Today is Christmas Day and I’m here at home, in Birmingham, spending it with family. We had a bit of a freak weather pattern roll through earlier, complete with a tornado warning and James Spann in suspenders. To pass the time by, we had battles playing Madden NFL 15 on PlayStation 3. It was actually my first time engaging in such activities on Christmas Day since the late 90s, when I used to go to war with my aunt in EA Sports’ NCAA Football series. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: the EA Sports NCAA Football series.
How I first came across this moment? I first came across the NCAA Football series on Christmas Day 1997. That’s when I scored NCAA Football 98 on PlayStation. After settling in with the controls, I made good use of the Ohio State Buckeyes and did damage with QB #7 (Joe Germaine) and CB #19 (Ahmed Plummer). When I did play my aunt later that afternoon, we had an intense Alabama vs. Ohio State game that I won 34-24. As I got more and more acclimated to the game, I discovered the Dynasty mode and went about building a juggernaut. My father purchased NCAA Football 99 and 2000 for me over the next couple of years. Starting with NCAA Football 2001 in August 2000, I would purchase the final 14 installments in the series until its discontinuation after NCAA Football 14. I bought the game specifically for the Dynasty mode…and even bought Madden as a complement, just so I could draft myself and my friends in that game’s Franchise mode. My favorite installment in the NCAA Football series was NCAA Football 2004. I played the Dynasty mode out with Vanderbilt for about 10 seasons and I ended up winning every Bowl Championship Series game, including two national championships…one of them, a split with Texas A&M.
What it meant to me then? Back in the late 90s and early 2000s, when I was at the height of my fever for the game, I absolutely felt like a kid in a candy store every time I got the new installment. I would stay up into the wee hours of the morning, customizing my settings and uploading rosters I got from Fairdale Kings.
What it means to me now? I haven’t really played the series since EA Sports discontinued it behind that Ed O’Bannon case. I still have NCAA Football 14 and if I’m being honest, it’s the only reason I still have my PlayStation 3. It’ll be a tough ask to expect the NCAA to shell out money to the players for the likenesses depicted in the game so I think it’s a wrap on this series as well as the 2K Sports College Hoops series I enjoyed. It’s all a sad ending to beautiful games.