NCAA Football 08 Walkthrough

We're hitting the gridiron once again in another installment of NCAA Football. GameSpot's Walkthrough will help shepherd you through the pitfalls and perils of the collegiate pigskins.

By: Doug Radcliffe

NCAA Football 08 Game Guide

Down by a touchdown, it's fourth down and eighteen yards to go and there are just sixteen ticks on the clock. What do you do? In last season's Fiesta Bowl, the Boise State Broncos upset the Oklahoma Sooners in one of the most thrilling college football games of all-time. In that fourth down play, Boise State used a trick play, the Hook and Ladder, to not only gain the critical first down, but to tie the game. Once in overtime, the Broncos ran a Statue of Liberty trick play to score a two-point conversion for the memorable win.

You could say that EA Sports' NCAA Football 08 was inspired by that great game. Former Boise State quarterback Jared Zabransky is this season's cover player and both of Boise State's exciting trick plays are included in the game (check out Boise State's playbook!). NCAA Football 08 also features a new motivation system, auto-motion plays, and smoother gameplay.

This GameSpot NCAA Football 08 game guide includes:

  • Team Stats: Statistics for all I-A college football teams in NCAA Football 08.
  • Top 25 Profiles: Did your favorite team make the top 25? Check this section for profiles of all top 25 teams, including team and impact player statistics.
  • Offense: This section covers offensive formations, packages, motivation, trick plays, and getting the most out of your pass, run, and option attacks.
  • Defense: Look here for defensive tips, including formation and personnel advantages and disadvantages, packages, motivation, adjustments, and hot routes.
  • Campus Legend: Here you'll find tips for a successful college career in Campus Legend mode.
  • Mini-Games and Xbox 360 Achievements: This section features strategies for the mini-games and a complete list of Xbox 360 achievements and some tricks to unlocking them.

Chapter 1 - Team Stats

The following chart reveals the overall, offense, and defense letter grades for all I-A college football teams. These ratings were gathered from the Play Now menu.

TEAMCONFERENCEOVERALLOFFENSEDEFENSE
Air Force FalconsMWCCC+C
Akron ZipsMACB-B-C+
Alabama Crimson TideSECB+A-B
Arizona WildcatsPac-10BBB
Arizona State Sun DevilsPac-10B+B+B
Arkansas RazorbacksSECBB+B
Arkansas State IndiansSun BeltC+B-C+
Army Black KnightsIndependentsCC+C
Auburn TigersSECBB+B
BYU CougarsMWCCC+C-
Ball State CardinalsMACB-B-C
Baylor BearsBig 12CC+C
Boise State BroncosWACBB+B-
Boston College EaglesACCBB+B
Bowling Green FalconsMACB-BC+
Buffalo BullsMACCCC
Cal Golden BearsPac-10A-AB
Central Michigan ChippewasMACB-BC+
Cincinnati BearcatsBig EastB-BC+
Clemson TigersACCB+B+B+
Colorado BuffalosBig 12B+BB
Colorado State RamsMWCB-BC+
Connecticut HuskiesBig EastC+B-C
Duke Blue DevilsACCB-BC+
ECU PiratesC-USACC+C
Eastern Michigan EaglesMACC+C+C+
FIU Golden PanthersSun BeltCC+C-
Florida GatorsSECB+AB
Florida Atlantic OwlsSun BeltCC+C+
Florida State SeminolesACCAA-A
Fresno State BulldogsWACB-B-C+
Georgia BulldogsSECB+B+B
Georgia Tech Yellow JacketsACCB+B+B+
Hawaii WarriorsWACBA-C+
Houston CougarsC-USABBB
Idaho VandalsWACCCC
Illinois Fighting IlliniBig TenBBB
Indiana HoosiersBig TenBBC+
Iowa HawkeyesBig TenB+B+B+
Iowa State CyclonesBig 12BBB-
Kansas JayhawksBig 12B-B-C+
Kansas State WildcatsBig 12BBB-
Kent State Golden FlashesMACC+B-C+
Kentucky WildcatsSECBA-B-
LSU TigersSECA-AA
Louisiana Tech BulldogsWACC+C+C+
Louisville CardinalsBig EastAAB
Marshall Thundering HerdC-USAC+BC
Maryland TerrapinsACCB+B+B+
Memphis TigersC-USAB-BC+
Miami HurricanesACCB+A-A-
Miami University RedhawksMACB-BC
Michigan WolverinesBig TenA+A+A+
Michigan State SpartansBig TenBB+B
Mid Tenn State Blue RaidersSun BeltC+BC+
Minnesota Golden GophersBig TenB-BB-
Mississippi State BulldogsSECB-B-B-
Missouri TigersBig 12B+A-B-
NC State WolfpackACCBB+B
Navy MidshipmenIndependentsC+B-C-
Nebraska CornhuskersBig 12A-A-A-
Nevada Wolf PackWACC+C+C+
New Mexico LobosMWCB-BC
New Mexico State AggiesWACC+BC
North Carolina Tar HeelsACCBB-B-
North Texas Mean GreenSun BeltC+C+C
Northern Illinois HuskiesMACB-BC+
Northwestern WildcatsBig TenBB+B
Notre Dame Fighting IrishIndependentsB+B+B+
Ohio BobcatsMACBBB-
Ohio State BuckeyesBig TenA-A-A-
Oklahoma SoonersBig 12AA-A-
Oklahoma State CowboysBig 12AA-B
Ole Miss RebelsSECBB+B-
Oregon DucksPac-10B+A-B
Oregon State BeaversPac-10B+B+B
Penn State Nittany LionsBig TenB+B+B+
Pittsburgh PanthersBig EastBBC+
Purdue BoilermakersBig TenBAB-
Rice OwlsC-USAC+BC+
Rutgers Scarlet KnightsBig EastB+B+B-
SMU MustangsC-USAC+C+C
San Diego State AztecsMWCBB+C+
San Jose State SpartansWACC+C+C
South Carolina GamecocksSECA-B+B
Southern Miss Golden EaglesC-USAB-BC+
Stanford CardinalPac-10BBC+
Syracuse OrangeBig EastBBB-
TCU Horned FrogsMWCBBB
Temple OwlsIndependentsCC+C
Tennessee VolunteersSECA-A-B+
Texas LonghornsBig 12AA+B+
Texas A&M AggiesBig 12A-A-B
Texas Tech Red RaidersBig 12B+B+B
Toledo RocketsMACB-BB-
Troy TrojansSun BeltB-BB-
Tulane Green WaveC-USACC+C
Tulsa Golden HurricaneC-USAB-C+C+
UAB BlazersC-USACC+C
UCF Golden KnightsC-USAB-B-B-
UCLA BruinsPac-10A-A-A-
UL Lafayette Ragin' CajunsSun BeltC+C+C
UL Monroe WarhawksSun BeltCB-D+
UNLV RebelsMWCBBB-
USC TrojansPac-10A+A+A+
USF BullsBig EastBBB-
UTEP MinersC-USAB-BC+
Utah UtesMWCBBB-
Utah State AggiesWACCC+C-
Vanderbilt CommodoresSECB-BC+
Virginia CavaliersACCBBB
Virginia Tech HokiesACCA-B+A-
Wake Forest Demon DeaconsACCB+B+B
Washington HuskiesPac-10BBB-
Washington State CougarsPac-10B-BB-
West Virginia MountaineersBig EastAA+B+
Western Michigan BroncosMACBBB-
Wisconsin BadgersBig TenB+A-B
Wyoming CowboysMWCCC+C-

Enter Dynasty Mode and you'll find slightly different stats for each team's overall, offense, and defense rating (a number instead of the letter grade). Dynasty Mode also rates each team's special teams (punt, field goal, kickoff units) as well as each team's prestige level, which is important for recruiting top tier players. One of the Xbox 360 achievements is turning a 1-star prestige school into a 6-star prestige school—check this table to find a suitable challenge (Western Michigan and Troy aren't rated too shabby for 1-star prestige schools).

TEAMCONFERENCEOVERALLOFFENSEDEFENSESPECIAL TEAMSPRESTIGE
Air Force FalconsMWC707267562 stars
Akron ZipsMAC767875602 stars
Alabama Crimson TideSEC909285835 stars
Arizona WildcatsPac-10858385723 stars
Arizona State Sun DevilsPac-10879083723 stars
Arkansas RazorbacksSEC839083544 stars
Arkansas State IndiansSun Belt747673601 star
Army Black KnightsIndependents707267621 star
Auburn TigersSEC858785625 stars
BYU CougarsMWC677465494 stars
Ball State CardinalsMAC767867771 star
Baylor BearsBig 12707267602 stars
Boise State BroncosWAC859079644 stars
Boston College EaglesACC858785564 stars
Bowling Green FalconsMAC768171702 stars
Buffalo BullsMAC706769621 star
Cal Golden BearsPac-10929681855 stars
Central Michigan ChippewasMAC788371642 stars
Cincinnati BearcatsBig East788173763 stars
Clemson TigersACC908789774 stars
Colorado BuffalosBig 12878585854 stars
Colorado State RamsMWC788373663 stars
Connecticut HuskiesBig East727667582 stars
Duke Blue DevilsACC768373542 stars
ECU PiratesC-USA707469512 stars
Eastern Michigan EaglesMAC747475621 star
FIU Golden PanthersSun Belt707265701 star
Florida GatorsSEC909485766 stars
Florida Atlantic OwlsSun Belt707271511 star
Florida State SeminolesACC949295835 stars
Fresno State BulldogsWAC767873643 stars
Georgia BulldogsSEC908783935 stars
Georgia Tech Yellow JacketsACC909089774 stars
Hawaii WarriorsWAC859275793 stars
Houston CougarsC-USA818381602 stars
Idaho VandalsWAC707067641 star
Illinois Fighting IlliniBig Ten838581703 stars
Indiana HoosiersBig Ten818375743 stars
Iowa HawkeyesBig Ten879087704 stars
Iowa State CyclonesBig 12838379763 stars
Kansas JayhawksBig 12767873702 stars
Kansas State WildcatsBig 12818579623 stars
Kent State Golden FlashesMAC727671601 star
Kentucky WildcatsSEC859277683 stars
LSU TigersSEC929495646 stars
Louisiana Tech BulldogsWAC727471542 stars
Louisville CardinalsBig East949685895 stars
Marshall Thundering HerdC-USA748367583 stars
Maryland TerrapinsACC908789774 stars
Memphis TigersC-USA768371663 stars
Miami HurricanesACC909293645 stars
Miami University RedhawksMAC768169742 stars
Michigan WolverinesBig Ten999997746 stars
Michigan State SpartansBig Ten838781703 stars
Mid Tenn State Blue RaidersSun Belt748175451 star
Minnesota Golden GophersBig Ten788379584 stars
Mississippi State BulldogsSEC787877623 stars
Missouri TigersBig 12879277933 stars
NC State WolfpackACC838781564 stars
Navy MidshipmenIndependents727863682 stars
Nebraska CornhuskersBig 12929291815 stars
Nevada Wolf PackWAC747473642 stars
New Mexico LobosMWC768369662 stars
New Mexico State AggiesWAC748567531 star
North Carolina Tar HeelsACC817877853 stars
North Texas Mean GreenSun Belt72 7469562 stars
Northern Illinois HuskiesMAC788173722 stars
Northwestern WildcatsBig Ten838783623 stars
Notre Dame Fighting IrishIndependents908789856 stars
Ohio BobcatsMAC818377702 stars
Ohio State BuckeyesBig Ten929291776 stars
Oklahoma SoonersBig 12949291936 stars
Oklahoma State CowboysBig 12949285993 stars
Ole Miss RebelsSEC858777813 stars
Oregon DucksPac-10879283664 stars
Oregon State BeaversPac-10909081914 stars
Penn State Nittany LionsBig Ten879089625 stars
Pittsburgh PanthersBig East838575794 stars
Purdue BoilermakersBig Ten859477643 stars
Rice OwlsC-USA748171622 stars
Rutgers Scarlet KnightsBig East879079874 stars
SMU MustangsC-USA747469761 star
San Diego State AztecsMWC819075642 stars
San Jose State SpartansWAC727267761 star
South Carolina GamecocksSEC929083934 stars
Southern Miss Golden EaglesC-USA788573683 stars
Stanford CardinalPac-10818573723 stars
Syracuse OrangeBig East838177813 stars
TCU Horned FrogsMWC838183773 stars
Temple OwlsIndependents707467561 star
Tennessee VolunteersSEC929289856 stars
Texas LonghornsBig 12949989776 stars
Texas A&M AggiesBig 12929285855 stars
Texas Tech Red RaidersBig 12879081773 stars
Toledo RocketsMAC788577563 stars
Troy TrojansSun Belt788177621 star
Tulane Green WaveC-USA707469532 stars
Tulsa Golden HurricaneC-USA767473812 stars
UAB BlazersC-USA707267602 stars
UCF Golden KnightsC-USA787877682 stars
UCLA BruinsPac-10929291854 stars
UL Lafayette Ragin' CajunsSun Belt727467701 star
UL Monroe WarhawksSun Belt707659741 star
UNLV RebelsMWC818377682 stars
USC TrojansPac-10999999796 stars
USF BullsBig East818577683 stars
UTEP MinersC-USA768373602 stars
Utah UtesMWC818577684 stars
Utah State AggiesWAC677265511 star
Vanderbilt CommodoresSEC788575562 stars
Virginia CavaliersACC818581543 stars
Virginia Tech HokiesACC929091855 stars
Wake Forest Demon DeaconsACC909083934 stars
Washington HuskiesPac-10838579723 stars
Washington State CougarsPac-10788177583 stars
West Virginia MountaineersBig East949987815 stars
Western Michigan BroncosMAC818179761 star
Wisconsin BadgersBig Ten909283874 stars
Wyoming CowboysMWC707463702 stars

Chapter 2: Top 25 Profiles

This section provides team profiles of the top 25 college football teams, as rated by NCAA 08. Each profile includes statistics for impact players, 2006 on the field statistics, and analysis. Also, note that all teams possess Goal Line and Hail Mary offensive formations in their offensive playbooks.

Players are rated in several different categories—there are even more ratings in NCAA Football 08 than previous seasons (such as Hit Power, Press, and Release). The list below reveals the statistics and their descriptions.

  • Overall (OVR) - The overall rating for the player. The higher the better!
  • Speed (SPD) - How fast the player can run.
  • Strength (STR) - The player's strength, which affects his ability to break tackles.
  • Agility (AGI) - The player's agility, enhancing his ability to switch directions.
  • Acceleration (ACC) - How fast a player reaches full speed. Great for sprinting through open holes in your line.
  • Awareness (AWR) - A player's ability to react and adjust. High awareness generally comes with more experience.
  • Break Tackle (BTK) - The player's ability to break tackles.
  • Trucking (TRK) - Player's ability with the truck stick.
  • Elusiveness (ELU) - Likely the ability to escape tackles (or perhaps sacks). This is a key statistic for running backs, receivers, and quarterbacks.
  • BC Vision (BCV) - Ball carrying vision: ability to spot the open field. This is a key statistic for running backs.
  • Stiff Arm (SFA) - Player's ability with the stiff arm maneuver.
  • Spin Move (SPM) - Player's ability with the spin maneuver.
  • Juke Move (JKM) - Player's ability with the juke move.
  • Carrying (CAR) - How well the player holds onto the football. A higher rating means the less chance of a fumble.
  • Catching (CTH) - How well the player can catch. A higher rating means fewer drops.
  • Spectacular Catch (SPC) - A player's ability to make a spectacular catch.
  • Catch in Traffic (CIT) - How well the player can catch the ball and maintain possession in tight coverage.
  • Route Running Rating (RTE) - How well the player runs the play's passing route.
  • Jumping (JMP) - The player's ability to jump, such as for grabbing high passes.
  • Throw Power (THP) - How far a player can throw the ball.
  • Throw Accuracy (THA) - How accurate a player throws.
  • Tackle (TAK) - A player's ability to tackle.
  • Hit Power (POW) - The strength of the player's hit, which can determine the success of a tackle or the possibility of a fumble.
  • Power Moves (PMV) - Look for high power moves in defensive linemen. Power Moves is the ability to power through the block.
  • Finesse Moves (FMV) - Similar to power moves but it's the ability to spin or swim around blocks.
  • Block Shedding (BSH) - How well the player can shed a block.
  • Pursuit (PUR) - Skill in finding and pursuing the ball carrier—likely laterally. For instance: a linebacker moving down the line to cut off the ball carrier.
  • Play Recognition (PRC) - The ability to recognize plays. This is a defensive player skill that would seem to be tied into play action passing as well as recognizing the same play calls.
  • Man Coverage (MCV) - Skill of the defender in man coverage.
  • Zone Coverage (ZCV) - Skill of the defender in zone coverage.
  • Press Rating (PRS) - Ability of defender in press coverage.
  • Release Rating (RLS) - Ability of receiver to release from press coverage.
  • Pass Block (PBK) - How well a player pass blocks.
  • Run Block (RBK) - How well a player run blocks.
  • Impact Blocking (IBL) - Would seem to be the blockers ability to make a leveling "impact" style block.
  • Run Block Strength (RBS) - How well the player run blocks.
  • Run Block Footwork (RBF) - How well the player maintains footing during a run block.
  • Pass Block Strength (PBS) - How well the player pass blocks.
  • Pass Block Footwork (PBF) - How well the player maintains footing during a pass block.
  • Kick Power (KPW) - A kicker's power. Higher power means longer kicks.
  • Kick Accuracy (KAC) - A kicker's accuracy.
  • Return (RET) - Skill of the player as a punt or kick returner.
  • Stamina (STA) - The player's stamina level. The higher the rating, the more the player can be in the game before he becomes fatigued.
  • Injury (INJ) - The likelihood of an injury. The higher the rating, the less likely a player will get injured.
  • Importance (IMP) - The player's importance to his team.

