Here we are. The year is 2020. And the coronavirus has affected each and every one of us. While sports seem trivial in times of great angst, we as sports journalists, though put in a tough spot, argue the importance of sport.
Sports and sport itself are great for everyone and that’s no more apparent than the beginning of the NFL ‘legal tampering period’ on Monday that’s been so widely covered thanks to the cancellation of all other sports that you can’t even post a story without the news being ‘old news’ before it goes live.
So here we are, in a tough spot to create and cultivate sports news for all things Cal in a time that there won’t be many ‘sports things at Cal’ at all. And with that, we ejected our current thought process and inserted a new one. We’re reliving the 2019 season while recreating a new version utilizing EA Sports’ NCAA Football 14 video game.
Today we will kick off the 2019 NCAA football season in retrospect, allowing for different storylines to appear from our current reality and building off those new realities into a new 2020 offseason full of stories. We begin at the same point that we did in real life last August, with every team at 0-0, every team with an equal chance to win their conference championship and each team the same opportunity to win the national title.
This idea, originally crafted over at Pacific Takes, will coincide with weekly, daily posts here on CGB. And so, with that in mind, here are the rules, as I laid them out on PT:
1. We’ll start off with updated rosters, up to the last week of the 2019 regular season.
— These rosters will have each player named, adjusted to height, weight, hometown (as best they can), class, etc. and will even adjust to players who sat out or earned a redshirt last year.
— These rosters have been adjusted to the year’s end statistics and level of play as judged by me and from my time from PFF, i.e. Joe Burrow is the only 99 overall quarterback, Penei Sewell is the pinnacle of offensive linemen, Ja’Marr Chase is ridiculously good, and so on, and so forth (if you have questions, or want to see more rosters, just DM me or comment below).
2. We’ll attempt to recreate schedules to as close as possible with the real 2019-20 schedules but will allow default non-conference matchups to take place as scheduling games in NCAA Football 14 is a nightmare.
— In some instances, it would be impossible to create a perfect schedule because we’re still playing with Idaho as one of the 130 FBS schools and as such, will have 12 mismatched games (at minimum).
3. We will be simulating non-conference games and non-Pac-12 games and allowing the results to speak for themselves while also documenting the week’s top players, best games, star moments, etc.
4. We will also be simulating recruiting for all but the Pac-12 as we’ll be attempting to recreate the recruiting classes that have signed on the dotted line for all Pac-12 schools in 2020.
5. The difficulty is set to All-American with some adjustments to the sliders to help make the game play a little bit more realistic (i.e. CPU interceptions lowered a bit so the MLB doesn’t make a random play on the ball 20+ yards downfield away from his coverage zone on a wide-open throw; can you tell that’s happened to me before?!). If you’re interested in these sliders, just ask to see them.
6. Expect to see full detailed game previews, game recaps, Heisman updates, Top 25 reactions, and just about every other weekly, daily piece from this season as you would during a regular season, in real life.
7. This is being played on a Playstation 3, on EA Sports’ NCAA Football 14 and if the popularity deems it appropriate, we will start an online dynasty with up to 11 other people, so get your copies of the game ready to go!
So join along as we relive and recreate the 2019 Cal football season during this sports hiatus. Also, be sure to check out Pacific Takes during this time as we’ll discuss all things Pac-12 in this recreation. In doing so, we’ll prepare for and discuss all things college football in 2020.
This will be just for fun, comments and the like are encouraged as we all cope with our new reality that virtual reality is the best way to watch sports this spring.
Cal faithful, you tell me what lineups to use and who to start and sit. What pitfalls would you avoid that Justin Wilcox was unable to? Let’s make the perfect team, together, and run away with that 2019 national title.