Bring Back NCAA Football Games

Today, I will be briefly ranting about two things near and dear to my heart: football and video games. More specifically, I will be talking about NCAA Football video games. NCAA 14 was the last college football game released by EA, do to licensing disputes and a plethora of other issues. At the time in which the games were still coming out, I wasn’t an exceptional fan. I liked them, I always purchased them, but with the exception of 2012, I always preferred Madden games to their NCAA counterpart (Madden 12 was awful). However, I recently started watching a YouTube gaming channel which featured an NCAA 14 Dynasty series, which hit me right in the nostalgia spot. So, for the first time in years, I hooked up my old Xbox 360 and played some NCAA 13. I ended up not buying NCAA 14 for whatever reason, so I made do with what I had. I was immediately enthralled by the game. I had forgotten just how in-depth and fun the Dynasty mode was. I absolutely love the recruiting process and I find it to be just as fun, if not more so, than the actual games themselves. The nature of college football forces players to constantly be looking to the teams future, as you have a maximum of 5 seasons at most with any and all in-game players. Currently, I am going into my 4th season as head coach of my local team, the Marshall University Thundering Herd. I hold an immaculate record, having lost only 4 games in those 3 completed years (playing on Heisman difficulty, of course). I have both a Rose Bowl and Orange Bowl victory, and two C-USA Championships to show for my success. I’m pressing on in my dynasty, not feeling the slightest hint of exhaustion or boredom toward the game. This has led me to raise the question of why in the world the NCAA and EA Sports have not revived this series. The game is exceptional. I obviously don’t have exact figures, but I’m 100% certain that the NCAA Football series made millions of dollars for EA. It undoubtedly exposed a significant amount of people to college football, to the benefit of the NCAA. Surely the two sides could reach an agreement on a way to bring the series back. On top of that, the game could be heavily beneficial to the players themselves. I have always been a strong supporter of paying college athletes. While I do not believe that they should receive any compensation outside of a scholarship from the school’s themselves, the players should be able to monetize their likeness, in the form of profiting from their respective jersey and merchandise sales, as well as actual usage of their likeness in things like the NCAA Football video game series. The reintroduction of the game could be the best possible way to ensure a higher quality of life for both college athletes and causal video game players. The series has provided me with countless hours of fun, and continues to do so, despite the last rendition of the game being 5+ years old. The revival of the game could help bridge the gap between the millions of dollars made by the NCAA and the lack of compensation for college athletes. Bringing back the game would be a win-win-win situation for the NCAA, collegiate athletes, and video game players alike. In my opinion, this is something that really, really needs to happen. I hope to one day be able to turn on my new-generation gaming console and again be able to enjoy the fun of the college football experience, sooner rather than later.

That’s all for this week. Be sure to check out some of the other great content from the writers at Mid-American Culture. Thanks for reading!

Predicting The First 10 Picks of The NFL Draft

We are just over a month away from the 2018 NFL Draft. Draft time is my favorite time of year on the NFL calendar. I genuinely think I take more joy in the offseason, and particularly the draft, than I do with the actual games. I love the analytical and behind the scenes aspects of the game so much. Every year, I try to predict how the first ten or so picks will play out. While my list very well may change, and I very well may upload another mock draft before the April 26th draft date, here is who I believe will be selected in the top 10 of the 2018 NFL Draft.

1. Cleveland Browns-Sam Darnold

USC v Washington

Sam Darnold is the best QB prospect in this draft, hands down. He towers at 6’4 and has the physical build to take the beatings that the Cleveland O-line is sure to put him through. He makes throws that others simply can’t. Colin Cowherd said it best when he referred to Darnold as “the best QB prospect since Andrew Luck”. While sometimes his decision making leaves you scratching your head, his good moments are absolutely brilliant and if done properly, Darnold could be developed into an elite level NFL quarterback within a few years.