#1 - USC Trojans

  • '06 Record: 11-2 (Beat Michigan in Rose Bowl)
  • Conference: Pac-10 (7-2, 1st)
  • '06 Offensive Passing Stats: 14th (263.9 yards per game)
  • '06 Offensive Rushing Stats: 68th (128.0 yards per game)
  • '06 Defensive Passing Stats: 64th (204.8 yards allowed per game)
  • '06 Defensive Rushing Stats: 9th (91.1 yards allowed per game)
  • Offensive Playbook: Ace Big, Ace Big Twin WR, Ace Twin TE WR, Ace Normal Slot, Ace Slot Strong, Ace Trips Bunch, Ace Spread, Empty 5WR, I-Form Normal, I-Form Twin WR, I-Form Big, Split Backs Normal, Strong I Normal, Strong I Twin WR, Weak I Normal, Weak I Close
  • Defensive Playbook: 4-3

Impact Players

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
QB #109470568965709286
TENDENCYTHPTHACARBTKBCVTRKSFAELUSPMJKM
Pocket Passer92926256624640605060

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
ROLB #559787748786889191
TENDENCYTAKPOWCATPURPRCPMVFMVBSHMCVZCV
Run Stopper91906293898080947177

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
LE #969680828278888792
TENDENCYTAKPOWPURPRCPMVFMVBSHMCVZCV
Pass Rusher829173759197763950

Impact defender ROLB #55 leads the USC defense, arguably the strongest in NCAA Football 08.

The 2006 USC Trojans looked to be headed to another BCS Championship game until the squad suffered a devastating 13-9 upset loss to bitter rival UCLA. The then two loss Trojans were on the outside looking in as Florida was given the chance to compete for the title. But last year's painful defeats could be turned into this year's success: the USC Trojans are stacked with 15 returning starters led by one of the top QBs in NCAA 08.

The team ratings speak volumes: a collection of A+ and 99 grades propel USC (and adjacent Michigan) to a clear step above the other top 25. Defensively, the Trojans are fiercely stout; impact players ROLB #55 and LE #96 are two of the best in the game. If there's a team weakness, albeit a small one, it will be the Trojans replacing a WR tandem that left for the NFL. It's a small one. This team is tops in the game.

#2 - Michigan Wolverines

  • '06 Record: 11-2 (Lost to USC in Rose Bowl)
  • Conference: Big Ten (7-1, t-2nd)
  • '06 Offensive Passing Stats: 64th (195.2 yards per game)
  • '06 Offensive Rushing Stats: 21st (175.5 yards per game)
  • '06 Defensive Passing Stats: 89th (224.9 yards allowed per game)
  • '06 Defensive Rushing Stats: 4th (43.4 yards allowed per game)
  • Offensive Playbook: Ace Big, Ace Big Twin WR, Ace Twin TE WR, Ace Normal Slot, Ace Normal, Ace Slot Strong, Ace Trips Bunch, Ace Double Flex, Ace Flip Trips, I-Form Normal, I-Form Twin WR, I-Form Big, Strong I Normal, Strong I Twin WR, Strong I Twin TE, Weak I Twin WR
  • Defensive Playbook: 4-3

Impact Players

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
HB #209590769189909390
TENDENCYCATCARBTKBCVTRKSFAELUSPMJKM
Power769690948889927593

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
WR #869495628997979593
TENDENCYJMPCATSPCCITRTERLSCARBTKBCVTRKSFAELUSPMJKM
Balanced9090988490885962904241968094

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
LOLB #29587828684879292
TENDENCYTAKPOWPURPRCPMVFMVBSHMCVZCV
Run Stopper849390807585847371

The Michigan Wolverines, despite a similar one loss record, were left out of the BCS Championship game in favor of the Florida Gators. Although it was possible to make a case for either team, after the bowl games were concluded both Florida and Michigan left little doubt which team deserved the shot at the title. The Wolverines enter this season with something to prove: that they can defeat the rival Ohio State Buckeyes (the Wolverines have lost five of the last six meetings). And adding a national championship wouldn't hurt.

Michigan returns key starters on offense, including a fourth-year starter at quarterback (and one of the top ten QBs in NCAA 08) as well as a powerful running back and a fast wide receiver—both Wolverine impact players on offense. Scatter play-calling with a mix of interior runs and deep passes to keep the opposing defense off-balance and susceptible to the Wolverine's big play potential.

#3 - LSU Tigers

  • '06 Record: 11-2 (Beat Notre Dame in Sugar Bowl)
  • Conference: SEC (6-2, t-2nd in West)
  • '06 Offensive Passing Stats: 18th (251.7 yards per game)
  • '06 Offensive Rushing Stats: 31st (165.8 yards per game)
  • '06 Defensive Passing Stats: 3rd (145.7 yards allowed per game)
  • '06 Defensive Rushing Stats: 14th (97.1 yards allowed per game)
  • Offensive Playbook: Ace Big, Ace Normal Slot, Ace Slot Strong, Ace Trips Bunch, I-Form Normal, I-Form Twin WR, I-Form Big, Strong I Normal, Weak I Normal, Weak I Twin WR, Shotgun 2RB 3WR, Shotgun Normal Flex, Shotgun Slot Strong, Shotgun Double Flex, Shotgun Trips Strong
  • Defensive Playbook: 4-3

Impact Players

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
WR #99294628892949292
TENDENCYJMPCATSPCCITRTERLSCARBTKBCVTRKSFAELUSPMJKM
Balanced9291949293915652894265978093

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
LOLB #79387748684889087
TENDENCYTAKPOWPURPRCPMVFMVBSHMCVZCV
Run Stopper869698807177807064

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
DT #729865949065788490
TENDENCYTAKPOWPURPRCPMVFMVBSH
Balanced88918280977590

The LSU Tigers enter the season with a few question marks, primarily on offense. The Tigers must replace an impact quarterback that went on to become the first overall pick in the NFL draft; additionally, the squad lacks a standout (though a stable of quality players) running back. Impact player WR #9 will help shoulder the new quarterback's load; he's fast with excellent elusiveness and will be your primary offensive threat. Defensively the Tigers are powerful—eight returning starters and two of the best rated at their positions, impact players LOLB #7 and DT #72. The Tigers' season will hinge on the showdown against current SEC and national champ Florida—fortunately for the Tigers, the battle takes place in Death Valley.

#4 - Florida Gators

  • '06 Record: 13-1 (Defeated Ohio State to win the BCS National Championship)
  • Conference: SEC (7-1, 1st in East)
  • '06 Offensive Passing Stats: 28th (236.1 yards per game)
  • '06 Offensive Rushing Stats: 38th (160.0 yards per game)
  • '06 Defensive Passing Stats: 33rd (182.9 yards allowed per game)
  • '06 Defensive Rushing Stats: 5th (72.5 yards allowed per game)
  • Offensive Playbook: Ace Big, Ace Bunch TE, Ace Tight, I-Form Twin WR, Shotgun Gator Heavy, Shotgun Split Twins, Shotgun 2RB 3WR, Shotgun Slot F Trips, Shotgun Normal Slot, Shotgun Slot Strg HB Wk, Shotgun Slot Strong, Shotgun Wing Trips, Shotgun Trio, Shotgun Trips Bunch, Shotgun Tight, Shotgun 4WR Spread, Shotgun Flip Trips, Shotgun Trips Strong, Shotgun 5WR Trio
  • Defensive Playbook: 4-3

Impact Players

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
QB #158682786576859494
TENDENCYTHPTHACARBTKBCVTRKSFAELUSPMJKM
Balanced91848890609085654560

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
WR #19099567898999691
TENDENCYJMPCATSPCCITRTERLSCARBTKBCVTRKSFAELUSPMJKM
Balanced9083908082857868965035759075

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
LE #919686788085888686
TENDENCYTAKPOWPURPRCPMVFMVBSH
Pass Rusher80948881759580

Built like a fullback, Gator impact quarterback #15 has 90 break tackle and trucking rating.

Although the game began with an Ohio State kickoff return of a touchdown, the remaining 59 minutes in the BCS National Championship game was all Florida. The SEC champion struggled several times during the 2006 season (losing to Auburn and emerging victorious in a close-call against in-state rival Florida State) but left little doubt in a dominating performance against the previously undefeated Buckeyes.

The defending champions begin the season with a new starting quarterback, though QB #15 had plenty of playing time last year (jump pass anyone?) and served an integral role in the Gators' success. He's a quarterback built like a fullback—82 speed, 90 break tackle, 90 trucking, and 85 stiff arm.

Don't hesitate to run frequent options and quarterback runs to held spread the defense. When the safeties cheat up, hit impact player WR #1 deep and take advantage of the fastest speed and acceleration possible. Work in new auto-motion Jet Sweep plays and use both WR #1's speed and QB #15's power on these option plays. The Gators have another tough SEC schedule but have the players and playbook (plenty of variety, tons of Shotgun formations, and trick plays) to challenge again for the title.

#5 - Texas Longhorns

  • '06 Record: 10-3 (Beat Iowa in Alamo Bowl)
  • Conference: Big 12 (6-2, 2nd in South)
  • '06 Offensive Passing Stats: 33rd (228.9 yards per game)
  • '06 Offensive Rushing Stats: 34th (162.6 yards per game)
  • '06 Defensive Passing Stats: 99th (236.2 yards allowed per game)
  • '06 Defensive Rushing Stats: 3rd (61.2 yards allowed per game)
  • Offensive Playbook: Ace Big, Ace Big Twin WR, Ace Normal Slot, Ace Slot Strong, I-Form Normal, I-Form Big, Strong I Normal, Weak I Normal, Shotgun Split, Shotgun Ace, Shotgun Ace Twins, Shotgun Normal Slot, Shotgun Normal Offset Wk, Shotgun Slot Strong, Shotgun Slot Strg HB Wk, Shotgun 5WR Flex Trey
  • Defensive Playbook: 4-3

Impact Players

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
HB #259196657694969091
TENDENCYCATCARBTKBCVTRKSFAELUSPMJKM
Speed688684868578928589

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
WR #49390709387959593
TENDENCYJMPCATSPCCITRTERLSCARBTKBCVTRKSFAELUSPMJKM
Possession9691959492896868815462947590

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
DT #979765948865788090
TENDENCYTAKPOWPURPRCPMVFMVBSH
Balanced86928680916580

To meet expectations, the Texas Longhorns must avoid Big 12 stumbles like the 45-42 loss last season to Kansas State. Although the schedule begins soft, the Longhorns face a challenging Big 12—opponents that aren't simply divisional rivals but also top 25 competition. Offensively the Longhorns are strong with a top ten rated quarterback, a speedy running back (96 in speed and acceleration), and an impact wide receiver.

The Longhorn defense will have to improve on a 99th ranked pass defense to better complement a smothering run defense that was ranked 3rd overall (the secondary will get its chance with several new starters). Impact player DT #97 leads the run stoppers; he's one of the highest rated defenders in the game.

#6 - West Virginia Mountaineers

  • '06 Record: 11-2 (Beat Georgia Tech in Gator Bowl)
  • Conference: Big East (5-2, t-2nd)
  • '06 Offensive Passing Stats: 100th (158.4 yards per game)
  • '06 Offensive Rushing Stats: 2nd (303.0 yards per game)
  • '06 Defensive Passing Stats: 109th (243.3 yards allowed per game)
  • '06 Defensive Rushing Stats: 13th (93.3 yards allowed per game)
  • Offensive Playbook: Ace Big, Ace Slot Strong, Ace Spread, I-Form Twin WR, I-Form 3WR, I-Form Big, Shotgun Split, Shotgun Split Twins, Shotgun 2RB 3WR, Shotgun Normal Slot, Shotgun Slot Strong, Shotgun Slot Strg HB Wk, Shotgun 4WR Spread, Shotgun Double Flex, Shotgun Trips Strong, Shotgun 5 Wide
  • Defensive Playbook: 3-3-5

Impact Players

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
QB #59591598491949580
TENDENCYTHPTHACARBTKBCVTRKSFAELUSPMJKM
Scrambler91887859875272959092

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
HB #109796709097989494
TENDENCYCATCARBTKBCVTRKSFAELUSPMJKM
Speed728788958988999497

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
SS #419288728386909091
TENDENCYJMPTAKPOWCATPURPRCBSHPRSMCVZCV
Balanced88808266878274818184

The West Virginia Mountaineers' offense can be best summed up in one term: speed. The Mountaineers have plenty of team speed: impact players QB #5 and HB #10 are two of the fastest and highest rated at their respective positions (and both are potential Heisman Trophy candidates). Because of its team speed, West Virginia is arguably the best option team in the game (and a usual selection for those that prefer scrambling quarterbacks).

A weakness lies with the defensive unit, specifically a secondary that was ranked 109th last season. Impact player SS #41 leads a defensive squad that must tighten if the Mountaineers are to challenge the top ranked teams for a national title—or even their own conference, which also contains top 25 ranked Louisville and Rutgers.

#7 - Wisconsin Badgers

  • '06 Record: 12-1 (Beat Arkansas in Capital One Bowl)
  • Conference: Big Ten (7-1, t-2nd)
  • '06 Offensive Passing Stats: 50th (211.5 yards per game)
  • '06 Offensive Rushing Stats: 37th (161.7 yards per game)
  • '06 Defensive Passing Stats: 2nd (138.3 yards allowed per game)
  • '06 Defensive Rushing Stats: 34th (114.8 yards allowed per game)
  • Offensive Playbook: Ace Big, Ace Big Twin WR, Ace Twin TE, Ace Twin TE WR, Ace Normal, Ace Slot Strong, Ace Tight Slots, Ace Trips Bunch, I-Form Normal, I-Form Twin WR, I-Form Tight Twins, I-Form Big, Strong I Normal, Weak I Twin TE, Shotgun Slot Strong, Shotgun Trips Bunch
  • Defensive Playbook: 4-3

Impact Players

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
HB #399188808288909288
TENDENCYCATCARBTKBCVTRKSFAELUSPMJKM
Power709092739586809296

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
CB #69392629291959388
TENDENCYJMPTAKPOWCATPURPRCBSHPRSMCVZCV
Balanced89654770938535959593
PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
ROLB #28887687886878887
TENDENCYTAKPOWPURPRCPMVFMVBSHMCVZCV
Run Stopper827787703545657080

Wisconsin's HB #39 is a power back—built to run inside rather than out. A 95 trucking rating can run over opposing linebackers.

If you're not a Wisconsin or Big Ten fan, you may have failed to realize that the Badgers were 12-1 last season and defeated a formidable SEC opponent Arkansas (ranked a few spots lower at #10 in this top 25) in the Capital One Bowl. The Wisconsin Badgers won't slip under the radar this year. Impact player HB #39 is one of the most powerful runners in the game with a 95 trucking and 92 break tackle rating.

Defensively the Badgers are strong with two impact players and a highly ranked pass defense; the Badgers also gave up the second fewest points per game last year. Wisconsin's season hinges on an extreme challenge: facing Ohio State and Michigan in back-to-back weeks late in the season.

#8 - Oklahoma Sooners

  • '06 Record: 11-3 (Lost to Boise State in Fiesta Bowl)
  • Conference: Big 12 (8-1, 1st in South)
  • '06 Offensive Passing Stats: 70th (191.6 yards per game)
  • '06 Offensive Rushing Stats: 17th (177.1 yards per game)
  • '06 Defensive Passing Stats: 41st (188.4 yards allowed per game)
  • '06 Defensive Rushing Stats: 16th (98.7 yards allowed per game)
  • Offensive Playbook: Ace Big, Ace Normal Slot, Ace Slot Strong, I-Form Normal, I-Form Twin WR, I-Form 3WR, I-Form Big, I-Form Twin TE Wing, Shotgun 2RB 3WR, Shotgun Ace, Shotgun Normal Slot, Shotgun Slot Strg HB Wk, Shotgun 4WR Spread, Shotgun Spread Flex, Shotgun Trips Strong, Shotgun 5 Wide
  • Defensive Playbook: 4-3

Impact Players

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
HB #239091728690928987
TENDENCYCATCARBTKBCVTRKSFAELUSPMJKM
Balanced688886908885928794

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
FS #419591748987919289
TENDENCYJMPTAKPOWCATPURPRCBSHPRSMCVZCV
Balanced89708365819180808392

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
SS #39491658291939392
TENDENCYJMPTAKPOWCATPURPRCBSHPRSMCVZCV
Balanced92809072937585828092

Preseason talk regarding the Oklahoma Sooners centers less around the upcoming season and more on last season's incredible Fiesta Bowl (and Oklahoma loss) as well as Sooners' off-season troubles. This season's Sooner team returns plenty of starters but lacks stability at the quarterback position: use impact player HB #23 to keep pressure off of the Sooner signal caller. Two impact players in the secondary highlight the Sooners' strongest unit. Both safeties are highly rated at their respective positions.

