Madden 21 might be the closest we get to college football this year

Trevor Lawrence - Clemson Tigers (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
Trevor Lawrence - Clemson Tigers (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /

With no NCAA Football game and potentially no college football season, fans might have to turn to Madden 21.

If you’ve frequented this site, you know how badly I want a new NCAA Football game. Unfortunately, we’re probably years away from that ever happening but EA is taking baby steps in delivering college football to fans through its Madden franchise. While it’s not nearly to the extent of a full-fledged NCAA Football game, Madden 21 will at least give players the ability to play as some of college football’s biggest schools in its Face of the Franchise mode.

As previously announced, this year’s Face of the Franchise — which is Madden‘s version of MLB The Show‘s Road to the Show or NBA 2K‘s MyCareer — will build upon the career mode introduced in last year’s Madden 20. As part of your journey to the NFL, one of your stops will be college.

On National Signing Day in the game, you’ll have 10 schools to choose from:

  • Florida Gators
  • Oregon Ducks
  • Oklahoma Sooners
  • LSU Tigers
  • USC Trojans
  • Texas Longhorns
  • Clemson Tigers
  • Miami Hurricanes
  • Michigan State Spartans
  • Nebraska Cornhuskers

Michigan State and Nebraska are the two new schools, replacing Florida State and Texas Tech from last year.

Based on EA’s description of the storyline, it sounds like you’ll get to play at least two seasons in college, and possibly more depending on the decisions you make.

"Once you set foot on campus the stakes get even higher as you not only have to deftly navigate a Quarterback controversy right out of the gate, but also have to figure out how to appease your domineering, old school approach, newly minted Head Coach Red O’Brien – all while attempting to build your draft stock through two challenging seasons of college football AND win an College Football Playoff Championship (or two) along the way. As if that weren’t enough, you’re thrown out of your comfort zone and into disarray when Coach O’Brien delivers you an ultimatum – either switch positions to Running Back or Wide Receiver, or pack your bags and take your chances in the NFL Draft!"

Now I don’t know exactly how much of a “season” you’ll be playing in college. It sounds like the focus will probably be on the College Football Playoff. I’m going to assume you play in your conference championship game and then if you win, the CFP. In between all this, I’m sure there will be dramatic story beats.

The point is, Madden 21 will deliver a snippet of the college football experience. And with everything going on in the real world with coronavirus, this might be the only college football fans get to enjoy this year.

College football is in complete disarray due to the coronavirus and the fall season is very much in jeopardy. As of this writing, four of the 10 college football conferences have canceled or postponed the fall season with hopes of maybe playing it in the spring. Two of them, the Big Ten and Pac-12, are deemed “Power 5” conferences. The Mid-American Conference and Mountain West Conference have also ruled out playing a fall season, but these are Group of Five conferences that tend to get less attention. In total, 54 of the 130 Division 1 FBS schools have opted out of playing this season.

light. More. We need a NCAA Football game now more than ever

Now, it’s worth mentioning that there are still six conferences, three of which are Power 5, planning on playing this fall. The Big 12, Southeastern (SEC) and Atlantic Coast (ACC) comprise the remaining P5 while the American Athletic (AAC), Conference USA (C-USA) and Sun Belt could join them even as Group of Five conferences.

Despite being steadfast in their willingness to play this season, I’m not optimistic. Now I’m not a scientist so I’m not going to speculate on what the infection rate will look like in America this fall but I can’t imagine things will get better at this rate.

The general consensus among professional sports being played is that unless it’s an individual-based sport or one that can be played in a “bubble” environment, like the NBA, it’s incredibly difficult to contain or prevent this virus from spreading. Just look at Major League Baseball.

All it will take is one outbreak on a major college campus, possibly resulting in serious illness or something much worse of one of the players, and we’ll see college football shut down for the year.

Trending. 6 college players who would be perfect cover stars for an NCAA Football game. light

My point is, everything is very fluid right now and should college football be canceled or postponed this fall, Madden 21 will provide the only outlet for fans. It’s not the NCAA Football game we so desperately need right now but at least it’s something. And who knows, with recent NCAA rulings on player names likenesses, maybe we will one day see a legitimate college football game.