2.New York Giants-Saquon Barkley

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All signs point to the Giants drafting Saquon Barkley. Before I go on the mini-rant I am about to go on, let me make myself very clear when I say that Saquon Barkley is extremely talented and very well may be one of the best running back prospects in the last decade. With that being said, taking a running back this early in the draft is completely idiotic, especially if you need a quarterback as badly as New York does. Running back is a dying position. You could get most of the value you get from a guy like Saquon Barkley from a 2nd or even 3rd round running back. If I were the Giants GM, I’m drafting whichever remaining quarterback I like best (personally, I like Josh Allen) and not thinking twice. However, the Giants organization, as well as the fans, seem stuck on Eli Manning. He’s likely going to be sticking around for a few more years and the Giants will be drafting the Penn State back to accompany him in the Giants backfield. I like the Giants to be strong contenders for the 1st pick in next year’s draft.

3. New York Jets-Baker Mayfield

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While this is another pick I don’t like even a little bit, I like the chances of Baker Mayfield being the second quarterback off the board. Baker Mayfield is the off-field trouble of Johnny Manziel paired with the skillset of……… Johnny Manzeil. The guy is basically Johnny Manziel. While I was a big fan of Manziel, it was clear that his problems deeply impacted his ability to play the game at a high level. The same will happen to Mayfield. With that being said, he’s an exciting player with a big personality that is fit for New York. It isn’t hard to understand why the Jets will take him at 3.

4. Cleveland Browns-Minkah Fitzpatrick

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I think Minkah Fitzpatrick is the most talented player in this year’s draft. He will be an instant contributor to the Cleveland defense. He does not have the blazing speed that I generally like to see in defensive backs, but the Alabama safety is the definition of a defensive anchor. I envision Fitzpatrick being the defensive captain of the Browns within two seasons. He’s that good of a player.

5. Denver Broncos-Quenton Nelson

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Quenton Nelson is one of the most talented linemen I have ever seen coming out of college. In preparation for writing this article, I looked up his dimensions and I was stunned. While he isn’t mind-blowingly tall, he is absolutely huge in terms of his arm length and his overall girth. He has the skillset to completely move opposing defensive linemen off the line. My only complaint is that his slightly shorter stature will prevent him from playing the tackle position and I like my linemen to be interchangeable. Other than that, I feel that Nelson is an absolutely incredible prospect.

6. Indianapolis Colts-Denzel Ward

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In my humble opinion, Denzel Ward is the most under the radar player in this year’s draft. Indianapolis lost its standout cornerback Vontae Davis this offseason. Ward is a perfect replacement. I would trust him to cover top corners in the league immediately. While the secondary certainly isn’t Indy’s biggest problem, it still certainly needs to be addressed. Denzel Ward is a great pick for the Colts at 6.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Bradley Chubb

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Simply put, Bradley Chubb is a man. Watching him play this past season was incredible. I have not seen a pass-rusher of this caliber since Jadeveon Clowney. While Chubb is no Clowney, he is still immensely talented and Tampa Bay is in desperate need for a viable pass-rusher. Chubb is an excellent fit for Tampa. Paired with newly signed defensive end Vinny Curry, Chubb could lead a defensive resurgence in Tampa Bay.

8.Chicago Bears-Calvin Ridley

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Alabama’s Calvin Ridley is the only highlight in this abysmal receiver class. Ridley is an extremely dynamic player who can immediately make an impact on the perimeter. While I worry deeply about the guy who will be throwing to him, the Bears believe that they have their quarterback in Mitchell Trubisky. It makes sense to draft him a viable weapon and Ridley is the best available weapon at the 8th spot.

9.San Francisco 49ers-Tremaine Edmunds

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The 49ers need to beef up their linebacking corps in the worst way possible. Reuben Foster has gotten himself into trouble already this offseason. There is no telling if he will be available for the 9ers to utilize next season. Even if he is, Edmunds is an excellent addition to the defense who can contribute from either side of the field.

10. Oakland Raiders-Derwin James

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The Oakland Raiders are a viable defense away from being serious Super Bowl contenders. The secondary is probably Oakland’s biggest hole. Derwin James is an elite prospect with All-Pro potential. Jones would have easily been the best safety in this draft if not for Minkah Fitzpatrick. While the Raiders need a corner much more than they need a safety, James is simply too good of a player to pass on at the 10 spot.