#9 - Virginia Tech Hokies

  • '06 Record: 10-3 (Lost to Georgia in Chick-fil-A Bowl)
  • Conference: ACC (6-2, 2nd in Coastal)
  • '06 Offensive Passing Stats: 82nd (181.8 yards per game)
  • '06 Offensive Rushing Stats: 90th (113.4 yards per game)
  • '06 Defensive Passing Stats: 1st (128.2 yards allowed per game)
  • '06 Defensive Rushing Stats: 11th (91.2 yards allowed per game)
  • Offensive Playbook: Ace Big, Ace Big Twin WR, Ace Twin TE, Ace Normal, Ace Slot Strong, I-Form Normal, I-Form Twin WR, I-Form 3WR, I-Form Big, Strong I Normal, Power I Weak, Shotgun Split Offset, Shotgun Normal Flex, Shotgun Slot Strg HB Wk, Shotgun Trips Strong, Shotgun Double Flex
  • Defensive Playbook: 4-3

Impact Players

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
HB #289093708093939286
TENDENCYCATCARBTKBCVTRKSFAELUSPMJKM
Balanced728484958575918880

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
MLB #99686848786889393
TENDENCYTAKPOWPURPRCPMVFMVBSHMCVZCV
Balanced909392927787907164

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
LOLB #119688808688909288
TENDENCYTAKPOWPURPRCPMVFMVBSHMCVZCV
Run Stopper869391718498917582

In order to contend for a national title, the Virginia Tech offense must close the gap with its formidable defense. The Hokies' defense was ranked first overall, including first in passing yardage allowed per game and 11th in rushing yardage allowed per game. Led by two impact players, the Hokies' linebacker squad is one of the best in the game.

HB #28 is the impact player on offense; he's a solid, but not outstanding, balance of speed (93 speed, agility, and acceleration) and power (84 break tackle and 85 trucking). The Hokies' face tough division opponents (Florida State, Boston College, Miami) at home but square off in an early non-conference showdown with LSU out in Death Valley.

#10 - Arkansas Razorbacks

  • '06 Record: 10-4 (Lost to Wisconsin in Capital One Bowl)
  • Conference: SEC (7-2, 1st in West)
  • '06 Offensive Passing Stats: 108th (149.5 yards per game)
  • '06 Offensive Rushing Stats: 4th (228.5 yards per game)
  • '06 Defensive Passing Stats: 36th (185.1 yards allowed per game)
  • '06 Defensive Rushing Stats: 33rd (114.6 yards allowed per game)
  • Offensive Playbook: Ace Big, Ace Big Twin WR, Ace Normal Slot, Ace Slot Strong, Ace Trips Bunch, I-Form Normal, I-Form Twin WR, I-Form 3WR, I-Form Big, Strong I Normal, Shotgun 2RB 3WR, Shotgun Normal Slot, Shotgun Slot Strg HB Wk, Shotgun Wildcat, Shotgun Spread Flex, Shotgun Trips Strong, Shotgun 5 Wide
  • Defensive Playbook: 4-3

Impact Players

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
HB #59995789596979290
TENDENCYCATCARBTKBCVTRKSFAELUSPMJKM
Balanced689092929187949896

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
WR #859288769086919291
TENDENCYJMPCATSPCCITRTERLSCARBTKBCVTRKSFAELU
Possession969096878999657472606591

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
DT #559465928968768486
TENDENCYTAKPOWPURPRCPMVFMVBSH
Balanced84868580878486

Arkansas' Wildcat formation positions HB #5 as quarterback providing a variety of options. He's also the best running back in NCAA Football 08.

Heisman Trophy runner-up (and this season's likely leading contender) HB #5 leads Arkansas and the Razorbacks' top rated rushing attack (ranked 4th overall at 228.5 yards per game). HB #5 is the top ranked running back in the game: 99 overall rating and a near perfect blend of speed (95 speed, 96 agility, 97 acceleration), power (92 break tackle, 91 trucking) and special moves (98 spin move and 96 juke move). If you want to utilize a potent rushing attack, select the Razorbacks. Arkansas' playbook also features a unique formation, the Shotgun Wildcat. Use the "HB QB Sub" package to put the formation to full use.

#11 - Louisville Cardinals

  • '06 Record: 12-1 (Beat Wake Forest in Orange Bowl)
  • Conference: Big East (6-1, 1st)
  • '06 Offensive Passing Stats: 7th (290.0 yards per game)
  • '06 Offensive Rushing Stats: 12th (185.3 yards per game)
  • '06 Defensive Passing Stats: 80th (215.7 yards allowed per game)
  • '06 Defensive Rushing Stats: 19th (104.8 yards allowed per game)
  • Offensive Playbook: Ace Jumbo Heavy, Ace Big, Ace Normal Slot, Ace Slot Strong, I-Form Normal, I-Form Twin WR, Strong I Normal, Strong I Twin TE, Weak I Twin WR, Shotgun 2RB 3WR, Shotgun Normal Flex, Shotgun Slot Strong, Shotgun Trio, Shotgun Spread Flex, Shotgun Trips Strong, Shotgun 5WR Trio
  • Defensive Playbook: 4-3

Impact Players

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
QB #129865659468689688
TENDENCYTHPTHACARBTKBCVTRKSFAELUSPMJKM
Pocket Passer94955656704848585859

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
WR #858990488890939088
TENDENCYJMPCATSPCCITRTERLSCARBTKBCVTRKSFAELUSPMJKM
Balanced8690908289775656704055888080

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
RE #888978788276828489
TENDENCYTAKPOWPURPRCPMVFMVBSH
Pass Rusher76888460809085

The Louisville Cardinals had a strong 2006 campaign—a Big East championship and a BCS bowl victory over ACC champion Wake Forest. All of this without their top running back lost for the year in the season's first game. NCAA 08's top rated quarterback, QB #12, leads the Cardinals. He's an impact player and the quintessential pocket passer with 94 throw power, 95 throw accuracy, and 94 awareness (and very little speed and agility). The Cardinals had one of the most potent offenses last year (ranked in the top 12 in both passing and rushing yardage per game) and will need to repeat that feat to challenge for another BCS bowl bid.

#12 - Ohio State Buckeyes

  • '06 Record: 12-1 (Lost to Florida in BCS National Championship)
  • Conference: Big Ten (8-0, 1st)
  • '06 Offensive Passing Stats: 45th (214.7 yards per game)
  • '06 Offensive Rushing Stats: 26th (169.9 yards per game)
  • '06 Defensive Passing Stats: 30th (182.2 yards allowed per game)
  • '06 Defensive Rushing Stats: 15th (98.3 yards allowed per game)
  • Offensive Playbook: Ace Big, Ace Big Twin WR, Ace Twin TE, Ace Twin TE WR, Ace Normal Slot, Ace Slot Strong, I-Form Normal, I-Form Twin WR, I-Form Big, Strong I H Pro, Shotgun Split Offset, Shotgun Normal Slot, Shotgun Slot Strong, Shotgun 4WR Spread, Shotgun Trips Strong, Shotgun 5 Wide
  • Defensive Playbook: 4-3

Impact Players

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
HB #288990787088908791
TENDENCYCATCARBTKBCVTRKSFAELUSPMJKM
Power708692919589847085

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
MLB #339582769084899492
TENDENCYTAKPOWPURPRCPMVFMVBSHMCVZCV
Balanced919394896878827267

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
CB #29493568992959589
TENDENCYJMPTAKPOWCATPURPRCBSHPRSMCVZCV
Balanced89704574938458949088

Buckeye impact middle linebacker #33 is one of the highest rated in the game.

The 2006 Ohio State Buckeyes wish the BCS National Championship game had only lasted a minute. In that first minute, their impact receiver (now in the NFL) ran back the opening kickoff for a touchdown. The celebration was short-lived; the Buckeyes' saw far too much "Gator Chomp" in the game's remaining 59 minutes.

This season's team faces an uphill climb to repeat a title game appearance; several key offensive starters are gone and both Big Ten rivals Michigan and Wisconsin are both fielding strong returning squads. The year's Buckeye team strength lies with the defense. Impact players MLB #33 and CB #2 are top rated at their respective positions.

#13 - Auburn Tigers

  • '06 Record: 11-2 (Beat Nebraska in Cotton Bowl)
  • Conference: SEC (6-2, t-2nd in West)
  • '06 Offensive Passing Stats: 88th (172.7 yards per game)
  • '06 Offensive Rushing Stats: 47th (148.2 yards per game)
  • '06 Defensive Passing Stats: 14th (168.2 yards allowed per game)
  • '06 Defensive Rushing Stats: 45th (124.2 yards allowed per game)
  • Offensive Playbook: Ace Big 3TE, Ace Big, Ace Big Twin WR, Ace Normal Slot, Ace Slot Strong, Ace Trips Bunch, I-Form Twin WR, I-Form Twin TE Wing, Strong I Normal, Strong I Twin WR, Weak I Normal, Shotgun Normal Slot, Shotgun Slot Strong, Shotgun Double Flex, Shotgun Flip Trips, Shotgun Trips Strong
  • Defensive Playbook: 4-3

Impact Players

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
QB #128868598268689593
TENDENCYTHPTHACARBTKBCVTRKSFAELUSPMJKM
Balanced89894848755841747366

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
ROLB #109389707287889188
TENDENCYTAKPOWPURPRCPMVFMVBSHMCVZCV
Run Stopper948794706787856772

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
RE #549686788280888892
TENDENCYTAKPOWPURPRCPMVFMVBSH
Pass Rusher80909574809279

Despite a poorly ranked offense (88th in passing yards and 47th in rushing yards per game), the 2006 Auburn Tigers were strong in the SEC (tied for second in the West) and were the only team to knock off the eventual BCS National Champion Florida. But this season's Tigers must improve offensively to survive a schedule that features road games at Florida, Arkansas, LSU, and Georgia. The Tigers' defense, led by two impact players, ROLB #10 and one of the best defensive ends in the game, RE #54, must keep games close.

#14 - Nebraska Cornhuskers

  • '06 Record: 9-5 (Lost to Auburn in Cotton Bowl)
  • Conference: Big 12 (6-3, 1st in North)
  • '06 Offensive Passing Stats: 23rd (244.1 yards per game)
  • '06 Offensive Rushing Stats: 23rd (170.5 yards per game)
  • '06 Defensive Passing Stats: 79th (215.3 yards allowed per game)
  • '06 Defensive Rushing Stats: 37th (116.6 yards allowed per game)
  • Offensive Playbook: Ace 4WR, Ace Big, Ace Big Twin WR, Ace Twin TE, Ace Twin TE WR, Ace Slot Strong, Ace Trips Bunch, I-Form Normal, I-Form Big, Strong I Normal, Weak I Normal, Weak I Twin WR, Weak I Twin TE, Shotgun Split Offset, Shotgun Normal Slot, Shotgun Trey Open
  • Defensive Playbook: 4-3

Impact Players

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
QB #59165658265689190
TENDENCYTHPTHACARBTKBCVTRKSFAELUSPMJKM
Pocket Passer94915656613930605060

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
ROLB #159184808680828986
TENDENCYTAKPOWPURPRCPMVFMVBSHMCVZCV
Run Stopper859094848581845565

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
CB #149396629092969066
TENDENCYJMPTAKPOWCATPURPRCBSHPRSMCVZCV
Balanced90654570927364859596

The Nebraska Cornhuskers' 23rd ranked offense in both passing and rushing yardage per game didn't necessarily translate to wins and losses (despite a first place finish in the Big 12 North, the Cornhuskers finished the season at just 9-5). An improving defense (with impact players at both the linebacker and cornerback position) and a top ranked quarterback should keep Nebraska in contention. Back to back games against Texas A&M and Texas will determine Nebraska's success in conference; out of conference, look for the big early season game against #1 ranked USC.

#15 - Tennessee Volunteers

  • '06 Record: 9-4 (Lost to Penn State in Outback Bowl)
  • Conference: SEC (5-3, 2nd in East)
  • '06 Offensive Passing Stats: 12th (264.5 yards per game)
  • '06 Offensive Rushing Stats: 96th (108.0 yards per game)
  • '06 Defensive Passing Stats: 27th (180.9 yards allowed per game)
  • '06 Defensive Rushing Stats: 72nd (146.7 yards allowed per game)
  • Offensive Playbook: Ace Big 3TE, Ace Big, Ace Twin TE, Ace Twin TE WR, Ace Normal Slot, Ace Slot Strong, Ace Trips Bunch, I-Form Normal, I-Form Twin WR, I-Form 3WR, Strong I H Pro, Weak I H Twins, Shotgun 2RB 3WR, Shotgun Slot Strong, Shotgun Spread Flex, Shotgun Trips Strong, Shotgun 5WR Trio
  • Defensive Playbook: 4-3

Impact Players

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
QB #109268658465709288
TENDENCYTHPTHACARBTKBCVTRKSFAELUSPMJKM
Pocket Passer92925956706045655560

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
HB #228896657294969090
TENDENCYCATCARBTKBCVTRKSFAELUSPMJKM
Speed728478848080888588

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
FS #339795528294979391
TENDENCYJMPTAKPOWCATPURPRCBSHPRSMCVZCV
Coverage90708776799275898497

Consecutive disappointing seasons may be new to the Volunteers but it's a product of being in one of the most competitive divisions in college football: the SEC East. The Tennessee Volunteers will continue to look up at SEC champion Florida and must contend with Georgia and an improving South Carolina team. The Volunteers also battle SEC West champion Arkansas and travel to Cal in an opening non-conference game. Impact players QB #10 (one of the top ranked quarterbacks in the game; he's purely a pocket passer) and speedy HB #22 (96 speed and acceleration) anchor the offense. On defense, coverage safety #33 is one of the best in the game.

#16 - Cal Golden Bears

  • '06 Record: 10-3 (Beat Texas A&M in Holiday Bowl)
  • Conference: Pac-10 (7-2, 2nd)
  • '06 Offensive Passing Stats: 17th (253.2 yards per game)
  • '06 Offensive Rushing Stats: 33rd (162.8 yards per game)
  • '06 Defensive Passing Stats: 103rd (240.9 yards allowed per game)
  • '06 Defensive Rushing Stats: 47th (125.4 yards allowed per game)
  • Offensive Playbook: Ace Big, Ace Big Twin WR, Ace Normal, Ace Normal Slot, Ace Slot Strong, Ace Trips TE, Ace Trey Open, I-Form Twin WR, Strong I Normal, Strong I Twin WR, Weak I Normal, Weak I Twin WR, Weak I Twin TE, Shotgun Normal Offset Wk, Shotgun Slot Strong, Shotgun Trips
  • Defensive Playbook: 4-3

Impact Players

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
HB #208994658293949488
TENDENCYCATCARBTKBCVTRKSFAELUSPMJKM
Speed728480888583939088

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
WR #19798599498989489
TENDENCYJMPCATSPCCITRTERLSCARBTKBCVTRKSFAELUSPMJKM
Balanced9392938492966559883530989693

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
FS #49390658487919393
TENDENCYJMPTAKPOWCATPURPRCBSHPRSMCVZCV
Balanced88708468969085908494

Involve impact WR #1 in the deep passing game. 98 speed, agility, and acceleration can torch defensive backs.

The Cal Golden Bears feature plenty of offensive team speed with quick impact player HB #20 (94 speed and acceleration) and blazing fast impact player WR #1 (98 speed, agility, acceleration, elusiveness, 96 spin move, and 93 juke move). Use the team speed to your advantage with outside runs, screen passes, and deep post patterns. The Golden Bears need to improve on defense to contend for a conference title with Pac-10 champion and #1 overall ranked USC. The defense's biggest stars are its safeties, including impact player FS #4.

