Penn State's Top Ten Players in NCAA '14: Wait, What?

Planned Sick Days

Let me preface this rant by saying I'm not a gamer. I own four games for my PS3 (which I bought for the bluray player years ago), and three are Lego video games. The other was NCAA '10, which I only turned on long enough to default my team selection to Penn State.

With all the licensing issues EA has had, and pending lawsuits against the NCAA regarding likenesses of players and whatnot, I am tangentially familiar with the fact that they can't name players in the game, nor use players' likenesses. EA tends to cut it pretty close, though, with using player positions, numbers, height/weight and even hometowns to make it pretty obvious which players the game is referencing when they put out their lists.

I know that football fans of most schools' programs have issues with the game's numbers, either with their overall defensive or offensive scores (Baylor being below Nebraska's and UGA's? REALLY??), and I'm not going to even touch on PSU's overall score on the game.

What I am going to talk about is the players.

The graphic at the top of this post shows the top ten overall scored players that you play with on the Penn State roster for NCAA 14, and with all due respect to Glenn Carson, whom as a linebacker I inherently love, he's not the best player on our team. I'm not even sure it's that close.

As a PSU fan, I get Allan Robinson and Adrian Amos being neck and neck--both are electrifying players whenever they touch the ball. The difference? ROBINSON WON B1G RECEIVER OF THE YEAR. Amos wasn't even on the first or second all-conference team, though he did get an honorable mention. Carson wasn't even on that list.

Next on the NCAA 14's roster list is Zach Zwinak. Okay, I get that. He's pretty awesome, for someone from Frederick County. He's followed immediately by a trio of offensive linemen with the same score: John Urschel, Miles Dieffenbach, and Donovan Smith. Again, all respectable linemen who will undoubtedly be good this year.

After them, though, is where it gets murky. Tied with one point behind that trio is Bill Belton, DaQuan Jones, and Adam Gress. Jones, okay. Maybe. The other two could be good--I just don't know, because they were both plagued with super-high expectations tempered last year with inconsistent play. Now, I get that some of these rankings are based on expectation--and I guess there are expectations there for these guys. But the inclusion of these players at the exclusion of two others makes me wonder if the developers of this game actually watched a down of college football last year.

Point #1: Deion Barnes. I mean, seriously? Dude was Big Ten Freshman of the Year last year, and isn't in PSU's top ten? Jones will be good on the line, and was decent in the shadow of Jordan Hill on the inside last year, but GMAFB. This line is Barnes'. He'll be the focal point of offensive line coaches' prep work, and rightfully so. Dude's a beast. Most opposing quarterbacks will likely end the game in the fetal position if Barnes performs at half of the potential we saw last year. Leaving him out of this game is, quite frankly, baffling.

Point #2: Kyle Carter. I mean, seriously? Cont'd. Named a freshman All American by multiple media outlets, how do you leave Carter off this list? Did you even SEE his catch off the back of the Iowa defensive back in October? Clearly not, or he'd have scored at least an 85 on here. Couple that with O'Brien's offense (granted, that's not what you'd typically play with in this game, but you could, couldn't you?), and there's no way he's not a top play maker on this team. None.

For your consideration: Jesse James. He'll be a RS FR this season, so the jury's truly out on how awesome he's going to be. But I've been told multiple times that the grades in NCAA games are based primarily on potential, and who has more potential to make big plays than this guy? Tell me, who. Go on. I'll wait.

...That's what I thought.

All of these, quite logical IMO, points aside, the game will still sell, and sell massively. Penn Staters, players on the team as well as students and fans, will buy it, tailor it however much they can and, most likely, enjoy the game while they do this. But wouldn't it be nice to not have to tailor the game, and rather have the developers use actual factual data behind their scoring of players? I mean, it's not as if players of the game don't know who each guy on the game's field actually is supposed to be. EA might as well do a little bit of homework before releasing their grades.

But considering how they're not willing to put money towards the players (and their likenesses) that they're actually using in the game, the little $$ to shell out for a more legit researcher is probably too much to ask. But, going forward, a girl can hope, right?

What say you all?


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