January 1,2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Michigan Wolverines running back Vincent Smith (2) reacts on the field after he was tackled by South Carolina Gamecocks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (not pictured) and forced a fumble during the second half of the 2013 Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium. South Carolina Gamecocks defeated the Michigan Wolverines 33-28. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

EA Sports NCAA Football 14 Will Have Issues; We'll Still Love It

More responsible adults than myself see leaking news of player and team ratings in EA Sports’ latest installment of their college football franchise, NCAA Football 14, and they may think about the ramifications of the upcoming Ed O’Bannon lawsuit.

I’m an adult, in name. I watch the news sometimes and do other adult things and… OH MY GOD, I DON’T CARE ABOUT ANY OF THAT I JUST LIKE TO PLAY VIDEO GAMES!!!!!

I don’t give two wiggles of a possum’s ass about using names and likenesses. I know that I should. I’m an educated person who wants to see injustices righted, but as long as I get to sit down for 14 hours in the middle of July when I have nothing better to do and make virtual Gary Pinkel lose his virtual job as I come off the edge with little digital Jadeveon Clowney, I don’t really care.

That’s because I’m selfish, and my indulgences are not to be trifled with.

I’ve got my own very important list of concerns with the status of NCAA Football 14 that I’ve been worrying about. The first of which being, can I finally win the Heisman Trophy with a defensive player?

It’s a virtual award that I’ve coveted since 2006, when I had over 70 sacks with former Notre Dame Fighting Irish defensive end Victor Abiamiri and didn’t even crack the Top Five. Certainly there has never been a greater travesty in video game award voting history.

However, I’m optimistic that this might finally be the year. Manti Te’o finished second in the real-life Heisman voting last year, and Jadeveon Clowney finished sixth after his unbelievable sophomore campaign.

Now, parlaying the legend of his hit against Vincent Smith in the Outback Bowl–I’m still not sure how Clowney avoided vehicular manslaughter charges, by the way–Jadeveon Clowney seems like the most likely candidate to become the first full-time defender to win the real Heisman. I’m hoping that transfers over to the game.

EA Sports has rated Jadeveon Clowney with a perfect 99 overall rating, making him the highest-rated player in the game. I’m still not entirely certain that Clowney isn’t underrated, but if he is the most dominant digital specimen in the game, I suppose that’s accurate enough.

What it boils down to for Clowney’s NCAA Football 14 Heisman chances, is has EA Sports reworked whatever stupid, dumb  little Heisman algorithm they have worked into their game?

In the decade that I’ve played the game, the virtual committee has inexplicably white-washed me from history more times than I’d care to acknowledge. The aforementioned Abiamiri snow-job was a tough pill to swallow in my incredibly rough suburban life, but it paled in comparison to the highway robbery of NCAA Football 11.

After winning three consecutive Heisman trophies and three consecutive national titles with Tyler Bray and the Tennessee Volunteers, I was set to cement digital Tyler’s place in digital history with a fourth consecutive Heisman. I… He played majestically, throwing for just shy of 5,700 yards and 58 touchdowns to just two interceptions on his way to another undefeated season and a national title, only to be defeated by a pedestrian 3,500/35/7 campaign from that ass Aaron Murray. And Georgia went like 10-3!

Virtual Tyler made some virtual remarks that were less than savory after the award presentation, and his draft stock plummeted when NFL general managers openly questioned his character. He was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Kansas City Chiefs. Weird, right?

Anyways, that’s one thing I’d like to see addressed in NCAA Football 14.

Another constant concern when it comes to EA Sports is realism. With the O’Bannon suit set to derail this franchise, you get the feeling that the folks at EA are trying to avoid having the players and teams bear too close a resemblance to the actual thing. That’s why Clowney is a 99 overall and not a 7,000.

However, there’s always a general aura of incompetence involved in it, as well. EA Sports, after all, isn’t exactly known for excellence. As a matter of fact, they’re a huge load of wet leaves left to smolder in a dumpster on a hot summer day.

For example, they’ve got the Vanderbilt Commodores rated as the worst team in the SEC, which is insanely funny, but simply not true. You don’t even have to be a die-hard to know that Vanderbilt is on the uptick, and after dump-trucking Kentucky 40-0 at their place last season, winning nine games AND returning 70% of their letter-winners, you figure they’d at least get the courtesy of not being worse than the Wildcats.

Instead, in the interest of casual fandom, EA Sports has done what all great casual fans have done and laughed uncontrollably while swiftly rating Vanderbilt at the bottom of the SEC where we all assume they belong. You know, because they’re Vanderbilt and all.

Ultimately, these are two pretty paltry complaints, I suppose. There’s going to be a litany of issues and video gamers will likely trash the game itself, but college football fans will still turn out in droves to their local Gamestop to get their copy at midnight on the release date.

Sure, EA Sports is a bad company who might make a bad game, but it’s freaking college football, folks. We love it unconditionally in all its machinations.

Besides, you better enjoy it while you can. Depending on how the O’Bannon lawsuit plays out, NCAA Football 14 could be the last college football video game we see for some time.

Tags: EA Sports Ed O'Bannon Lawsuit Jadeveon Clowney NCAA Football 14 SEC Vanderbilt Commodores Video Games

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