#17 - Penn State Nittany Lions

  • '06 Record: 9-4 (Beat Tennessee in Outback Bowl)
  • Conference: Big Ten (5-3, t-3rd)
  • '06 Offensive Passing Stats: 58th (199.9 yards per game)
  • '06 Offensive Rushing Stats: 43rd (150.0 yards per game)
  • '06 Defensive Passing Stats: 53rd (197.0 yards allowed per game)
  • '06 Defensive Rushing Stats: 7th (87.5 yards allowed per game)
  • Offensive Playbook: Ace Big, Ace Twin TE, Ace Normal Slot, Ace Slot Strong, Ace Flip Trips, I-Form Normal, I-Form Twin WR, I-Form Big, Strong I Normal, Weak I H Pro, Shotgun Split Twins, Shotgun 2RB 3WR, Shotgun Normal, Shotgun Slot Strong, Shotgun Double Flex, Shotgun Trips Strong
  • Defensive Playbook: 4-3

Impact Players

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
MLB #409986789286899495
TENDENCYTAKPOWPURPRCPMVFMVBSHMCVZCV
Balanced949496987488886575

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
WR #29197628295979387
TENDENCYJMPCATSPCCITRTERLSCARBTKBCVTRKSFAELUSPMJKM
Balanced8888899089866559753035939680

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
CB #19498528497979592
TENDENCYJMPTAKPOWCATPURPRCBSHPRSMCVZCV
Coverage91564574938045709496

The Penn State Nittany Lions feature one of the top defenders in the game, impact player MLB #40—99 overall rating, 94 tackle and hit power, 96 pursuit, and 98 play recognition. An impact cornerback (with enough speed and coverage skills to play the top receivers man-to-man) solidifies a defensive squad that was top ranked in rush defense (only 87.5 yards per game allowed). Impact receiver #2 is a key component on offense—utilize his speed to test opposing defenses deep to open up room for the running attack.

#18 - Georgia Bulldogs

  • '06 Record: 9-4 (Beat Virginia Tech in Chick-Fil-A Bowl)
  • Conference: SEC (4-4, t-3rd in East)
  • '06 Offensive Passing Stats: 79th (184.4 yards per game)
  • '06 Offensive Rushing Stats: 71st (127.4 yards per game)
  • '06 Defensive Passing Stats: 5th (150.0 yards allowed per game)
  • '06 Defensive Rushing Stats: 27th (108.2 yards allowed per game)
  • Offensive Playbook: Ace Big, Ace Big Twin WR, Ace Twin TE, Ace Normal Slot, Ace Slot Strong, I-Form Normal, I-Form Twin WR, I-Form 3WR, I-Form Big, I-Form Twin TE Wing, Strong I Normal, Strong I Twin WR, Shotgun 2RB 3WR, Shotgun Normal Slot, Shotgun Slot Strong, Shotgun 4WR Spread
  • Defensive Playbook: 4-3

Impact Players

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
HB #208893688091959389
TENDENCYCATCARBTKBCVTRKSFAELUSPMJKM
Balanced728282918885807788

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
MLB #128784768280879089
TENDENCYTAKPOWPURPRCPMVFMVBSHMCVZCV
Balanced868683745861806769

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
WR #18693627892959390
TENDENCYJMPCATSPCCITRTERLSCARBTKBCVTRKSFAELUSPMJKM
Balanced9482908288886556754040877080

A 4-4 conference record isn't going to cut it; if the Georgia Bulldogs hope to compete against the SEC elite, there can't be losses to the traditionally weaker SEC opponents Kentucky and Vanderbilt. The SEC isn't getting any easier. Two impact players on offense, HB #20 and WR #1, lead the way; both offer decent speed to stretch defenses. Speaking of defense, the Bulldogs' have only a few returning starters on that side of the ball; impact player MLB #12 will be the squad's leader.

#19 - UCLA Bruins

  • '06 Record: 7-6 (Lost to Florida State in Emerald Bowl)
  • Conference: Pac-10 (5-4, 4th)
  • '06 Offensive Passing Stats: 56th (200.3 yards per game)
  • '06 Offensive Rushing Stats: 63rd (129.8 yards per game)
  • '06 Defensive Passing Stats: 87th (223.4 yards allowed per game)
  • '06 Defensive Rushing Stats: 9th (91.1 yards allowed per game)
  • Offensive Playbook: Ace Big, Ace Big Twin WR, Ace Twin TE, Ace Twin TE WR, Ace Normal Slot, Ace Slot Strong, Ace Trips, I-Form Normal, I-Form Twin WR, I-Form 3WR, I-Form Big, I-Form Twin TE Wing, Strong I Normal, Strong I Twin WR, Weak I Normal, Weak I Twin WR, Shotgun Split Y-Flex
  • Defensive Playbook: 4-3

Impact Players

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
HB #288991708290929190
TENDENCYCATCARBTKBCVTRKSFAELUSPMJKM
Balanced688685908582888687

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
FS #119490689087929389
TENDENCYJMPTAKPOWCATPURPRCBSHPRSMCVZCV
Balanced85728762729577858387

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
DT #939374848576828487
TENDENCYTAKPOWPURPRCPMVFMVBSH
Pass Rusher85858572888575

UCLA features two impact players on defense, including FS #11, one of the highest rated safeties in the game.

Although the UCLA Bruins' 2006 season ended with a 7-6 record and a loss to Florida State in the Emerald Bowl, most fans will remember the 2006 season for the Bruin upset against the USC Trojans. It's important enough to defeat your rival but it's even sweeter when it keeps that rival out of the BCS National Championship. HB #28 is the impact player on offense; this balanced running back features decent speed, break tackle, and trucking ability but isn't a standout in any particular area. On defense, the Bruins' key players are their impact defensive tackle and free safety. The unit that held USC to nine points in that upset retains 10 starters and should be one of the better units in the conference.

#20 - Rutgers Scarlet Knights

  • '06 Record: 11-2 (Beat Kansas State in Texas Bowl)
  • Conference: Big East (5-2, t-2nd)
  • '06 Offensive Passing Stats: 96th (164.9 yards per game)
  • '06 Offensive Rushing Stats: 15th (180.2 yards per game)
  • '06 Defensive Passing Stats: 6th (151.2 yards allowed per game)
  • '06 Defensive Rushing Stats: 17th (101.0 yards allowed per game)
  • Offensive Playbook: Ace Big, Ace Twin TE, Ace Normal Slot, Ace Slot Strong, Ace Bunch TE, Ace Trips Bunch, I-Form Normal, I-Form Twin WR, Strong I Normal, Weak I Normal, Weak I Twin WR, Shotgun Normal, Shotgun Slot Strg HB Wk, Shotgun Trips Bunch, Shotgun Trips, Shotgun 5-Wide
  • Defensive Playbook: 4-3

Impact Players

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
QB #148465627868658988
TENDENCYTHPTHACARBTKBCVTRKSFAELUSPMJKM
Pocket Passer89864452696046696670

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
HB #279493728992949392
TENDENCYCATCARBTKBCVTRKSFAELUSPMJKM
Balanced728689868489948096

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
FS #369491708490929286
TENDENCYJMPTAKPOWCATPURPRCBSHPRSMCVZCV
Balanced85748768818972809090

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights surprised a lot of people last year—no one will be surprised this season. Impact player QB #14 and impact Heismann hopeful HB #27 lead the Scarlet Knight offense. HB #27 is one of the best in the game; an excellent mixture of speed and power to excel in both outside and inside running games. Impact free safety #36 anchors a defense that was highly ranked in both passing and rushing yards per game.

#21 - Florida State Seminoles

  • '06 Record: 7-6 (Beat UCLA in Emerald Bowl)
  • Conference: ACC (3-5, 5th in Atlantic)
  • '06 Offensive Passing Stats: 29th (233.8 yards per game)
  • '06 Offensive Rushing Stats: 103rd (96.5 yards per game)
  • '06 Defensive Passing Stats: 56th (198.3 yards allowed per game)
  • '06 Defensive Rushing Stats: 12th (92.5 yards allowed per game)
  • Offensive Playbook: Ace Big, Ace Normal Slot, Ace Slot Strong, Ace Trips Bunch, Ace Flip Trips, I-Form Normal, I-Form Twin WR, I-Form 3WR, Strong I Twin WR, Weak I Normal, Shotgun Split Offset, Shotgun Normal Flex, Shotgun Slot Strong, Shotgun Spread Flex, Shotgun Trips
  • Defensive Playbook: Multiple D

Impact Players

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
HB #68794687494959389
TENDENCYCATCARBTKBCVTRKSFAELUSPMJKM
Speed708478908477918994

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
SS #39492707689929493
TENDENCYJMPTAKPOWCATPURPRCBSHPRSMCVZCV
Balanced91848470938880908590

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
ROLB #109388708688898986
TENDENCYTAKPOWPURPRCPMVFMVBSHMCVZCV
Run Stopper849497826578856070

The 2006 Florida State Seminoles were 3-5 in the ACC. That's correct: 3-5 in the ACC. It doesn't seem that long ago where the Seminoles track to the ACC championship was a forgone conclusion. The conference has become significantly tougher—and the Seminoles have steadily declined. Florida State must improve on one of the nation's worst rushing attacks (103rd in the nation) to succeed in a schedule that includes games at Wake Forest (last season's ACC champion), at Virginia Tech, at Boston College, and at Florida.

#22 - TCU Horned Frogs

  • '06 Record: 11-2 (Beat Northern Illinois in Poinsettia Bowl)
  • Conference: Mountain West (6-2, 2nd)
  • '06 Offensive Passing Stats: 48th (213.9 yards per game)
  • '06 Offensive Rushing Stats: 9th (194.6 yards per game)
  • '06 Defensive Passing Stats: 21st (174.1 yards allowed per game)
  • '06 Defensive Rushing Stats: 2nd (60.9 yards allowed per game)
  • Offensive Playbook: Ace Big, Ace Big Twin WR, Ace Twin TE, Ace Twin TE WR, Ace Spread, I-Form Normal, I-Form Twin WR, I-Form Big, Power I Weak, Strong I Normal, Strong I Twin TE, Shotgun 2RB 3WR, Shotgun Slot Strong, Shotgun 4WR Spread, Shotgun Trips Strong, Shotgun 5 Wide
  • Defensive Playbook: 4-2-5

Impact Players

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
HB #238494687292958986
TENDENCYCATCARBTKBCVTRKSFAELUSPMJKM
Speed707678746868938392

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
SS #68790687490928987
TENDENCYJMPTAKPOWCATPURPRCBSHPRSMCVZCV
Balanced85707570887476777688

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
RE #979584808082869091
TENDENCYTAKPOWPURPRCPMVFMVBSH
Pass Rusher78909390808785

The TCU Horned Frogs have quietly—at least to the national audience—put up 11 wins in three of the last four seasons. The Mountain West conference certainly doesn't get the exposure of the SEC or Big Ten but the Horned Frogs are a quality squad, particularly on defense where eight starters return. This group was second overall in rushing yards allowed per game. HB #23 is the impact player on offense; this quick, elusive running back will be the focus of your play-calling. Defensively, impact player RE #97 is one of the top rated players at his position.

#23 - Boise State Broncos

  • '06 Record: 13-0 (Beat Oklahoma in Fiesta Bowl)
  • Conference: WAC (8-0, 1st)
  • '06 Offensive Passing Stats: 52nd (206.5 yards per game)
  • '06 Offensive Rushing Stats: 6th (214.2 yards per game)
  • '06 Defensive Passing Stats: 45th (194.9 yards allowed per game)
  • '06 Defensive Rushing Stats: 8th (89.1 yards allowed per game)
  • Offensive Playbook: Ace Big, Ace Big Twin WR, Ace Twin TE, Ace Twin TE WR, Ace Trips Bunch, Ace Slot Strong, Ace Trips TE, I-Form Normal, I-Form Twin WR, I-Form 3WR, I-Form Big, Strong I Normal, Strong I Twin TE, Weak I Normal, Shotgun Split Offset, Shotgun Slot Strg HB Wk, Shotgun Spread Flex
  • Defensive Playbook: 4-3

Impact Players

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
HB #419492788594939692
TENDENCYCATCARBTKBCVTRKSFAELUSPMJKM
Balanced689090948786938294

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
FS #209186628886888991
TENDENCYJMPTAKPOWCATPURPRCBSHPRSMCVZCV
Balanced82787462808575798084

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
CB #89094567892949191
TENDENCYJMPTAKPOWCATPURPRCBSHPRSMCVZCV
Balanced91703670918450708693

Boise State's playbook features the Hook and Ladder and the Statue of Liberty play. Check out that slick handoff.

There was an undefeated team last season and it wasn't the national champion Florida Gators—it was the Boise State Broncos out of the WAC. In one of the most exciting college football games ever, the Broncos defeated the Oklahoma Sooners in the Fiesta Bowl. Boise State used an array of trick plays near the end of the game to complete their undefeated season. This game seems to have inspired this year's NCAA 08—former Bronco quarterback Jared Zabransky graces the game's cover and several of Boise State's trick play arsenal have made it into the game.

Check the "Hail Mary" formation to find the "Circus" play, which is the Hook and Ladder play. In the "Ace Trips Bunch" formation you'll find the "Statue" play, which is the State of Liberty play. Both of these plays helped propel the Broncos to their exciting finish. Although Zabransky moved on, impact HB #41 remains and will be a key player in the Broncos offensive attack. He's one of the top rated at his position; an excellent blend of speed and power.

#24 - Texas A&M Aggies

  • '06 Record: 9-4 (Lost to California in Holiday Bowl)
  • Conference: Big 12 (5-3, 3rd in South)
  • '06 Offensive Passing Stats: 72nd (190.5 yards per game)
  • '06 Offensive Rushing Stats: 8th (206.9 yards per game)
  • '06 Defensive Passing Stats: 44th (190.5 yards allowed per game)
  • '06 Defensive Rushing Stats: 55th (132.1 yards allowed per game)
  • Offensive Playbook: Ace Big 3TE, Ace Big, I-Form Normal, I-Form Twin WR, I-Form 3WR, I-Form Big, I-Form Twin TE Wing, Strong I Normal, Weak I Twin WR, Shotgun Split, Shotgun Split Twins, Shotgun 2RB 3WR, Shotgun Ace, Shotgun Slot Strong, Shotgun Trips Bunch, Shotgun 4WR Spread, Shotgun Flex Trio
  • Defensive Playbook: 4-2-5

Impact Players

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
QB #79182598078829290
TENDENCYTHPTHACARBTKBCVTRKSFAELUSPMJKM
Balanced90886256775455808080

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
HB #119082848084868589
TENDENCYCATCARBTKBCVTRKSFAELUSPMJKM
Power728696929995867187

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
DT #859056967852567488
TENDENCYTAKPOWPURPRCPMVFMVBSH
Run Stopper90888174956086

The Texas A&M Aggies face a tough Big 12 schedule with road game at Nebraska, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma before battling rival Texas at home to conclude the season (the Aggies non-conference schedule also includes a road trip to Miami). Texas A&M has two impact players on offense, a quick quarterback capable of scrambles and option players, and a bulldozer of a running back. HB #11 isn't fast but he can pancake defenders with a 96 break tackle rating and a can't-get-higher 99 trucking rating. Don't forget to use the stiff arm.

#25 - Boston College Eagles

  • '06 Record: 10-3 (Beat Navy in Meineke Car Care Bowl)
  • Conference: ACC (5-3, t-2nd in Atlantic)
  • '06 Offensive Passing Stats: 25th (241.2 yards per game)
  • '06 Offensive Rushing Stats: 92nd (113.0 yards per game)
  • '06 Defensive Passing Stats: 59th (202.9 yards allowed per game)
  • '06 Defensive Rushing Stats: 26th (107.9 yards allowed per game)
  • Offensive Playbook: Ace Big, Ace Twin TE, Ace Normal Slot, Ace Bunch TE, Ace Tight, Ace Spread, Ace Empty 4WR, I-Form Normal, I-Form Twin WR, Strong I Normal, Strong I Twin TE, Weak I Twin WR, Weak I 3WR, Shotgun Split Offset, Shotgun Normal, Shotgun Slot Strg HB Wk, Shotgun 5WR Trio
  • Defensive Playbook: 4-3

Impact Players

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
QB #129268658872709390
TENDENCYTHPTHACARBTKBCVTRKSFAELUSPMJKM
Balanced92884856745353707668

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
CB #279493569294939390
TENDENCYJMPTAKPOWCATPURPRCBSHPRSMCVZCV
Coverage85654974967560789688

PLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRAGIACCSTAINJ
ROLB #169586788486889393
TENDENCYTAKPOWPURPRCPMVFMVBSHMCVZCV
Run Stopper889096956869857869

The Boston College Eagles have a solid quarterback leading the offense.

The Boston College Eagles complete the NCAA 08 top 25. Impact player QB #12 leads the offense; he's one of the top rated passers in the game and primarily a pocket passer. Defensively, the Eagles have two standouts: impact corner #27 and impact linebacker ROLB, both of whom are highly rated at their respective positions. Boston College follows the road to the ACC title playing all of the top contenders, including games against last year's defending champion Wake Forest, at Georgia Tech, Clemson, Maryland, Virginia Tech, and home battles against former ACC favorites, Florida State and Miami.

