UT's roster is a perfect 99, the former is likely.
We've obviously shared our opinions on Griffin here in some form or another, so I'm not going to fully go back down that road. Just for the record, I believe Griffin was a good college QB who came along at precisely the right time - weak Big 12, no overwhelmingly eye-popping Heisman contenders especially on the top teams, a shift away from awarding the Heisman to a running back in recent years in a year when the nation's best team's best player was a RB, etc - to capitalize on his talents and had the rags to riches Disney story to back it up by doing so at Baylor. Had Griffin waited to come out next year, it's entirely possible he'd fall out of the top 10. You could call his success a fluke, right Robert? If he wins big in Washington it will be the biggest football shocker of my life.
So with that said, REALLY EA Sports? SERIOUSLY? Why on EARTH would a TCU fan EVER put Robert Griffin in a purple uniform? For one, fuck that sideline crying, excuse making bitch. For two, I don't care how good they were, I'm never putting a UT, Tech, Baylor or SMU player on our team, even in the magic world of video games. But the most important point? Casey Pachall is better. Seriously. Naysayers will point out that Pachall lost to Griffin head to head, but think about it. That was his first EVER NCAA start...and he almost led one of the greatest TCU comebacks ever. He completed 64% of his passes and tossed 4 TDs. In his first game. Griffin was in his fourth year, counting the one he pussed out with an injury. He had the better receivers and offensive line. He was at home. It was his game to lose, and he almost did. He almost lost to Kansas. He DID lose to aggy. AGGY! Griffin was 24-18 as a college starter, he didn't win ten games TOTAL until his third season under center. Pachall won 10 before bowls were even announced in year one. Some may say apples to oranges given the schedules and teams, but it's not like Pachall's defense was giving him much more help than Griffin's in any year, and it's not like Kansas or aggy were worth any more damns than most of our foes. You could argue that their marquee performances - Pachall vs Boise, Griffin vs OU - were of equal merit but, again, Pachall was a RS freshman playing on the road in a hostile environment for a Conference title, not at home in the one year Baylor's stadjium actually came semi-alive. Griffin may have the Heisman, but it's a team sport and if we're basing it on that, I'll take Pachall's unfinished TCU career over Griffin's any day.
I fear my Nintendo days are forever finished.
Seriously, EA Sports, what a dick!