The greatest sports video game of all time turned seven years old today.
On July 9, 2013, NCAA Football 14 was released to the world. And nothing has been the same since.
Okay, even if you don’t think it’s the greatest sports video game of all time, there’s no denying that the lasting impact and relevance of NCAA Football 14 is one of a kind. College football video games are always going to be a hit. But when EA and the NCAA deprives us of them for so long, the most recent release begins to take on a legacy of its own.
Was it perfect? Absolutely not. The recruiting system was boring. There are still several bugs that have been around since launch. The dumbed down Road to Glory mode is more dull than previous installments. But man, it’s still fun to play all these years later.
Most recently, Big Cat from Barstool Sports brought the game back to the limelight with the Coach Gus Duggerton saga. Obviously, Duggs’ tenure with Tennessee was well documented, and culminated in Tennessee’s first (albeit, fake) national championship in decades.
I recently fired up my old XBOX 360 to play, and was reminded of a dynasty from my actual college days. My offensive coordinator, creatively named “AJ COok,” started as an offensive coordinator at Old Dominion. The offensive genius of his spread option offense dragged the Monarchs to an 8-4 record and an Armed Forces Bowl win.
A solid first season as OC earned him a spot in Atlanta in the same position with Georgia Tech. Paul Johnson’s triple option offense translated well to the spread option, and the Yellow Jackets finished the season 11-3 with a loss in the ACC Championship game and Orange Bowl victory. COok’s final season as OC was in College Station, where the Texas A&M Aggies went a perfect 14-0 behind the arm and legs of 6’0″ redshirt senior QB#2 (definitely not Johnny Manziel, according to the NCAA).
Finally, the prodigal son returned home to Tennessee as head coach. And the rest, as they say, is history. I think I actually somehow got tired of Tennessee winning the national championship every year.
Point being, that is what makes this game so great. Every one of us that ever played has their own stories. If you feel like sharing, let us know about them on twitter, and we can compare notes.
Happy birthday, NCAA 14!