Chapter 3 - Offense

A strong defense can keep games close but if you can't move the ball on offense, it may not matter. This section provides tips on executing your offense. You'll find coverage of offensive formations, new auto-motion and trick plays (including Boise State's Hook and Ladder and Statue of Liberty plays), and strategies for effective passing, running, and option plays.

Offensive Formations

Players can handle NCAA Football 08 offensive play-calling through lists of formations, players, play types, or even the not-always-reliable "Ask Corso" method. If you're looking to get a specific player involved, call the offensive play through the player menus; if you want to continue to abuse the defense on a particular play, then search in only those play types. No matter how you go about selecting the play, offensive formations remain the foundation of the call. The following list covers offensive formations you'll utilize in NCAA Football 08.

  • Ace: This formation uses the single running back (the "Ace") behind the quarterback. Ace is a very flexible formation and available in a bunch of varieties. Ace can be run-focused with double tight end sets or pass-focused with three wide receivers. The lack of a fullback does decrease blocking but impact and motivated running backs can still thrive. Ace is an important formation for teams with a skilled running back.
  • I-Form: Running back and fullback lined up in an "I" formation behind the quarterback. This is a strong running formation, though it can be balanced by using more pass-oriented variations. Pass catching fullbacks can thrive in passes to the flat. This is a good formation with teams with a skilled fullback—to assist in run blocking, pass blocking, short dump offs, and even mixing into the running game.
  • Strong and Weak: These formations are similar to the I-Form but the fullback is offset to either the strong or weak side. The strong side is the same side as the tight end. Also provides a strong short passing game with backs out of the backfield. Force your opponent to think short while you mix it up and go long to a receiver or tight end.
  • Power I: A combination of I-Form and Strong/Weak. There are a total of three backs behind the quarterback. This can provide additional blocking as well as more options in the short-passing game. Hit any of the backs coming out of the backfield and into the flat.

The Flexbone is an option formation. You can find this formation in the Air Force Falcons' playbook.

  • Flexbone, Full House, Wishbone, Jumbo T: These are typical option formations with three backs lined up in a variety of formations behind or adjacent to the quarterback. Flexbone is closer to the line and Wishbone (so named because the formation looks like an upside-down wishbone) is away from the line. Obviously ideal for option plays, runs, and short passes. You'll find these in option-oriented offensive playbooks, such as Air Force. Full House and Jumbo T (check Navy's playbook) also use three backs in the backfield, though deeper than Flexbone or Wishbone.
  • Split Backs: The backs are split behind the quarterback, essentially perpendicular to the quarterback or parallel to the line. It's an intriguing formation for teams with two good running backs (use packages to use dual HB) or good pass catching backs.
  • Shotgun: The quarterback lines up several yards behind the center taking the snap away from the line of scrimmage. This typically affords the passer more time to find the receivers. Usually passing formation but can be a disguised run formation (a lot of auto-motion plays out of Shotgun offer additional run, pass, and option choices). Shotgun offers many variations and alignments. Mix it up and move an impact or motivated receiver around the formation to open up new routes and mismatch possibilities. Wide open, "spread" offenses are fill with shotgun formations and plays; check out Florida or Hawaii.

Tip: Arkansas uses a unique variant of the Shotgun formation called the Wildcat. To mirror Arkansas' actual use of this formation, use the HB QB Sub package; in Wildcat, the HB lines up in the QB position and can either run, pass, or option from the formation.

  • Pistol: The Pistol formation is similar to the Shotgun but a running back lines up behind the quarterback adding to run potential.
  • Goal Line: Tight formation intended to gain short yardage. Typically subs wide receivers for tight ends for better run blocking at the line. This formation can be a tricky pass formation if you can withstand the pass rush (the defense will likely also be in a Goal Line formation or at minimum attacking with a heavy pass rush).
  • Hail Mary: If you need a huge chunk of yardage in a single play this is where you'll look. Depending on the situation, there actually may be better options in Shotgun formation (standard Hail Mary plays are fairly straight-forward). Check Boise State's playbook for a unique Hail Mary play: Circus, which is essentially the Hook and Ladder play.

Offensive Packages

Further alter an offensive formation by using packages. After selecting the formation, cycle through packages and make any desired adjustments. Packages either switch in new personnel not normally used in the formation or alter the position of particular personnel, such as switching a running back into the wide receiver position. Use packages to help get the ball to impact or motivated players and to create mismatches against the opposing defense.

  • Strong Slot: Shifts the primary receiver into the slot. This is excellent for exposing a mismatch against a weaker nickel defense cornerback. Utilize Strong Slot for impact or motivated receivers to move them around the field to open up new routes.
  • WR (or Flanker or TE or HB) Flip: Flips the primary and secondary receiver, which could put the primary (or impact or motivated) receiver against a weaker corner.
  • Twin HB: In two RB sets, swaps in the backup running back instead of the fullback. Use Twin HB for teams with at least two strong running backs. This is a good package for misdirection runs, option plays, or check down passes in the flat.
  • Jumbo Backfield (or Fullback): Swaps in fullbacks to the halfback position. Give the big man some reps; the halfback position has more elaborate plays whereas standard plays for the fullback are straightforward dive or blast plays.
  • TE Slot (or Wideout): Shifts the tight end into the slot receiver position. Excellent for teams with impact or motivated tight ends; the package opens up new pass patterns for the skilled tight end.
  • HB Sub (Spell HB) or WR Sub: Give your running back a breather and sub in the backup for a few plays. Or your wide receiver in one receiver sets.

Utilize packages to shift a player around the formation, such as sending a good catching halfback into the slot.

  • HB Slot (or Flanker or Split End or Wideout): Shifts the running back into the receiver position. This package is ideal for teams with impact or motivated running backs with high catch ability (high speed helps as well!). There's also an HB2 Flanker to insert the backup running back.
  • 3 WR or 4 WR: Removes a tight end in a two or three receiver set and replaces with a third or fourth wide receiver. There's also an All WR package. Somewhat the opposite, the Big package uses tight ends to replace receivers.
  • CB Slot (or Flanker): Insert a fast cornerback into the WR position! He may not be the best at catching the ball but it's sure to keep your opponent off guard. Not a bad move if your cornerback is currently motivated!
  • WR Wing: Inserts the primary receiver into a goal line formation instead of one of the tight ends. TE Wing is the opposite. Used for the unexpected goal line pass play.
  • HB/FB Flip: Flip these positions, perhaps in an option offensive set. Use for teams with a strong fullback.
  • Backup QB: Get the backup in there in case your QB is fatigued or you just want to mix it up. Or perhaps your selected team has no clear-cut starter—both are equally good…or bad!
  • TE/HB Flanker Left/Right: Shifts TE left or right or HB to the flanker position left or right.
  • FB/TE Swap: Swap the fullback and tight end positions.
  • TE Backfield: Move a tight end into the backfield. Good for strong blocking tight ends or to mix up pass routes for excellent pass catching, impact or motivated tight ends.
  • HB QB Sub: In Arkansas' Shotgun Wildcat formation, it subs the starting running back into the quarterback position.
  • Miami (or MLB or Heavy): Inserts a defensive linemen in place of a tight end. In MLB, places the middle linebacker on the weak side. Heavy uses another offensive linemen for the tight end in big formations.
  • Regular: In Hail Mary, inserts "standard" personnel of 2 WR, 1 RB, 1 FB, and 1 TE.

Motivation and Impact Players

NCAA Football 08 eliminates the momentum feature from last year's game and changes it with a more player focused "motivation" element. You can use the coach's cam and the right thumb stick down to check your offensive player motivation. The concept is straightforward: actions performed on field can elevate motivation (noted by the lit circle when checking motivation levels). When the player has a ring of fire, he's "in the zone" so to speak and has increased stats. Players gain the greatest motivation when they're under your control. Making big plays while in the zone boosts motivation to nearby players.

The motivation feature mirrors real life football. You may hear of a running back that claims he gets better as the game goes on—motivation is a similar concept. The more you make plays with the same player, the more his motivation increases. A running back may be more skilled—because of motivation—on his twentieth carry than his fifth carry.

Use the coach's cam to show motivation. Get the ball to your motivated playmakers!

In the initial stages of a game, think about building motivation. Although you should certainly consider the strengths and weaknesses of the opposing defense (personnel, formations, etc), you should also try and build a ground game if you're hoping to motivate your star running back or utilize a short passing game to involve your premiere wide receivers. As the game progresses, keep an eye on your motivated players, especially those in the zone, and look to get them the ball. Mix up your offensive play-calling and packages to get the motivated player involved.

Impact players return in NCAA Football 08; these are your most important players, either on offense, defense, or special teams. Check the Top 25 Profiles section for a list of all impact players on NCAA Football 08's best football teams (or at least those ranked as the top 25 overall). These are generally your team's strongest players and should be heavily involved in your offensive game plan. Get your impact players the ball early and often to build motivation. Use packages, motion, hot routes—anything to get your best players involved and matched against weaker defenders.

Auto-Motion and Trick Plays

NCAA Football 08 adds some trickery to playbooks this season. Perhaps inspired by Boise State's exciting arsenal of trick plays in last year's Fiesta Bowl, EA Sports added both the Hook and Ladder (called "Circus") and the Statue of Liberty play (called "Statue") to Boise State's playbook. But there are several other trick plays found throughout other team playbooks as well as plays with the new auto-motion.

Green motion lines on offensive plays represent the new auto-motion. After you've pressed the button to snap the ball, the indicated player automatically moves into motion. The ball is snapped at the end of that player's motion. Several auto-motion plays put the wide receiver into motion behind the line where the ball is snapped just as the receiver reaches the quarterback, who's lined up in shotgun formation. Look for a lot of these plays in many team playbooks (generally called "Jet Sweeps"), including the national champion Florida.

Tip: NCAA Football 08 includes Arkansas' crafty "Wildcat" formation—find it under the shotgun formations as "Shotgun Wildcat". To run the formation correctly, use the package "HB QB Sub". In the formation, HB #5 (the highest rated in the game at his position) lines up at quarterback. Now you can use him as a running, passer, or to even hand off to the secondary halfback.

These plays generally provide an array of options: you could hand off to the sweeping receiver (hold down the "snap ball" button to hand off), scramble with the quarterback, or even pass the ball downfield. One downside to auto-motion is that it will be easier for opposing defenses to jump the snap—just time it when the player in auto-motion completes his movement.

As mentioned in the opening paragraph, Boise State's playbook features two trick plays, both of which were used in the Fiesta Bowl game against Oklahoma. Look for the "Statue" play in their Ace Trips Bunch formation. In the Statue of Liberty play, the quarterback fake tosses a wide receiver screen then "discreetly" hands the ball off the running back. It's basically a draw play, which has had its problems in console football games. Often the defensive line has already pushed through the offense before the ball carrier receives the ball. It can be difficult getting through the penetration and gaining positive yardage.

LSU's playbook features the WR Double Pass (in the Ace formation). Toss a screen to the WR followed by a deep pass downfield.

The Boise State Hail Mary formation contains the "Circus" play, or the Hook and Ladder. The left wide receiver runs an in pattern crossing over the middle. A receiver on the right side runs a similar in route through the middle of the field. As the left receiver makes the cut, toss him the ball; after the catch, look to pitch the ball to the other crossing receiver. It's a complicated play and extremely risky; if the pitch fails to reach its target, it's a fumble and likely a turnover.

Flip through other playbooks to find other trick plays, including flea flickers (hand off to the running back, who pitches back to the quarterback, who throws downfield) and WR Double Pass. In this play you toss a screen pass to the wide receiver who, with pass protection in front, hits a streaking wide receiver downfield for a big gain. Look for WR Double Pass in Ace formations. There are also halfback option throws; hand off or pitch to the running back who can look for a receiver downfield.

Reading Defenses

As your offense approaches the line of scrimmage, there's a mental checklist to consider before snapping the ball. Regardless of the type of play you've chosen, you can make adjustments and reads based on what the defense presents. These situations can apply against computer-controlled or human opponents.

  • Has the opposing defense matched personnel to your offensive formation? For instance, you called a four WR set but the defense has come out with only four defensive backs. This puts your offense at an advantage and if you called a "surprise" running play it would be a wise time to audible into a passing play. The opposite is true if the defense is showing a heavy defensive back set; this defense would be more vulnerable to a run (defensive backs are fast but poor tacklers).
  • What's the motivation level of your key players? Do you have any players in the zone? You should look to get the ball to motivated players to boost their motivation and get them in the zone. If you have players currently in the zone, look to get them the ball on the play.
  • Where are the defense's impact players? If you're up against a defense with an impact ROLB, consider shifting your running plays to the opposite side of the field. Against an impact corner, consider using motion to move your primary receiver away from the skilled cornerback.

You can use hot routes to adjust a receiver's route or to keep that receiver inside for additional blitz protection.

  • Is the defense showing blitz? If defenders are creeping to the line in what appears to be a blitz, consider dumping off a quick pass to the running back or use hot routes to change deeper routes to shorter slants. If the blitz is coming, you will have less time to throw and must get rid of the ball quickly.
  • Another method to countering the blitz would be to use hot routes to keep a running back or receiver behind the line for additional protection. A blitzing defense means there are fewer defenders providing coverage for your passing routes. If you can contain the blitz, you could take advantage of single-coverage and execute a big play against the overly aggressive defense. Protect your quarterback with additional blockers.
  • How has the defensive line and linebackers shifted before the snap? If you intended to execute an outside running play or option around the left end but the defense has shifted its defenders in that direction, flip the running play at the line. If the defense has spread out and left the middle weak, audible from the outside run to an inside run or a passing play.

The Passing Game

At its most basic level, the passing game is dropping back, looking for the open receiver, throwing the ball, and making the catch. But there's much more to a successful air attack. This section provides tips on knowing where to put the ball, integrating your impact and motivated players, and performing consistent execution to avoid sacks and turnovers while maximizing big play potential.

A successful air attack begins at play selection. While it may not always be possible to focus your offense around your best player (the defense may be double teaming that player), you should certainly try to get an impact receiver (or certainly a motivated receiver) the ball as often as possible.

Avoid calling the same passing routes over and over again. Mix it up. Just because you have an extremely fast wide receiver doesn't mean every play has to be a deep bomb post route. Call a wide receiver screen or a short out route. Make the defense think short then hit the fast receiver on a deeper ball. Plus, by piling up short, high percentage passes, you can increase motivation for your receiver and quarterback.

Utilize packages and motion to help free up your star receivers. With packages you can shift a primary receiver around the field—onto the opposite side of the field or into the slot. This can place your best receiver against a poor defender—a mismatch that's certainly in your favor. Using motion before the snap can help free your receiver off of bump-and-run press coverage as well as help determine if the defense is in man-to-man or zone coverage as well as line your receiver against a weaker defender.

Tip: Mixing up play-calling also means passing out of expected run formations. When you call a four WR set, defenses will prepare for pass. But if you're in a 2 RB, 2 TE set, the defense thinks run. That's an excellent time to pass the ball. Also work in play-action passes (marked with "PA" in the play name). These plays fake a run handoff but are actually passing plays. The fake can provide extra room for your receivers. Beware of play-action against blitzes; the duration for the fake leaves time for defenders to reach your quarterback. Hot route additional protection!

Know your personnel. Are your receiver targets fast or slow? Faster receivers excel in crossing routes and deeper post routes; slower receivers are better suited for curl routes or even quick slants where faster corners don't have the time to defend or jump the route (if the defenders aren't playing press coverage). Obviously it's better to test the opposing defense deep with your fastest target rather than a slower target that will likely be tightly covered.

Watch how defenders react at the snap. How the linebackers and safeties move will help you determine where to put the football.

After snapping the ball, watching defenders' movements can help determine where best to throw the ball. If you've called a slant, in, or crossing route in the middle of the field, watch the movement of the linebackers. A blitzing linebacker can leave the middle open; also, a linebacker may be in man coverage against a running back that's in the flat. If the linebackers drop back in zone, be cautious about tossing the ball in the middle of the field; these passes can be easily disrupted or picked off by a linebacker crowding the passing lane.

If you're trying to throw deep, watch the movement of the safeties. Ideally you want single coverage when throwing deep. Otherwise it's difficult to complete the pass and could very well be intercepted. See if the safety goes to the line (in a blitz) or is on man coverage with the tight end or another receiver. If the safety moves outside in zone to cover the outside receivers, look at a secondary read in the short to medium middle of the field or a dump off to a back in the flat.

The passing action is also important. Planting the quarterback's feet and passing the ball generally tosses the most accurate pass. Avoid scampering around and attempting to throw while on the run especially medium-to-long range passes in traffic. A dump off to a back in the flat can be made on the run or rollout but be careful about tossing the ball with defenders in the area.

When throwing the pass, holding down the target button tosses a bullet pass; tapping the target button tosses a lob pass. A "standard" throw is essentially in-between the two. Give your passes more of a lob or arch when you want your receiver to run under the ball or you're tossing deep over pursuing defenders. Throw a bullet pass when you need to strike the target quickly, such as in a curl route or to a running back in the flat. You can also use the thumb stick in precision passing to better place the ball—such as ahead of a receiver's route to keep the ball away from a defender.

