NCAA Football Franchise Makes Shocking Return

Fans of NCAA rejoice at the return of the collegiate football video game. Photo by Jordan Boitnott/The Jambar

By Jordan Boitnott

On Feb. 2, EA Sports dropped the bombshell they were bringing back their beloved NCAA Football franchise. After their announcement, chaos broke loose on Twitter and many other social media platforms. Gamers all over the country expressed their excitement.

Colt Fairbanks, a Penn State fan and NCAA Football player, said he’s been waiting years for the franchise to return.

“This is awesome. When you write this article, you better emphasize that because I am losing my freaking mind. I’ve been waiting years for the game that I spent countless hours playing as a kid to finally return after all these years,” he said. “It brings back a lot of memories playing with friends and has a lot of potential to bring back people to the gaming world.” 

The last version of the game to release was NCAA Football 14. In 2013, the NCAA announced they wouldn’t renew their contract with the gaming company due to legal battles since the game used players’ likenesses. 

The franchise reached mainstream popularity once again last year during quarantine when Barstool Sports’ Big Cat streamed Dynasty Mode games under the persona “Coach Duggs.” The run included nightly streams, photoshopped Sports Illustrated magazine covers and even staged press conferences.

The Dynasty Mode, Big Cat, played is a fan favorite and one of the main reasons gamers are so excited for the franchise to return. The game mode allows you to take over any Division 1 school of your choosing as the head coach and build a “dynasty” by recruiting players and playing out seasons in hopes of winning a national championship.

Kyle Ricketts, an avid NCAA Football player, said dynasty was his favorite game mode.

“My favorite [memory] is playing those game modes with my buddies back when I was a kid, at 15 years old. The satisfaction and enjoyment I had of playing with my buddies and beating them in championship games is something I hope I can experience again once the new game comes out,” he said.

Ricketts also said he is curious to see how the game will have evolved and improved since the last installment.

“The creative game modes like Road to Glory and Ultimate Team are awesome, but I’m really excited for them to add the new NCAA playoff system into the new game since that’s something the old one didn’t have,” he said. “I’m also curious to see how they make changes to the recruiting part of the game. I hope they make it more detailed and unique.”

The two game modes Ricketts discussed are also fan favorites. Road to Glory is a game mode where players can start their own personal career as a player in high school, graduate, and then play their college career. Ultimate team is a card collecting game that allows players to build their team with past NCAA football legends like the iconic “Epic Bo Jackson” card and compete online against other players.

Ricketts discussed his love for the ultimate team game mode and why it holds a special place in his heart.

“The nostalgia is what does it for me, being able to play with my favorite players like Tim Tebow was awesome. One card stood out from the rest though, everyone who plays knows. Epic Bo was a god, simple as that,” he said.

Cody Taylor, a college football enthusiast, said he hopes they do the game justice and do it right for the fans.

“I think this game will bring a lot of people back, if done right. I haven’t touched my Xbox in two years, but I will 100% buy a PS5 just to play NCAA,” he said. I almost cried when I heard the news. I just hope they don’t screw it up like Madden. Honestly, I don’t know anyone who will even play Madden anymore when this game comes out. I know I won’t.”

EA Sports announced they have over 100 universities on board to return. According to ESPN, the game is expected to release sometime in 2023.