Since the advent of football video games, designers have gnashed their teeth trying to capture the complex beauty of the spread offense. For the history buffs, back in the early nineties the classic ‘Bill Walsh College Football’ was among the first. Until recently, video games such as the NCAA franchise have been more oriented to air-raid or smash-mouth styles of play, and the spread has been included mainly as a “gimmick.” Also, flaws in play design, inadequate artificial intelligence, and deficiencies in animation have detracted from the actual gameplay experience, and have left many spread enthusiasts wanting much more.
All of this will change with the release of NCAA ’14. From speed option to inside zone-read, there are now 31 types of option plays for users to choose from. Along with improvements in the playbooks and play design itself, receivers will also work to block on the edge, and offensive lineman will work up to the second level to block linebackers and safeties. Sound a bit like the Oregon offense? The game will also include the physics engine featured in Madden ’13, which was left out of NCAA ’13 much to the chagrin of many fans.
Designers have added improvements like the no-huddle offense and other spread-friendly changes in recent years, but ’14 will finally be the year that users can channel their inner-Chip Kelly and run the spread exactly like the Ducks on Saturdays (and Thursday, November 7th, when the Ducks fly south to Stanford). Coach Helfrich may be wise to monitor the NCAA online leaderboards periodically, just to make sure he doesn’t have any competition for his job once NCAA ’14 is released on July 9th.