After throwing the pass, switch players to the wide receiver and put yourself in the best position to catch the pass. If the option exists, come back toward the ball to make the catch. A quick move around a defender could avoid leaving the defender between the quarterback and your initial position. Utilize the catch button (for instance, "Y" on the 360) to complete the "User Catch". As the manual suggests, taking control and making the plays has the biggest impact for motivation levels.

Top Ten Rated Quarterbacks

The table below reveals NCAA Football 08's top ten quarterbacks sorted by overall rating. The chart also lists important quarterback stats: speed, awareness, throw power, and throw accuracy. Faster quarterbacks, such as West Virginia's elusive #5 and Missouri's quick #10, also have higher agility, acceleration, and special move ratings than typical pocket passers (such as Louisville's #12, the highest overall rated quarterback in the game).

TEAMPLAYEROVRSPDAWRTHPTHA
Louisville#129865949495
Hawaii#159774899295
West Virginia#59591849188
USC#109470899292
Kentucky#39474859488
Michigan#79365879789
Texas#129278819190
Tennessee#109268849292
Missouri#109280848989
Boston College#129268889288

Top Ten Rated Wide Receivers

Challenge defenses using fast wide receivers as deep threats or steadily move the chains with the consistency of possession receivers. The table below reveals the top ten wide receivers in NCAA Football 08. Key statistics include speed, agility, acceleration, catching, jumping, spectacular catch, catch in traffic, route running, and an assortment of special move ratings.

TEAMPLAYEROVRSPDAGIACCAWRCTHSPCCITRTEJMPBCVELUSFASPMJKM
Cal#1979898989492938492938898309693
Vanderbilt#10959193949397969498917295488993
Michigan#86949597978990988490909096418094
Texas#4939087959391959492968194627590
Rice#81939392949094958396946593309180
Purdue#9939693968894958492897588409685
Hawaii#7939594987896968393877895439596
Oregon State#19929494958992958391936885519086
LSU#9929492948891949293928997658093
Arkansas#85928886919090968789967291659484

Top Ten Rated Tight Ends

The tight end serves a dual role as blocker and receiver threat. Don't underestimate the tight end in the passing game. The tight end is unlikely to break big gains but he often draws less attention than a team's premiere wide receivers. The list below reveals the top ten rated tight ends in NCAA Football 08. Key statistics include speed, catching, jumping, break tackle, trucking, and blocking.

TEAMPLAYEROVRSPDAWRCTHJMPBTKTRKPBKRBK
Wisconsin#9978684888059695959
Notre Dame#89957588847468756265
Missouri#82948584858668705656
USC#83938282848870705956
Missouri#45938580858862755659
Virginia#86918580767465745665
Southern Miss#83918874829065856559
Purdue#28918278848665775959
Kentucky#18918282857862826259
Florida#7908776829268705956

The Running Game

Establishing a strong running game generally opens up the passing attack. Defenses will have to place more defenders "in the box" (the area around the line of scrimmage) to better be in position to stop your rushing attack—which often leaves receivers in single-coverage downfield. This section provides tips on gaining consistent yardage on the ground.

An effective rushing attack begins with knowing your personnel. Is your chosen team's running back better suited for power (high strength, break tackle, trucking, stiff arm rating but lower speed) or speed (high speed, agility, acceleration, spin move, and juke move rating)? Faster runners can turn the corner outside and elude slower linebackers and defensive backs for big gains but may not have the break tackle ability to run over middle linebackers. Power backs lack the speed to get outside but can truck through would-be tacklers.

Does your team have a good fullback? Where are the strengths of your team's offensive line? This can help determine if you should be running more around the left, right, or through the center or tackles of the line. The abilities of your personnel can help you determine which formations to select (Ace, I-Form, Strong, Weak, etc contain fullbacks) and if you need additional blocking help from tight ends.

NCAA 08 uses the lead blocking feature from last season's Madden. Select a blocker, open a hole, and use the running back to sprint through.

NCAA Football 08 implements "lead blocking controls" that made a debut in last year's run-focused Madden (with Shaun Alexander on the cover). On running plays you can control a blocker and allow the computer to control the running back (you retake control of the back after completing the block). Use lead blocking to help open holes or engage a linebacker or blitzing defender to give your running back additional running room through the middle or around the corner.

Check play designs and follow the intended blocking pattern. Your offensive linemen work for a reason! Allow the blockers to do their job. Don't sprint through your blocking scheme. Allow the play to develop then sprint through the hole. Be prepared to use a special move—trucking, stiff arm, juke, spin move, etc—to avoid approaching tacklers. Keep an eye on your downfield blocking; look to move around receivers, a fullback, or disengaged linemen for help downfield as you rack up big yardage.

Top Ten Rated Running Backs

The following table reveals the top ten rated running backs in NCAA Football 08. Key statistics include speed, strength, agility, catching, carrying, break tackle, trucking, and an assortment of special move ratings. These are the best of the best on the ground; generally faster running backs excel in outside runs with special move abilities and stronger—but slower—running backs excel inside by knocking down would-be tacklers with break tackle and trucking ability.

TEAMPLAYEROVRSPDSTRAGIACCAWRCTHCARBTKTRKELUBCVSFASPMJKM
Arkansas#5999578969795689092919492879896
West Virginia#10979670979890728788899995889497
Michigan#20959076899091769690889294897593
Rutgers#27949372929489728689849486898096
Boise State#41949278949385689090879394868294
Oregon State#26939165949480828688909292888691
Oregon#28929274939388688587859692777585
Wisconsin#39918880889082709092958073869296
Texas#25919665949676688684859286788589
Clemson#1919474949480688088919095928090

Top Ten Rated Fullbacks

It's understandable that strong running teams also have skilled fullbacks: just look at Arkansas and West Virginia, which have two of the best running backs in the game. A skilled fullback can provide essential blocking in I-Form, Strong, or Weak formations, utilized in option offenses, or even provide a short passing thread out of the backfield. The chart below reveals the top ten rated fullbacks in NCAA Football 08. Key statistics include speed, catching, carrying, break tackle, and run blocking.

TEAMPLAYEROVRSPDAGIACCAWRCTHCARBTKTRKRBK
Arkansas#2293868588787280858852
West Virginia#3592827884776870829159
Texas A&M#2491787682746870769162
Ole Miss#2691827884726876869259
Navy#2291828084726576829259
LSU#1891848284777276846752
Georgia#3691787882796874747159
Pittsburgh#3090857687626876787462
Iowa#3590746874727268707765
UCLA#3289747072786562659268

The Option

The option play generally separates NCAA playbooks from Madden playbooks (though the option play has crept up from time to time in the NFL). The pure option play is easily recognized; the quarterback takes the snap and moves either right or left along the line of scrimmage. The running back follows close to the quarterback. Depending on what the defense does, the quarterback can keep the ball and run up field or—if defenders are close—pitch to the running back.

There are other varieties as well. A triple option play includes the fullback; hold down the snap button after hiking and you will hand off to the fullback on a dive or blast play. You'll also find pass plays out of the option. Instead of running across the line of scrimmage, open the passing targets using the snap button and hit a receiver downfield.

The green patterns on offensive plays are auto-motion. Many of these plays open up new option possibilities. In this Jet Sweep Pass you can hand off to the motion man or remain in the pocket for a pass.

Some of the new auto-motion plays (jet sweeps, etc) are like option plays. You can hand off to the motion receiver behind the line of scrimmage, fake the hand off and run with the quarterback, or drop back for the pass. The option is unpredictable, which makes it difficult to defend. The opposing defense must decide not only whether to defend run or pass but then must commit tacklers to stop a scrambling quarterback or an outside running back (not to mention avoid cheating up and getting beat by the long pass).

Utilize motion to add additional blockers or to pull defenders away from your option running lane. For instance, in a two tight end set (set up on both sides of the line), you can use motion to shift one tight end over to pair with the other one for extra blocking. On the flip side, use motion to shift receivers to the opposite side, which can pull away defenders and leave a more open running lane.

Chapter 4 - Defense

Long-term team success or failure usually rides on the defense. A team's explosive offense may put up 40 points per game but if its soft defense allows 45 points per game, conference titles and bowl games will likely be slim. Playing strong defense means making appropriate formation calls to counter your opponent's offensive personnel, maximizing the potential of your motivated and impact players, and controlling defenders efficiently in defending a pass, run, or option play.

Team Defensive Playbooks

Each NCAA 08 team uses a specific defensive playbook. Most teams employ the standard 4-3 defense but there are plenty that utilize a 3-4, 3-3-5, 4-2-5, or Multiple D playbook. The chart below reveals all teams and their specific defensive playbooks. Check the next section for specific defensive formations that are featured in each playbook.

TEAMDEFENSE PLAYBOOK
Air Force Falcons4-2-5
Akron Zips3-3-5
Alabama Crimson TideMultiple D
Arizona Wildcats4-3
Arizona State Sun Devils4-3
Arkansas Razorbacks4-3
Arkansas State Indians4-3
Army Black Knights4-3
Auburn Tigers4-3
BYU Cougars3-4
Ball State Cardinals3-4
Baylor Bears4-2-5
Boise State Broncos4-3
Boston College Eagles4-3
Bowling Green Falcons4-3
Buffalo Bulls4-3
Cal Golden Bears4-3
Central Michigan Chippewas4-3
Cincinnati Bearcats4-3
Clemson Tigers4-3
Colorado Buffalos4-3
Colorado State Rams4-3
Connecticut Huskies4-3
Duke Blue DevilsMultiple D
ECU Pirates4-3
Eastern Michigan Eagles4-3
FIU Golden Panthers4-3
Florida Gators4-3
Florida Atlantic Owls4-3
Florida State SeminolesMultiple D
Fresno State Bulldogs4-3
Georgia Bulldogs4-3
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets4-3
Hawaii Warriors4-3
Houston Cougars3-4
Idaho Vandals4-3
Illinois Fighting Illini4-3
Indiana Hoosiers4-3
Iowa HawkeyesMultiple D
Iowa State Cyclones4-3
Kansas Jayhawks4-3
Kansas State Wildcats4-3
Kent State Golden Flashes3-4
Kentucky Wildcats4-3
LSU Tigers3-4
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs4-3
Louisville Cardinals4-3
Marshall Thundering Herd4-3
Maryland Terrapins3-4
Memphis Tigers4-3
Miami Hurricanes4-3
Miami University Redhawks4-3
Michigan Wolverines4-3
Michigan State Spartans4-3
Mid Tenn State Blue Raiders4-3
Minnesota Golden Gophers4-3
Mississippi State Bulldogs4-3
Missouri Tigers4-3
NC State Wolfpack4-3
Navy Midshipmen3-4
Nebraska Cornhuskers4-3
Nevada Wolf Pack3-4
New Mexico Lobos3-3-5
New Mexico State Aggies3-4
North Carolina Tar Heels4-3
North Texas Mean Green4-3
Northern Illinois Huskies4-3
Northwestern Wildcats4-3
Notre Dame Fighting Irish3-4
Ohio Bobcats4-3
Ohio State Buckeyes4-3
Oklahoma Sooners4-3
Oklahoma State Cowboys4-3
Ole Miss Rebels4-3
Oregon Ducks4-3
Oregon State Beavers4-3
Penn State Nittany Lions4-3
Pittsburgh Panthers4-3
Purdue Boilermakers4-3
Rice Owls4-2-5
Rutgers Scarlet Knights4-3
SMU Mustangs4-3
San Diego State Aztecs4-3
San Jose State Spartans4-3
South Carolina GamecocksMultiple D
Southern Miss Golden EaglesMultiple D
Stanford Cardinal4-3
Syracuse Orange4-3
TCU Horned Frogs4-2-5
Temple Owls3-4
Tennessee Volunteers4-3
Texas Longhorns4-3
Texas A&M Aggies4-2-5
Texas Tech Red Raiders4-3
Toledo Rockets3-4
Troy Trojans4-3
Tulane Green Wave4-3
Tulsa Golden Hurricane3-3-5
UAB Blazers4-3
UCF Golden Knights4-3
UCLA Bruins4-3
UL Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns4-3
UL Monroe WarhawksMultiple D
UNLV RebelsMultiple D
USC Trojans4-3
USF Bulls4-3
UTEP Miners4-3
Utah Utes4-3
Utah State Aggies4-3
Vanderbilt Commodores4-3
Virginia Cavaliers3-4
Virginia Tech Hokies4-3
Wake Forest Demon Deacons4-3
Washington Huskies4-3
Washington State Cougars4-3
West Virginia Mountaineers3-3-5
Western Michigan Broncos4-3
Wisconsin Badgers4-3
Wyoming Cowboys3-4

Defensive Formations

The list below reveals the defensive formations included in each playbook. Regarding defensive formations, the first number indicates the number of defensive linemen, the second number indicates the number of linebackers, and if there's a third number, that reveals the number of defensive backs. So a 4-2-5 defense features four linemen, two linebackers, and five defensive backs.

  • 4-3: 4-3 Normal, 4-3 Over, 4-3 Under, 46 Bear, 4-4 Split, 5-2 Normal, Nickel Normal, Nickel Strong, Nickel 3-3-5, Dime Normal, Dime 3-2-6, Quarter 3 Deep, Goal Line
  • 3-3-5: 3-3-5 Stack, 3-3-5 Across, 3-3-5 Split, 3-3-5 Bear, 3-4 Under, 5-2 Normal, Nickel Normal, Nickel 3-3-5, Nickel 2-4-5, Dime Normal, Dime 3-2-6, Quarter 3 Deep, Goal Line
  • 4-2-5: 4-2-5 Normal, 4-2-5 Over, 4-2-5 Under, 4-2-5 Bear, 4-4 Split, 5-2 Normal, Nickel Normal, Nickel 3-3-5, Nickel Strong, Dime Normal, Dime 3-2-6, Quarter 3 Deep, Goal Line
  • 3-4: 3-4 Normal, 3-4 Over, 3-4 Under, 3-4 Solid, 3-4 Even, 5-2 Normal, Nickel Normal, Nickel 3-3-5, Nickel 2-4-5, Dime Normal, Dime 3-2-6, Quarter 3 Deep, Goal Line
  • Multiple D: 4-3 Normal, 4-3 Over, 46 Bear, 3-4 Under, 3-4 Solid, 5-2 Normal, Nickel Normal, Nickel 3-3-5, Nickel 1-5-5, Dime Normal, Dime 3-2-6, Quarter 3 Deep, Goal Line

Certain formations are better suited for specific situations. When the offense only has inches to go for the first down, "Goal Line" or "5-2" can be effective formations. Passing situations, however, generally require additional defensive backs to cover all opposing receivers; in this instance you must consider Nickel or Dime defenses, which add additional defensive backs to the formation.

Offensive personnel helps determine your defensive formation selection.

Formations all have advantages and disadvantages. Before selecting your defensive play, check the offense's personnel and determine if you need more defensive backs to cover receivers or should focus on linemen and linebackers to help stuff the run. Also play to your team's strengths as well as impact players. If your team has a couple impact linebackers, avoid removing them from the field based on your formation call. Examine your favorite team's player stats and determine if your team is strongest on the line, the linebackers, or in the secondary.

The chart below lists some advantages and disadvantages of each defensive formation. The "Types" column refers to the formation subsets. These generally refer to the placement of particular defenders. For example, "under" and "over" refer to the placement (either left or right) of linebackers. The formations and subsets are basically identical to last season's game.

