Anyone else prefer EA's NCAA Football over Madden?

So Madden 08 is available at midnight and gamers I know are giddy with anticipation. When I mention my preference for the EA Sports College Football franchise over Madden they look at me funny. Anyone else like the college football game over its professional kin?

Even though I’m not getting either of this year’s game (damn EA only improving the games on the next-gen consoles), I like the NCAA games better than Madden. There are just so many more teams, so many different styles of play, so many more varied skill levels among the teams, campus rivalries, etc.

Count me as another fan of the NCAA series over Madden. I just can’t get into a Madden title like I can an NCAA game. I don’t, however, run out and get the new one every year.

The even stranger thing is that I really dislike watching real college football and much prefer professional.

I’ll play the counterpoint, then. I haven’t played NCAA since '05. You couldn’t throw a deep slant, any kind of an out, and you couldn’t rip the ball through coverage.
Deep passes were way too easy, especially playing online.

This year’s Madden better be a big step up. I downloaded the All-Pro Football demo and liked it a lot. I’ll give it one more year to see how it plays out.
My big pet peeves with Madden are skill inflation and historical players. Skill inflation is that much worse when you take historical players into account. Basketball games have better skill rating systems.

Count me in for preferring the NCAA over the Madden franchise. As has been mentioned, more teams, more offensive styles (you can play an option run team in NCAA, or a long bomb thrower. Try getting the first viable with more than two or three plays for an NFL team in Madden), a better Franchise/Dynasty/Season/Whatever mode.

The last is huge for me. I want to play a team through multiple seasons. I want to play until the team is entirely my own through recruitment/drafting. It’s just richer in the NCAA game. The off-season is more fun. In recent iterations, having to bench players for academic failing is a fun twist, especially when it’s your star RB before a big rivalry game. I don’t care about the Madden Dynasty mode with trying to improve stadium facilities, set ticket prices, etc. NCAA just captures my imagination more.

One extra thing for me is that I root for a real-life college team or two (go Terps!), but not any NFL teams. Playing the college game better aligns with my viewing interest.

This is a huge part of it for me as well, but for I guess an odd reason. My high school football team was 0-37 on the field in my four years (we won three games via forfeit due to school districts being on strike) and for that reason, I guess, I identify with struggling schools. So last year, I started Dynasty play with Temple and got them into major bowl consideration within a few years. This year I’ve started with Duke (0-12 last year, I think 0-22 and counting in ACC play) but that team is decent, I went 7-5 and got to a bowl game, losing something like the Dick’s Sporting Goods Bowl to 10-2 Purdue.

I love targeting recruits during the season; I found out before my season finale v N Carolina that I’d landed the #2 scrambling qb and the #1 free safety in the nation, along with a top 15 wr; all of them fortunately from North Carolina, one of my precious few ‘feeder’ states. Those were the only three of my 15 targeted recruits that I got but I spent almost all my ‘hours’ with them. Now I need an offensive line, I was mauled by FSU and the other ACC powers, but I did upset heavily favored Clemson at my place.

I’d feel silly about being a 35 year old that much into a football game but I just listened to a 50 minute podcast by ESPN’s Sports Guy discussing the evolution of, and his unquestioned devotion to, video game football in general and the Madden franchise in particular. But he failed to mention the best Sega Genesis football game - College Football’s National Championship! Almost as egregiously I believe he didn’t mention Super Tecmo Bowl, whose progression from the introductory version was revolutionary to me.

I also love the franchise mode. Madden dispensed with the ticket prices and such (last year, at least. They might have brought it back this year).

I hate the ratings inflation. I heard that Devin Hester has the first 100 speed. Are you kidding me? If the game still has historicla players, how can he be faster than Deion Sanders? The average player in that game needs to be something like a 50 instead of a 75.

Actually, that’s not a bad idea. I’d like to see what the average player would be. Video games also fail the Barry Sanders test. It’s very hard, but not impossible, to convey his running through the video game. They just max out all h is stats and call him “Barry”, which isn’t right.

Bah. I can go on for a long time about this.

I fell in love with NCAA '05 and haven’t stopped playing it. It goes just in-depth enough to be fun and challenging; it doesn’t require micromanagement. Offense is also way, way more organic than any other game I’ve played.

Over the course of six seasons my offense went from a ball-control, freshman-quarterbacked team to an explosive, senior-quarterbacked, veteran lineup (With the best set of receivers EVER. My slot guy was a 92 overall and vicious on special teams!). Then I handed the reins to a scrambling junior who broke several records and went pro immediately. Then I turned to my current incarnation: a bulldozing running attack supplemented by medium range passing.

Thanks to Arkansas’ creative utilization of Darren McFadden and Felix Jones, I tweaked the ol’ wishbone and Maryland-I for my players. I plugged in my top receiver at QB, a combination of speed and blocking in the backfield, then, and this is the Big Secret, put backup offensive tackles in the tight end spots for Big and Double TE sets. That really gives the line that extra, nasty bite necessary for option- and edge-based running attacks.

You just can’t do that with Madden.

I was rapt listening to this too. You aren’t alone. And I too was floored that they didn’t mention Tecmo Super Bowl (note the correction). It’s addition of the ongoing All-time stats feature was what made it so addictive.

Yeah, I also like the idea of taking a struggling team from worst to first. I remember I started beating up on scrub schools, worked my way up through conferences.

Then my first big game I went into Neyland Stadium to play the #3 University of Tennessee Volunteers on the road. Boy did that place ROCK. Huge crowd, playing against the most stacked team I’d ever played against before. Video games usually don’t get my adrenalin pumping, but I was on the edge of my seat for that game.

Do the college football games still start you off with every player on every roster identified only by number? That really sort of dampened my enthusiasm for the few college titles I’ve bought over the years - “Flutie goes deep” is cool, “#11 goes deep” isn’t, somehow.

Yes, they do. NCAA rule.

If I remember, it’s because the players, as unpaid student athletes, cannot have their names or likenesses used, especially for profit. Same reason that one cannot buy college jerseys with names on them.

There’s some sort of exception for showing an athlete on the cover of the game, but I can’t recall why.

The athletes on the cover have exhausted or forfeited their eligibility. They could put in names on the All-time teams where all the players have graduated, but they don’t. This is probably because they would have to obtain this permission from each player individually. There’s no NCAA equivalent to the NFLPA to handle licensing issues for likenesses of current and former players.

It’s a lot of trouble, but I have a friend that goes in and edits the team information to reflect the current roster. In most cases, the announcer ‘recognizes’ the inputted name and will say it when play calling.

I’ll agree with what others have said and expand on my first post a bit by saying that it’s so much more fun to take an underpowered team (my alma mater for instance) and build them into a championship team. When I first started playing around with it, none of my games were televised and it felt like only a small step above high school games. I really felt like the heat was on during my first televised game. It was really an awesome experience coming from a video game. I’d also start checking the Sports Illustrated covers and coaches’ poll every week to see how I was doing. Madden somehow never even comes close to that level of involvement for me.