*I conducted this mock draft without any trades. I think it is strongly possible that at least one, but probably two teams trade into the top 10 at some point to draft a quarterback. I like Josh Allen to Buffalo and Josh Rosen to Miami or Arizona. I think that there almost certainly be at least 3 quarterbacks taken in the top 10.*

My Twitter: @BigRedAFerg

Mid-American Culture Twitter: @M_American_C

Video Game Characters That Almost Made You Put Your Controller Through the Wall

Hello all, and welcome back to the Mid-American page. This week I was playing a classic console with a classic game. The deadly combo of NCAA 2006 and the original Xbox is still an amazing one-two punch, and still presents a challenge. I made it to the National Championship with THE Ohio State Buckeyes. Yes, it was not hard making it to the national championship because Troy Smith, Anthony Gonzalez, Ted Ginn Jr., Nick Mangold, and Antonio Pittman. However, when I got to the championship, I was put up against the Texas Longhorns featuring, Vince Young.

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“Now Derek, it is stupid to rage over a game that is twelve years old.” Let me start by saying, no the hell it is not. Vince Young is a God on there and nearly beat me. This experience made me think of my many raging experiences in video games and the athletes who did it and made me feel like these kids (WARNING: STRONG LANGUAGE).

So without further ado, lets get into it.

Michael Jordan: NBA 2k11

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Possibly my favorite 2K ever. The folks at 2K brought in these challenges involving Michael Jordan and to unlock his highly sought after shoes. However, when you were not using Jordan, playing against him was a pain in the ass. Jordan is the GOAT, but he does everything. Wanna hold him under 50? Forget about it. Wanna drive the lane and not get your shit sent to the third row? Forget about it. Wanna bring the ball up the court? Forget about it. Needless to say, they made Jordan definitely look like the GOAT in 2K11.

Michael Vick: Madden 2004

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Man, back-to-back Mikes to start the list. You know the term, “You must have the sliders turned up?” Well, that is what it was like using cover athlete, Michael Vick in Madden 2004. Vick had a cannon for an arm and the speed of a cheetah on crack. Here is a video to show his dominance (do not mind the asshat in the video).

Kobe Bryant: 2K10

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Kobe Bryant. Another guy people could argue to be the GOAT, and for those who do not know sports, merely playing NBA 2K10 would make it believable. Now, I suck ass with Kobe in every 2K, and I do not know why. However, when people used him against me, I was cooked. Kobe hits unbelievable shot after shot, and really makes you want to throw your controller through the TV.

Jason Giambi: MLB The Show 2006 and MLB 2K6

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Since there are no pictures or footage of Giambi on the Show on the internet for some reason, you are just going to have to believe me on this one. Giambi is one of my favorite players of all-time. I remember whenever I received both the Show and 2K for my birthday. I instantly used my team (the Yankees) against my step dad’s team (the Red Sox). Giambi went five for six logging five home runs. This started my obsession with the game. Anytime Giambi gets a fastball, well you can forget about it.

LeBron James: Any 2K ever

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Due to video games getting more realistic, LeBron is not as dominant as he use to be on 2K, but he is still hard to stop. I have used and played against people using LeBron in almost every single game he has been in. It is truly nothing to score a fifty piece with LeBron on these games. You only love him when you are using him, but throwing your TV out the window seems pretty reasonable whenever he is against you.

Tim Tebow: NCAA Football 2010

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I was a huge NCAA Football video game lover, and spent many hours playing this game. Whenever I took my talents online and played, nothing made me more mad than some douche bag using the 2010 Florida Gators and Tim Tebow. You have to have no skill to use him. Just hold down the sprint button and occasionally hit the truck stick or B button and you are going to be competitive. This game started my unfair hatred for Tebow, but now, I think he is a pretty cool guy. Cut to the 2:30 mark for the run down on his skills.

Reggie Bush: NCAA 2006

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I remember playing this game with my friends back in the day, and there was only one rule, nobody could use Ohio State or USC. The Ohio State rule was because we all loved Ohio State, but USC was because of Reggie Bush just being unfair. Bush was another player that required no skill to use.

I could honestly go on and on about players that were unfair to use in sports game, but these few were the ones who stuck out to me, but that concludes the list. As always, thank you for spending a part of your Friday with me and stay tuned for fresh daily content from myself and the rest of the Mid-American crew. If you have not checked out this weeks playlist, do it!

Spotify and Apple Music