FORMATIONTYPESDESCRIPTIONADVANTAGESDISADVANTAGES
Goal LineN/AShort yardage formation. A package can keep an impact or motivated safety on the field.Tightly packed to counter short yardage and goal line situations. Shift the line and linebackers to plug expected run direction.Watch the play action! Easily burned by a long pass—even a quick pass if the defense isn't in alignment. Be prepared to audible out of goal line.
5-2NormalFive defensive linemen, two linebackers, four defensive backs. Use packages to swap in an impact or motivated linebacker if he's off the field.Strong for teams with defensive line depth. Run stopping defense at the line, especially inside runs.Weaker against outside runs unless the defensive ends are especially strong. Runs that penetrate the line can be big gains cause of lack of linebackers. Not a strong pass defense.
4-3Normal, Over, UnderFour defensive linemen, three linebackers, four defensive backs.Standard base defense. Best if you have a strong line over linebackers and fast ends. Covers inside run well and short to medium passes.Beware of the 3+ receiver sets. Outside and option run can be difficult without proper linebacker alignment.
3-4Normal, Over, Under, Solid, EvenThree defensive linemen, four linebackers, four defensive backs.Four linebackers offer a variety of blitz packages. Best if you have strong linebackers over line. Good mobility along the line for outside runs and options. Decent against medium pass as linebackers can cover lanes in zone.Beware of pass-heavy offensive sets. You don't want linebackers covering wide receivers! Somewhat susceptible to inside run depending on linebacker assignments and their abilities.
4-4SplitFour defensive linemen, four linebackers, three defensive backs. Use packages to swap in an impact or motivated safety if he's off the field.Additional linebackers can protect outside run. Many blitzing options. Strong against runs and short passes.Only three defensive backs will put a lot of pressure on your corners and safeties. Beware of trip WR sets or greater or play a safer zone defense.
46BearSix at the line, two at the linebacker position, three in coverage.Puts pressure on the quarterback and can defend runs at the line. Lots of blitz opportunities and coverage disguises.Vulnerable to quick passes with so many at the line. Avoid using against pass-heavy formations unless you have the pass rushing skills to get at the quarterback quickly.
4-2-5Normal, Over, Under, BearFour defensive linemen, two linebackers, five defensive backs. Use packages to swap in an impact or motivated linebacker if he's off the field.Nickel secondary to cover pass plays (three WR sets) and a good defensive line could still get pressure on the QB. Linebackers can blitz or be in their zone. Better for teams with a stronger secondary than linebackers.Can be weak against a run that gets through the line—only a couple linebackers between the ball carrier and secondary. Stay in zone if you think opponent may run.
3-3-5Stack, Across, Split, BearThree defensive linemen, three linebackers, five defensive backs.Five defensive backs to cover the pass with three linebackers available to cover run or provide additional pressure on quarterback. Better for team with strong linebackers and secondary and weaker line.Unless you use some LBs or DBs blitzing, the three-man line may not adequately pressure the quarterback. Can be vulnerable to inside runs with the lack of line defense.
NickelNormal, Strong, 3-3-5, 2-4-5, 1-5-5Five defensive backs. Use packages to swap in an impact or motivated linebacker if he's off the field.Added defensive back to protect against the pass. Use against 3 WR sets. Other nickel formations add additional linebackers if your group is particularly skilled or deep.More vulnerable to run plays. Defensive backs are generally worse tacklers.
DimeNormal, 3-2-6Six defensive backs. Use packages to swap in an impact or motivated linebacker if he's off the field. The 3-2-6 removes a defensive lineman and adds a second linebacker.Strongest against the certain passing situations. Six defensive backs can cover a lot of area, particularly in zone. Use against four and more WR sets.Watch for a run audible at the line and beware of quarterback scrambles, especially if your defensive backs are in man coverage and moving away from line of scrimmage.
Quarter3 DeepSeven defensive backs.When you're certain your opponent is going to pass!With so many defensive backs, you are vulnerable to an unexpected run play. But often you will be in long yardage situations anyhow.

Defensive Packages

Use defensive package to substitute specific position players into the defense quickly. This is especially useful if a base defensive removes a specific defender and you'd rather keep that player in the game (perhaps he's an impact player or already motivated). This list below reveals some of the more frequent defensive packages and explains their use.

  • LB, CB, or Safety Flip: Flips the outside linebackers, corners, or safeties. If an opponent is running or passing heavily to one side to avoid your impact or motivated player, flip them!
  • DT and DE Flip: Same as above, just the defensive linemen.
  • MLB or OLB Flip: In four linebacker sets, this flips the outside or middle linebackers.
  • LOLB Swap (or ROLB, CB, Safety, Coverage, Slot): Swaps specific personnel. Those players covering the left side of the field will now cover the right once swapped.
  • LOLB Left or Right: In Nickel defense, subs in your LOLB. Important if that's an impact or motivated player you'd rather have in the current formation.
  • ROLB/LOLB: Inserts this player into the Dime formation. Useful if that's your impact or motivated player. Also appears in 5-2 defense.
  • Big Nickel: Uses two strong safeties instead of a third cornerback in Nickel defense. There's also Safety NB (nickelback), which is similar.
  • LB Pass Rush: Positions a LB on the line to rush the quarterback.
  • FS Sub (and D-Line Sub): Substitute specific personnel on defense.
  • SS (in 4-4): Inserts strong safety instead of the free safety.
  • FS (in Goal Line): Inserts free safety instead of strong safety.
  • LB Ends: Positions linebackers at the end of the line.
  • 46 Swap: Swaps position of the linebackers in the 46 defense.
  • 4th CB: Switches in a fourth corner into Dime. Good for teams with depth at the position.
  • Quarter: A Dime defense with quarter personnel (extra defensive back).

Motivation and Impact Defenders

NCAA Football 08 exchanges last season's momentum feature for a new motivation gameplay element. In regards to the defense, if a defender makes a big play—a key sack, big hit tackle, turnover, etc—he may gain motivation bonus. As the player continues to make big plays, he'll eventually become "motivated" or essentially "in the zone". You can check your defenders' motivation level using the "Coach's Camera" and moving the right thumb stick. Players with lit circles underneath their feet have gained motivation bonus; a flaming circle underneath a player indicates that the player has become fully motivated.

A motivated player gains stats and—in general—performs better than his base counterpart. He'll tackle better, recognize plays quicker, and pursue ball-callers faster. Take advantage of player's gaining motivation (or fully motivated players) by keeping them on the field by calling particular defensive formations or using packages to keep the defender on the field.

You can also allow that player to have "more responsibility" defensively. For instance, if you have a motivated safety, you could call defenses that either leave him alone in zone coverage or even use him to blitz the quarterback. A motivated corner could be left in man-to-man coverage instead of having to call safer zone defenses. A motivated linebacker could blitz and apply additional pressure on the quarterback. Motivated players also provide motivation boosts to nearby defenders.

Tip: Whether you're playing a computer or human opponent, wait until you see the offensive personnel before selecting your defensive formation. For example, a higher number of receivers require a greater number of defensive backs to defend them. Against human opponents, consider the offense's play-calling tendencies. What offensive personnel mean run plays or pass plays? Is your opponent running out of typical pass formations and vice versa? Tailor your defensive formation calls to counter; such as using a Nickel 3-3-5 with the defensive backs to cover the pass but linebackers to stop a run.

Impact players also make a return in this year's NCAA Football. Impact players are basically your team's three top players; an impact player could be on offense, defense, or special teams. A star underneath the player's feet indicates impact player status. Like with motivated players, use formations and defensive packages to keep your impact defenders on the field as frequently as possible. These are your top defenders; executing a strong defense means keeping your top defenders on the field making big plays.

Defensive Adjustments and Hot Routes

Even after the choosing your defensive personnel, formation, package, and play-call, there are still adjustments that can be made before the offense begins its play. Make these adjustments to better counter what you expect from the offensive play call. Perhaps you expect the offense to run up the middle out of the called formation, toss a pass to the running back or fullback in the flat, or test your defenders on the deep pass. You can perform a lot of defensive adjustments and audibles before the snap—if there's time because the computer snaps the ball pretty quickly (and most human players probably give you the time to start alter coverage for each defender!).

There are plenty of defensive adjustments that can be made at the line: you can alter the position of defenders, make them blitz, or hot route them into specific coverages.

Defensive linemen and linebackers can shift left, right, spread, or pinch the middle. Shift these players if you expect your opponent to run outside either left or right or up the middle. If your opponent has a tendency to always run to the left, shift your defensive linemen and linebackers to protect the outside left running lanes. Once shifted you can also change the direction of the defensive line or linebackers' initial push against the offensive line by crashing to the right or left (or outside or jamming the middle). Disrupting the offensive line's blocking scheme could open holes for your linebackers to make a quick tackle against the vulnerable ball carrier.

You can also make several adjustments to linebacker assignments. You can call off linebacker blitzes (instantly changing their assignment to a zone defense); blitz all of your linebackers; or blitz with an outside linebacker. Once again you should make these decisions based on the expected offensive play. If you expect a quick pass, you may want to call off your linebacker blitz to try and guard the passing lane against the quick strike. If your opposing quarterback lacks protection, consider changing a linebacker's assignment to a blitz and put pressure on the quarterback's upcoming throw.

Sweeping audible changes can also be made to your cornerbacks and safeties. Play bump-and-run press coverage against the opposing receivers; this is a good move if you have strong cover corners with high press ratings (if they're motivated, it's even stronger). Pressing the offense's receivers can disrupt the timing on quick passes but could leave deeper strikes open if your corners aren't quick enough to play the opposing receiver man-to-man. Alternatively, you can back the secondary off if you're protecting against the deep pass—perhaps it's 3rd and long to go or you're up by a few touchdowns and don't want to give up the easy touchdown.

Tip: Additional defensive adjustments include shifting safeties, man align (position defender against assigned receiver), and show blitz. By showing blitz, you move more defenders close to the line. It's very aggressive but also vulnerable to inside throws; in show blitz, defenders aren't in the best position to defend their man and must recover as the play begins.

Defensive hot routes are a new feature on NCAA Football 08. Highlight a specific defender and use hot routes to alter that specific defender's assignment. Order a blitz, put the defender in man coverage against a specific receiver, spy against the QB, or place a defender in a variety of zone coverage. For example, if your opponent is continuously burning you with passes to the running back or fullback or in the flat, use the hot routes to place an outside linebacker in a flat zone. Note that you can also use hot routes for defensive linemen, putting them in zone coverage or even QB spy to help protect against scrambles.

Defensive Execution

The final stage of executing your defense is after the snap of the ball. You may have called the perfect defensive formation and package and made excellent pre-snap adjustments, but if you fail to capitalize on your motivated defenders, deflect a pass, or make a tackle you still may give up big yardage and big plays. This section provides additional tips on selecting and executing defensive plays.

  • Consider your chosen team's defensive strengths as you call formations and packages. A team with a stronger linebacker group than secondary could be stronger in 4-3 defenses than constant Nickel or Dime. If you have a strong secondary, you can play more man-to-man coverage (generally better against the pass) instead of the safer, and often more vulnerable, zone coverage.
  • Deciding which defender to control isn't an exact science. Some players prefer a strong defensive lineman using power moves to try and put quick pressure on the quarterback. Other players take control of the free safety to disrupt passing plays or charge the line as a run stopper. Be wary of your selected defender's assignment. If he's in zone coverage than that defender is assigned a portion of the field; if you run out of it, you could leave field open for an easy pass. Try the middle linebacker in a QB spy or middle zone coverage. You're in position to stop running plays and can quickly move in or out to disrupt passing lanes.
  • Enhance your pass rush by jumping the snap. Press the left trigger at the exact moment you believe the offense will hike the ball. If you're too early, your linemen could jump offside and receive a penalty flag. If you're exact ("Successful Jump" appears onscreen), the defensive line and blitzing defenders could gain an advantage over the offensive protection and have a better shot of pressuring the quarterback (or disrupting a running play). Watch for the auto-motion plays; the ball is snapped at the end of the player's motion, perfect timing for jump the snap.

Tip: Monitor your motivated players using the coach's cam. Players gain more motivation from big plays when they're under your control. Making a user sack, tackle, or interception pays off with increased motivation. Make sure you keep motivated—and especially in the zone players—on the field. You may want to send a linebacker in the zone on a blitz or leave an in the zone corner in man-to-man coverage.

  • Become an unpredictable defense by mixing up your blitzes. Blitz from the linebacker position or the corner or even from the safety position but don't blitz the same defender every play. Don't allow your opponent to grow comfortable in the pocket; if your opponent knows where the pressure is coming from every down, he can adjust offensive play-calling accordingly. Use pre-snap defensive adjustments and hot routes to alter positioning and blitzes to further add unpredictability. The key is to maintain pressure on the opposing offense; be aggressive and force the opposing quarterback into quick throws and bad decisions.
  • If the opposing offense focuses on a particular receiver, use double coverage—either through defensive play-calling or hot routes—to double team the particular receiver. Force your opponent to make tough throws into tight coverage or have to look elsewhere to throw the ball. Pull off a defensive linemen and move into the passing lane toward that receiver if drastic, triple-team measures are required.
  • Going for the big hit could cause a game-changing turnover but it's also a risky move. Containment is often better in the long run. Use defenders to force the opposing runner toward additional defensive help (usually toward the inside of the field). Go for the big hit if you have further help nearby—help that could make the tackle if you happen to miss the big blow. NCAA Football 08 uses "Hit Stick 2.0" where you can hit high or low (going high is better for jarring the ball loose; low is better for ensuring a tackle).

Dealing with scrambling quarterbacks is a challenge, especially when facing a human opponent online. Be prepared for a lot of West Virginia.

  • Quarterback scrambling is a favorite tactic of online players—expect to see plenty of West Virginia opponents! Defending the quarterback scramble is certainly a challenge. You must defend against quarterback runs, option possibilities, and finally the quarterback scrambling around behind the line then eventually passing deep downfield to scattered receivers. Put pressure on scrambling quarterbacks by blitzing from the corner (faster than linebackers or safeties). Control a defender on the opposite side. Try to contain the quarterback from the run then be prepared to defend the pass once it's thrown. Mix up your blitzes so the opposing scrambler doesn't know which way would be best to maneuver.
  • Defensive formations refer primarily to the on-field personnel. 4-3 and 3-4 use four defensive backs, Nickel uses five defensive backs, and Dime uses six defensive backs. Additional defensive backs—basically more team speed and coverage ability—are needed against likely passing situations. It's possible to call Nickel or Dime personnel but then use a formation audible to switch into a 4-3 defense you prefer. You gain the benefits of your preferred defense with the personnel required to defend the offense's expected play.

Top Ten Defensive Linemen

The following chart reveals the top ten defensive linemen in NCAA Football 08. Key statistics include strength, tackle, hit power, power moves, finesse moves, and block shedding.

TEAMPLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRTAKPOWPMVFMVBSHPUR
MichiganLE #5599857884858762617992
LSUDT #7298659490889197759082
TexasDT #9797659488869291658086
USCLE #9696808282829491977673
FloridaLE #9196867880809475958088
MiamiRE #8196858583789077958095
AuburnRE #5496867882809080927995
VirginiaLE #9195788482829385827580
TCURE #9795848080789080878593
Florida StateDT #9695689085859292788084

Top Ten Linebackers

The following chart reveals the top ten linebackers in NCAA Football 08. Key statistics include speed, strength, tackle, hit power, block shedding, pursuit, and play recognition.

TEAMPLAYEROVRSPDSTRAWRTAKPOWBSHPURPRCMCVZCV
Penn StateMLB #409986789294948896986575
USCROLB #559787748791909493897177
Virginia TechLOLB #119688808686939191717582
Virginia TechMLB #99686848790939092927164
MichiganLOLB #29587828484938490807371
USCMLB #589586858788998294827164
South CarolinaMLB #529582808992938092856870
Ohio StateMLB #339582769091938294897267
Boston CollegeROLB #169586788488908596957869
MarylandROLB #19484828687908693847269

Top Ten Cornerbacks

Cornerbacks are your first line of defense against an opponent's aerial assault. The chart below reveals the top ten cornerbacks in NCAA Football 08. Key statistics include speed, jumping, press, play recognition, man coverage, and zone coverage.

TEAMPLAYEROVRSPDAWRJMPPRSPRCMCVZCV
Arizona#59795929290899895
San Jose State#259492908892818885
Penn State#19498849170809496
Ohio State#29493898994849088
Boston College#279493928578759688
Wisconsin#69392928995859593
Virginia Tech#189393909087809595
Nebraska#149396909085739596
Alabama#29391909072859087
USC#289291908993859085

Top Ten Safeties

Safeties provide assistance in both defending the pass and defending the run: these are your team's heavy hitters. The following table reveals the top ten free and strong safeties in NCAA Football 08. Key statistics include speed, tackle, hit power, press, pursuit, play recognition, man coverage, and zone coverage.

TEAMPLAYEROVRSPDAWRTAKPOWPRSPURPRCMCVZCV
Miami (FL)SS #197938479968292788892
TennesseeFS #3397958270878979928497
MichiganSS #2296889082908394808091
Arizona StateFS #1996958870868294938594
OklahomaFS #4195918970838081918392
USCFS #295948076878385898989
TexasFS #2694899072758281939088
UCLAFS #1194909072878572958387
RutgersFS #3694918474878081899090
OklahomaSS #394918276908293758092

Chapter 5 - Campus Legend

Create your own prospect, compete in your high school playoffs, and attend signing day to become the next big thing in college football. NCAA Football 08's campus legend mode lets you take control of your favorite position player, attend practices, complete events (do you play in a pick up basketball game or stay home and do your classwork?), and finally compete in your team's college schedule. This section provides some tips on becoming the next campus legend.

