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EA College Football. Now there’s a name I never thought I’d be typing out again. EA Sports shocked the world this week when they announced their popular College Football analog to Madden would be making its triumphant return in 2021.

College Football has been on indefinite hiatus since NCAA Football 14, and fans have not been shy about their desire to see it come back. So here’s what we know, and what we still need answers on before the game returns.

Yes, real schools will be featured

One of the enduring struggles of College Football has always been the issues with licensing. Unlike Madden, who can just strike a deal with the NFL, a lot of different bodies control the rights to the various schools in the NCAA. In the past, there have been many notable schools left out of the College Football franchise.

And while I’m sure there’ll be some people upset that the Dixie State Trailblazers won’t be involved, we now know that Electronic Arts has struck a deal to have most of the major schools in College Football present. However, that still leaves the question of student-athletes.

No, student athletes will not be present in the game

Sorry everyone, but your favorite college players won’t be present in the new installment. Instead, I would expect to see a lot of randomly generated names. I really hope they don’t just go with the old method of using a number for the player.

While this is disappointing, it certainly isn’t surprising. To put actual players in the game would require EA to pay for the likenesses of those players. First, the NCAA is unlikely to allow that, and second, EA Sports is unlikely to pay it.

To be clear, I think college athletes should absolutely be present in the game and I think they definitely should be paid for the appearance. If you’re willing to run a crossing route knowing your head is about to be taken off by a free safety, you deserve to be paid for your time.

What will the game play look like?

My overall guess is that if you know what Madden plays like, you have an idea of what this game is going to play like. I don’t see a lot of incentive for EA Sports College Football to reinvent the wheel. That said, there are some things they should definitely consider.

This is an amazing chance for EA to finally make a good create a football player mode. Imagine you create a football player. He (or she?) plays for your favorite school. Then after 4 years, you can import the entire draft class into Madden. That would be awesome!

Madden continues to drive us closer and closer to real-life football, and I would expect this game to just be a collegiate skin of that. Any way you slice it, with over 100 teams available to play as EA looks to set to make a fortune on this… again.

Overall thoughts

These are always difficult pieces to write about. College football has had no shortage of scandals, and EA…well… let’s just say the two were made for each other. Will people buy it? Absolutely. Should they? That’s debatable.

I think there’s definitely promise here, but like anything with sports, you’ve got to be able to square some circles.

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