There are certain times of the college football offseason that stand out each and every year. National Signing Day, the moment Phil Steele’s magazine finally hits shelves, media days and, of course, the day EA releases the latest NCAA video game.
For me, this has always been a telling sign that the long, painful offseason is coming to a close. And as nerdy and desperate as that may sound and seem, (and believe me I am very much both at the moment), I know there are plenty of you out there who feel the exact same way.
Last year I kicked off the NCAA ’11 festivities by simulating the season and reporting the findings. Your Heisman winner? Arkansas wide receiver Greg Childs who started off hot on the actual turf but eventually missed a good portion of the season after injuring his patellar tendon. Kegs ‘n Eggs curse? Your national champion was the Arkansas Razorbacks, a pick that while incorrect wasn’t all that far off. Their opponent, West Virginia, was.
As for this year, we’re back on that virtual horse. There were no trial runs, test simulations, or any staging of the sort. I began simulating at nearly one a.m. after picking the game up at midnight, and frankly fixing a video game simulation seems slightly more embarrassing than this entire thing already is. I think the results will verify this is not at all staged. (Ron Zook agrees)
Without further adieu, I give you the first Virtual Stimulation Simulation of 2011 – the entire season previewed using the greatest game on the planet.
A sleeper in the eyes of many, Florida State’s E.J. Manuel takes home the Heisman in the simulation. 41 touchdowns, 3101 passing yards, and 909 rushing yards gets it done for him and the Florida State Seminoles. If you’re trusting this particular simulation, you can get Manuel at the Heisman betting window at the cool price of 50/1. [quickly logs into Bodog account and bets entire life savings]
As for the rest, here’s how it went down.
2. Case Keenum, Houston – 58 total touchdowns and 3, yes 3, interceptions. Monster of a season, but should we be surprised? It’s obvious that Case has learned a lot in his 11 years in college football.
3. Trent Richardson, Alabama – Nearly 1,300 yards rushing and 500 receiving yards. Not bad considering the game can’t really factor in he could squat the entire cheerleading squad.
4. Andrew Luck, Stanford – 42 touchdowns and only 5 interceptions is good for fourth place. Larry Scott will still likely find a way to bring down this post and make him the winner, so stay tuned.
5. Stephen Garcia, South Carolina – Well, well, well, I must say that I’m impressed. 33 passing touchdowns, 5 rushing touchdowns and ONLY one fumble. Best of all, not a single run in with virtual beer, which we can only assume EA can account for.
It’s the Case Kennum show, y’all, and look at Illinois getting plenty of hardware love. TRUST ME, the amount of Zook in this post will only increase. Buckle up.
Maxwell: Case Kennum, QB, Houston
Walter Camp: Case Keenum, QB, Houston
Bednarik: Justin Green, CB, Illinois (yep)
Thorpe: Justin Green, CB, Illinois (yep, yep)
Nagurski: Justin Green, CB, Illinois (yep, yep, yep computer explodes)
Lombardi: Donte Paige-Moss, DE, North Carolina
O’Brien: Case Keenum, QB, Houston
Walker: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
Biletnikoff: Royce Pollard, WR, Hawaii (wait till you see these #s)
Mackey: Brian Linthicum, TE, Michigan State
Outland: Phil Smith, RT, Georgia Tech
Rimington: Jay Finch, C, Georgia Tech (Yellow Jacket dominance)
Groza: Jeremy Shelley, K, Alabama
Guy: David Lerner, P, Florida
-Illinois goes 12-1. No, really they did. To celebrate, I-L-L gives Ron Zook a lifetime contract extension.
-And on that note, Washington goes 10-2 to lead the Pac-12 North. Addition by subtraction? Why yes, yes it is.
-Oregon goes 4-8 and finishes 8th in the Pac-12. Yahoo! Sports is now investigating.
-The Florida Gators fire off a 6-6 season under Muschamp, good for 10th in the SEC. They did, however, beat out Kentucky and 1-win Vandy.
-The ACC gets three 11-win teams and one of them is NC State. Clemson finishes 5-7 which is good for 10th in the conference. Duke finished 9th.
-Oklahoma’s loaded team doesn’t pan out. An early 41-7 loss at FSU sets the tone and they finish 8-4.
-USF dominates (and I mean dominates) the Big East going 11-1. I wouldn’t go running to the betting window on this one.
The Brady Hoke era starts off with a 9-4 season. Not too shabby, Michigan.
In their first year in the B1G, Nebraska goes 8-4. Not bad, but no match for Illinois. Had to put that down one more time.
-The nation’s leading rusher? Western Kentucky’s Bobby Rainey who goes for 1,626 yards and averaged 6.3 yards a carry. But clearly we knew this.
-Hawaii WR Royce Pollard catches 128 balls for 2,030 yards and 24 touchdowns. Dayum.
-OK State’s Justin Blackmon catches a pedestrian (for him): 1292 yards and 16 touchdowns. Florida State wide receiver Bert Reed nearly matches him catching 1293 yards and 14 touchdowns.
-UGA’s Aaron Murray throws for 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions while Tennessee’s Tyler Bray gets hurt early and finished with only 108 attempts.
-Looking for a bounce back, Texas QB Garrett Gilbert throws 16 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, although Texas still gets 8 wins.
-Auburn quarterbacks combine (they split plenty o’ time) to throw for 28 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. UF’s John Brantley, however, managed 21 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions. Charlie magic…
-Michigan’s Denard Robinson manages only 19 scores and 342 yards rushing after getting hurt midseason
The Rose Bowl – Illinois vs. Utah: Oh, EA. Kudos for giving is all a violent chuckle as we celebrate your wonderful game. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to very politely place my Xbox on a set of train tracks. Congrats to Ron Zook on firing off the first of many 13-win seasons!
The Orange Bowl – Virginia Tech vs. TCU: I’ll sign up for this matchup right now, and this is a nice refreshing showdown compared to our first bowl. TCU heads to the Big East in impressive fashion, which is like saying you dressed up because you ironed your 3rd nicest pair of pants.
The Fiesta Bowl – Alabama vs. Oklahoma State: The best of the bowl matchups and it’s not even close, and the game turned out to be a good one as well. John Junker may be gone, y’all, but Alabama fans celebrate his departure be racking up record strip club tabs throughout the week.
The Sugar Bowl: NC State vs. USF: Go Crazy! Now this is the matchup we’ve been DYING for! If you’re like EA and think these two teams will finish 2011-2012 with a combined 3 losses, I think it’s time you check yourself in to college football rehab. It ain’t that bad.
The National Championship: Boise State vs. South Carolina
Storyline Overload. Kellen Moore, Marcus Lattimore, Tom Rinaldi, Stephen Garcia, the Ol’ Ball Coach, trick plays, blue turf, visors, Alshon Jeffery, oh my goodness – head explodes
Admit it, you’d love to see what Stephen Garcia would do in a situation like this. Just imagine the parties. You’d also love to see Steve Spurrier in the spotlight for a good 40 days and watch him answer the exact same question the exact same way and not flinch.
Then there’s Boise State. What better way to stick it to, well, everyone then to win the title, dust a little dirt of the shoulder, and tell the Department of Justice “the system is fine, bro.” And what about Kellen Moore? What a fitting way to send off one of college football’s most underappreciated to the next level.
As for the winner, according to EA, college football will have only one undefeated team in 2011-2012.