  • Character creation is your first decision in campus legend. Do you want to be a scrambling quarterback or pocket passer? How about speed running back or a power running back? Or forget offense completely and play on the defensive side of the ball, as a lineman, linebacker, cornerback, or safety? Consider your choices carefully, especially concerning the skills of your player. A power back will have greater break tackle and trucking abilities but lack outside speed. You won't have control over play-calling, though the AI seems to mix inside and outside runs. Create your character's size, look, and background before venturing into your high school state playoffs.
  • Campus Legend is unique because gameplay is focused on your character. If you've chosen to play a running back, the camera sits just behind your player. You'll spot the offensive linemen opening holes (hopefully!) and must navigate through them. Not much different than the actual gameplay camera. However, choosing a position such as a wide receiver or cornerback offers a unique experience.
  • One of the Xbox 360 achievements is creating a 5-star prospect. After each high school playoff game, your game statistics are presented along with a notification of which college scouts attended the game. A star rating at the top reveals your caliber. The greater the stars, the more college scholarships you will be offered (and generally better potential playing time). Game performance determines your rating. Make big plays, rack up yardage, and impress the scouts. Capitalize on your opportunities. You must win your state championship and if these conditions are met, you may become the 5-star prospect.

Campus Legend mode lets you build a college superstar from the ground up. The Legend Meter tracks your status.

  • After the high school playoffs, it's off to signing day. Scan the list of college scholarship offers. These reveal where you will fit in with the team. At some of the top 25 schools you may be 4th or 5th deep on the depth chart and have to work your way up to see playing time. At smaller schools, you may be 2nd string or game ready immediately. Your play at practice determines how quickly you move up the depth chart. Frankly, it's not that difficult to rise through the ranks, especially if you're a player on offense. Score a couple touchdowns in practice and it won't be long before you're starting. Defense is much tougher because it's harder to stand out. Choose your prospective school with this in mind.
  • The "Legend Meter" tracks your progress throughout your career. One of the 360 achievements is to completely fill the meter. A variety of accomplishments affect the meter, including defeating a rival, winning a championship, remaining at school for your senior year instead of going pro, popularity, and winning the Heisman trophy or other awards.

Tip: Standard gameplay tips are certainly relevant during campus legend games. As a receiver, use the catch button to better grab the ball. Monitor your player motivation status as well as the motivation of player's around you (for instance, offensive linemen if you're a running back—who's blocking in the zone?). As a running back or receiver, follow play design. A running back can catch a lot of passes by scampering into the flat and calling for the ball. Know your player's abilities and best special moves for avoiding (and plowing through) would-be tacklers downfield).

  • Remember controlling your campus legend is up to you! If you're a receiver, you will be responsible for running routes, getting open (press the "A" on 360 to call for the ball), and evading defenders to the end zone. But you will also be responsible for making blocks to help out the running game. On defense you must be aware of your assignment—are you in man coverage or responsible for a zone? Use strafe to backpedal as a cover corner. This is one of the most challenging positions in Campus Legend. Try baiting the opposing quarterback into throwing your way…just be ready to make the pick!
  • In Campus Legend, you have no control over play-calling. You may believe the situation calls for a run but the coach has sent out a passing play. Infuriatingly, the coach has sent out that same passing play that hasn't worked yet! Furthermore, unless you're the quarterback you have no control over clock management or, unfortunately, how poor your signal caller plays the game. And if you're a Campus Legend on offense, you'll have to sit back and watch your defense get shredded and waste a big lead in the fourth quarter. Or your kicker misses a chip shot to tie the game! You have no control over these things, just as you would if you were a real player. It can be both exciting and frustrating.

Chapter 6 - Mini-Games and Xbox 360 Achievements

NCAA Football 08 features another round of mini-games and Xbox 360 achievements, though none differ significantly from last year's version. This section provides tips on playing Tug-of-War, Bowling, and Option Dash (and how to unlock the corresponding achievement in the Xbox 360 version) as well as the complete list of Xbox 360 achievements and tricks on gaining them.

Mini-Games

The three mini-games from last season's game return and the rules and strategies are essentially the same. This section covers these mini-games again and provides some tips on scoring big and unlocking corresponding Xbox 360 achievements. The most important tip to consider is to tilt the mini-game in your favor through team selection. Unless you specifically want a challenge, choose a top NCAA team to control while selecting one of the not-so-top teams for the computer.

Bowling is arguably the most challenging game, particularly regarding the achievement—which requires a perfect 300 score, scoring 12 straight touchdowns from the 10-yard line. Your team starts at the opponent's 10-yard line. Gain a touchdown on the first play and you score a strike; score in two plays and it's a spare. It scores just like real bowling; strikes carry over points from the next two plays and spares carry over points from the next play. Yards gained count as points; loss of yardage, incompletes, and turnovers count as gutter balls—zero points.

You can increase or decrease mini-game challenge through team selection. The D+ defense of UL Monroe will decrease the challenge.

You can firmly place the bowling odds in your favor through team selection. Many different strategies will work and can depend on your skills at particular plays. If you're skilled at rushing the ball, consider Arkansas and use the best running back in the game (HB #5) to plow through and spin around tacklers. If you're skilled at passing plays, consider USC, Michigan, Florida, Louisville, or other teams with top quarterbacks and varied playbooks. And if you're skilled at option plays, consider West Virginia—the fastest quarterback and running back combination in the game. And of course, set the computer up with a poor defensive team, such as UL Monroe Warhawks (sorry to pick on you UL Monroe, but your defense is rated D+).

Want to make the perfect game even easier? Choose "Freshman" difficulty and make adjustments to the "Game AI" sliders. Move all of the CPU defensive sliders to zero and adjust all of the User sliders on offense to 100. It shouldn't take long before you've bowled the perfect game. Your secret is safe and your achievement is unlocked for the world to see.

Option Dash is all about the option play. You score points with every yard gained and every touchdown scored. However, the real points arrive through the multiplier (for instance, a 5x multiplier scores 5x the points for each yard gained or touchdown scored). Increase the multiplier through special moves, such as a pitch, fake pitch, juke, spin move, hurdle, stiff arm, or break tackle.

Tip: Like Tug-of-War and Bowling, Option Dash allows you to select your offense and the computer's defense. Choose a great option team, such as West Virginia, and select a bad defense for the computer. Another important Option Dash strategy is if you're about to be tackled near the sideline, run out of bounds. This stops the clock, which is far more important than the extra four or five yards you may have gained on the run.

Therefore it's important to perform as many special moves as possible, especially during long runs. Start with a fake pitch then a real pitch when your quarterback is almost tackled. When you're in the open field, do a fake pitch, a juke, hurdle, and a spin move. Perform a second fake pitch and another juke. Continue to string moves together as much as possible.

Because touchdowns gain so many points, capitalize on long yardage and big multipliers by scoring a touchdown at the end of the run. You will waste a lot of points if you're tackled at the two-yard line. Don't waste a huge multiplier without reaching the end zone! Your two-yard touchdown on the next play just won't produce the same amount of score.

Xbox 360 Achievements

NCAA Football 08 Xbox 360 achievements are almost identical to last year's version with a few new additions. You can unlock many of these through normal games as you battle in Play Now or Dynasty Mode but if you are extremely eager to elevate your gamerscore now, there are faster ways to rattle through NCAA 08's achievements.

The table below reveals all NCAA Football 08 Xbox 360 achievements, their descriptions, and associated gamer points.

NAMEDESCRIPTIONGAMER POINTS
Throw 4 TD Passes in a GameThrow four touchdown passes in a Play Now or Dynasty Mode game.15
350 Total Passing YardsPass for 350 or more total yards in a Play Now or Dynasty Mode game.15
200 Total Rushing YardsRush for 200 or more total yards in a Play Now or Dynasty Mode game.15
Player Passing Record in a GameBreak the game record for passing yard with one player (716) in a Play Now or Dynasty Mode game.25
No Interceptions in a GameDo not throw any interceptions in a Play Now or Dynasty Mode game.15
Win by 21Win a Play Now or Dynasty Mode game by 21 points or more.10
Pass to 5 Different ReceiversComplete a pass to 5 or more receivers in a Play Now or Dynasty Mode game.10
100 Yard ReceiverGain 100 or more receiving yards with a single player in a Play Now or Dynasty Mode game.10
100 Yard RusherGain 100 or more rushing yards with a single player in a Play Now or Dynasty Mode game.10
Complete a 30 Yard PassComplete a pass for 30 or more yards in a Play Now or Dynasty Mode game.10
Complete a 60 Yard PassComplete a pass for 60 or more yards in a Play Now or Dynasty Mode game.20
Break a 30 Yard RunBreak a run for 30 or more yards in a Play Now or Dynasty Mode game.10
Break a 60 Yard RunBreak a run for 60 or more yards in a Play Now or Dynasty Mode game.20
Allow No SacksDo not give up any sacks in a Play Now or Dynasty Mode game.15
Score 35 Points.Score 35 points or more in a Play Now or Dynasty Mode game.15
Player Rushing Record in a Game.Break the game record for rushing yards with one player (406) in a Play Now or Dynasty Mode game.25
Intercept 2 PassesIntercept 2 passes in a Play Now or Dynasty Mode game.15
Player Interception RecordBreak the game record for interceptions with one player (5) in a Play Now or Dynasty Mode game.25
Return Interception for a TDReturn an interception for a touchdown on defense in a Play Now or Dynasty Mode game.20
Return Fumble for TDScore a touchdown after recovering a fumble on defense in a Play Now or Dynasty Mode game.20
Make 4 SacksSack the opposing quarterback 4 or more times in a Play Now or Dynasty Mode game.20
Held Under 200 YardsHold the opposition to under 200 total yards in a Play Now or Dynasty Mode game.10
Held Under 100 YardsHold the opposition to under 100 total yards in a Play Now or Dynasty Mode game.25
2 Sack PlayerMake 2 sacks in a Play Now or Dynasty Mode game with the same player.10
Score a SafetyScore a safety on defense in a Play Now or Dynasty Mode game.30
ShutoutPrevent your opponent from scoring any points in a Play Now or Dynasty Mode game.30
Punt Return for a TDReturn a punt for a touchdown in a Play Now or Dynasty Mode game.15
Kickoff Return for TDReturn a kickoff for a touchdown in a Play Now or Dynasty Mode game.20
50 Yard Field GoalKick a 50 or more yard field goal in a Play Now or Dynasty Mode game.25
50 Yard PuntPunt the ball 50 or more net yards in a Play Now or Dynasty Mode game.15
Block a PuntBlock a punt in a Play Now or Dynasty Mode game.25
Block a Field GoalBlock a field goal in a Play Now or Dynasty Mode game.25
Ranked GamePlay a ranked game.10
BCS Conference InviteGet an invite to a BCS conference in single team Dynasty Mode.25
Make a Promise to a ProspectMake a promise to a prospect in single team Dynasty Mode.10
Conference Champs!Win a conference championship game in single team Dynasty Mode or Campus Legend Mode.10
Heisman Memorial TrophyWin the Heisman Memorial Trophy in single team Dynasty Mode or Campus Legend Mode.25
Bowl WinWin a bowl game in single team Dynasty Mode or Campus Legend Mode.10
National Champions!Lead your team to a BCS championship in single team Dynasty Mode or Campus Legend Mode.30
Develop New Pipeline StateDevelop a new pipeline state in single team Dynasty Mode.25
Mr. FebruaryHave the #1 ranked recruiting class in a season in single team Dynasty Mode.30
1-Star into 6-StarTurn a 1-star prestige school into a 6-star prestige school in single team Dynasty Mode.50
Perfect GameBowl a 300 game in a single player Bowling mini-game.30
High Score - Option DashScore 15,000 or more points in Option Dash.30
Win Tug-of-WarWin the Tug-of-War mini-game.30
5-Star Legend ProspectCreate a 5-star legend prospect.20
Fill Up Legend MeterCompletely fill up the legend meter.30
Old Spice Red Zone PerfectionComplete a Play Now or Dynasty Mode game with a Red Zone Efficiency rating of 100%.15
Old Spice Red Zone ShutoutComplete a Play Now or Dynasty Mode game without giving up a touchdown while in the Red Zone.20
Pontiac 4th Quarter ComebackWin a Play Now or Dynasty Mode game when down by 14 to start the 4th qtr. (Min Difficulty: Varsity)30

The tips below provide some extra "assistance" in unlocking NCAA Football 08 achievements. While most of the achievements can be gained through normal Play Now or Dynasty Mode play, what would be the fun in that? Brag about your rockin' gamerscore after using the tips below!

  • Tilt things in your favor by selecting appropriate competition. If your goal is to blast through achievements as quickly as possible, then select inferior competition. Trying to unlock offense achievements? Then battle a team with a terrible defense, such as the UL Monroe Warhawks (no offense to any Warhawk alumni readers). None of your friends have to know that you select USC and you set the computer up with a D+ rated defensive team—but you can still gloat about breaking the single game passing record and unlocking the achievement!
  • In general, turnovers occur with greater frequency during inclement weather. If you want a slight advantage in gaining the Intercept 2 Passes and the interception and fumble touchdown return achievements then adjust the weather before the game and pump up precipitation to the maximum. For the fumble return, it doesn't have to start as a fumble return. You could intercept a pass then pitch it—essentially fumbling it when it hits the ground—and pick it back up and continue to the touchdown. Not necessarily easier but it works!
  • A new achievement, the single game interception record (5 by a single player) is a tough one; use the same strategy but control the same member of your team's secondary for the entire game to increase the chance of user picks with the same defender. It's also wise to choose a team with an excellent secondary and a computer opponent with an atrocious offense.
  • There are two achievements for holding your opponent to under a specific amount of total yards (200 and 100). The most important element to remember here is that it's total yards, not just passing and rushing yards. If you score a ton of points, you are going to kick off frequently giving your opponent an easy 20+ return yards with each boot. An easy way to unlock these achievements is to turn off the "Offside" penalty and use a defender to sack the opposing quarterback every down. If you choose to score points, kick the ball out of bounds. And don't punt. If you do punt, kick it out of bounds.

Tip: Reducing the Offside slider to zero may prevent referees for throwing a yellow flag when you're standing over the line of scrimmage but you can still be called for Encroachment. This happens when your defender touches one of the offensive players. When using the "Offside trick" to try and gain achievements, don't nudge one of the offensive players or the ref will still throw the penalty flag.

  • Speaking of the "Offside" penalty, adjusting that slider to zero (in the Game Rules menu) makes many other achievements a breeze. Making 4 Sacks and 2 Sack Player are both ridiculously simple (albeit a tad unrewarding, of course) when you can just line up your defender next to the quarterback as he snaps the ball. Scoring a Safety is also a breeze—the only hard part is getting your opponent on the one or two yard line. To do this, run your offense as normal but stop short of the goal line. Waste downs either spiking the ball or kneeling. Your opponent will take over on offense at the goal line. Move your defender into position (next to the opposing quarterback!) and make the tackle!
  • There are a bunch of achievements dedicated to offensive exploits, such as a 100 yard rusher or receiver or a 350 yard passer. Team selection is obviously important here. Select a skilled passing team when going for the aerial achievements and a skilled running team when trying to unlock the rushing attack achievements. And of course select UL Monroe Warhawks (sorry again Warhawk fans) as the unfortunate team to defend your offensive onslaught. Become one-dimensional (a bad thing when playing a "real" game but essential here) and focus your offense on a singular goal—achievement unlocked!
  • Two new achievements for NCAA 08 include breaking the single game passing yardage and rushing yardage records. This is high yardage by "normal" game standards but if you use the above tip (select great offense, play against bad defense, focus play-calling) and concentrate all passing or rushing yardage on a single player (same quarterback and same running back for their respective achievements) it shouldn't take long before you have crushed the record books.

So, it is cheating…but if you want to unlock achievements quickly, removing the Offside penalty is a good way to start.

  • Block a punt of field goal using the "No Offside" slider trick. To gain the achievement, you must block the ball after the punter or kicker strikes it (you can't simply strike the ball while in its flight or tackle the punter). Even with the Offside trick, it's not a completely simple matter. As the opposing special team unit prepares the snap, maneuver your defender to close to the punter or kicker. Just as the ball leaves the foot, stand in front and press the "Y" button to jump up.
  • Other new achievements include the—ahem—sponsored achievements. Two are associated with the red zone (the goal line to the 20-yard line). In one you must have 100% perfection (scoring TDs) for each time you enter the red zone; in the other you must prevent your opponent from scoring TDs while in the red zone. Both are straight forward and can be accomplished during normal play or using some of the tricks listed in this section (the Offside trick can certainly put a stop to any opponent's drive in the red zone!).

Tip: One of the new, and perhaps most interesting, achievements is turning a 1-star prestige school into a 6-star prestige school. There are plenty of 1-star teams but the most skilled are arguably Western Michigan and Troy. You can gain one star for each season; gain prestige through big wins, conference titles, bowl invites, and of course national titles. Help the cause by using custom schedules to battle a few top 25 teams. Nothing builds prestige than taking down one of the best team's in the country!

  • The other sponsored achievement deals with the 4th quarter comeback. This is another achievement that will likely be gained through normal play but can be easily staged as well. Choose a great team for yourself and give the computer opponent a terrible team. Allow your opponent to go up by at least 14 before the start of the 4th quarter. Now you must simply put your skills to the test (playing as an A+ team versus a C team will certainly sway things in your favor). You really have no excuses if you're playing against UL Monroe, right? (Sorry again Warhawks)

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