EA Sports' NCAA Football 11 is now available in your favorite electronics store. There are a few new improvements to the game, including an online dynasty and upgraded visuals (playing the demo on X-Box 360 in HD was like watching a real game). But there are two especially that stand out for me.
Improved offensive line play means more big runs: As much as I like pitching it around, I always pick teams that can run out of the spread. Playing the demo with Missouri (you can't always play with UF, homer), not only was I able to pass the ball like usual, but could rip off draws and counters without being destroyed in the backfield. That is because, compared to previous editions, NCAA Football 11 does a much better job with offensive line play. You can play action against a five man rush without getting a three-yard loss. Not only that, there is a better relationship (I don't know if that is the word) between where you want the back to go and where the hole is. Any gamer knows the frustration of seeing the hole and running over the back of the pulling guard. Instead, you steer the back towards the hole and he goes through it in NCAA Football 11. In my demo (Mizzou vs. Clemson), I had runs of 60 and 25 yards on a draw and counter.
The premiere of the Sickles Gryphons: One of the best things about the NCAA Football franchise was the ability to create your own school. The problem was if you went to a school with an awful nickname (like the Gryphons), Brad Nessler would have to say, "the Florida Gators versus...the home team!" In NCAA Football 11, more than 4,000 nicknames were added to the game. You can play as the Sickles Gryphons, Trinity Catholic Celtics or River Ridge Royal Knights. Finally, the Gryphons can fully join the SEC after kicking out Vandy. Maybe for NCAA Football 12, EA Sports can get Nessler to record school names, too.
And now, a message from our sponsor.
When you go to a particular school or grow up around college football, you are more than just a fan. It’s who you are. We thought we could leverage this pride in your roots and show that "where you come from" is more than just a statement about geography. By positioning NCAA Football 11 as a game that understands this pride and is authentic to these traditions, the takeaway should be that anything that is in college football is in NCAA Football 11.
And this doesn’t just include game play (though that’s a huge part of it). It’s rivals and mascots; it’s legends and stories. It’s those things that are at the very fabric of the game itself. Of course the game is great this year as well. With authentic entrances, mascots and specific offenses for each team, the term “where I come from” takes on a much larger meaning. While playing NCAA Football 11 is ultimately a great sports sim, it should also give you a sense of the pride and emotion one has for being a fan of a team they will never not be a part of.