NCAA Football 2005 Walkthrough

College gridiron season is upon us, and we've got a guide that'll help even pigskin novices dissect the stingiest defenses or shut down the most explosive offenses. Check out our NCAA Football 2005 walkthrough for tips on the top 25 teams and general strategies.

By Doug Radcliffe
Design by Marty Smith

EA Sports brings one of the most exciting elements of college football to NCAA Football 2005: home field advantage. Get the crowd on your side with stadium pulse, disrupt the visiting squad’s audibles, and rattle their big stars. This NCAA Football 2005 game guide offers team breakdowns, offensive and defensive guides, and online strategies for PlayStation 2 and Xbox Live.

This GameSpot NCAA Football 2005 game guide includes:

  • Team Stats: Look here for stats for all I-A, I-AA, and historic teams. Also includes a rundown of the 25 toughest places to play!
  • The Top 25: This section offers analysis and key player statistics for the top 25 teams in NCAA Football 2005.
  • Dynasty Mode: Check this section for tips on recruiting in dynasty mode.
  • Offensive Gameplan: This section provides tips for running effective pass, run, and option plays. Includes tips on the new match-up stick, home field advantage, and compiles the best offensive players in the game.
  • Defensive Gameplan: Manage a strong defense with these tips on formations, match-ups, and player control.
  • Online Strategies: Conquer the competition online with these strategies specific to PlayStation 2 and Xbox Live play.
  • Cheat Codes: This section reveals NCAA Football 2005 pennant cheat codes.

Chapter 1 - Team Stats

The following chart reveals the overall, offense, defense, special teams, and prestige ratings for all 119 I-A college football teams. These ratings were gathered from a fresh Dynasty.

PRESEASON RANKTEAMCONFERENCEOVERALLOFFENSEDEFENSESPECIAL TEAMSTEAM PRESTIGE
#1USC TrojansPac-10AA-A+A+6 stars
#2Oklahoma SoonersBig 12 SouthA+A+A+A6 stars
#3LSU TigersSEC WestA-A-A-B+6 stars
#4Georgia BulldogsSEC EastB+A-A-C+6 stars
#5Miami HurricanesACCA-A-A-B6 stars
#6Florida State SeminolesACCA-AA-B+6 stars
#7Texas LonghornsBig 12 SouthA-A-A-A-6 stars
#8Ohio State BuckeyesBig TenA-A-AA6 stars
#9Michigan WolverinesBig TenB+A-A-B+6 stars
#10Florida GatorsSEC EastB+A-BA-6 stars
#11Tennessee VolunteersSEC EastB+A-B+A-6 stars
#12Auburn TigersSEC WestBB+B+B-5 stars
#13Virginia CavaliersACCB+A-B+B+4 stars
#14Kansas State WildcatsBig 12 NorthBB+BB4 stars
#15Clemson TigersACCB-BBB-4 stars
#16Iowa HawkeyesBig TenB+B+A-B+5 stars
#17Nebraska CornhuskersBig 12 NorthB+B+A-B+5 stars
#18Louisville CardinalsC-USABBB-C+3 stars
#19West Virginia MountaineersBig EastB+A-B+B4 stars
#20North Carolina WolfpackACCA-A-AB5 stars
#21Minnesota Golden GophersBig TenB+A-BB+4 stars
#22Wisconsin BadgersBig TenBA-BB4 stars
#23Cal Golden BearsPac-10BA-BC4 stars
#24Maryland TerrapinsACCB+B+B+A4 stars
#25Utah UtesMountain WestBBBB-3 stars
#26Purdue BoilermakersBig TenBB+B-B+4 stars
#27Virginia Tech HokiesACCB+B+A-B5 stars
#28Missouri TigersBig 12 NorthB+B+B+B3 stars
#29South Carolina GamecocksSEC EastB+B+B+B4 stars
#30TCU Horned FrogsC-USABB+B-C+3 stars
#31Southern Miss Golden EaglesC-USAB+B+B+B+3 stars
#32Oregon DucksPac-10B+B+BB+5 stars
#33Toledo RocketsMAC WestBA-B-B3 stars
#34Oklahoma State CowboysBig 12 SouthBB+BB3 stars
#35Georgia Tech Yellow JacketsACCBBBC4 stars
#36Oregon State BeaversPac-10B+B+B+B-4 stars
#37Alabama Crimson TideSEC WestBBB+C+5 stars
#38Notre Dame Fighting Irish1A IndependentsB+B+B+B+6 stars
#39Miami (OH) RedHawksMAC EastC+B-C+B-2 stars
#40Boston College EaglesBig EastBBB+B3 stars
#41Michigan State SpartansBig TenBBBB4 stars
#42Arizona State Sun DevilsPac-10BB+B+B-4 stars
#43Washington State CougarsPac-10BBBB-4 stars
#44Texas A&M AggiesBig 12 SouthB+B+BB+5 stars
#45Wake Forest Demon DeaconsACCBB+BB3 stars
#46Penn State Nittany LionsBig TenB+B+B+B+5 stars
#47Memphis TigersC-USAB-B+C+C+3 stars
#48Colorado BuffaloesBig 12 NorthBBB+B-4 stars
#49Texas Tech Red RaidersBig 12 SouthBBB-B3 stars
#50UCLA BruinsPac-10B+B+BA-4 stars
#51Ole Miss RebelsSEC WestB+B+BA3 stars
#52Boise State BroncosWACB+B+BB+3 stars
#53Syracuse OrangemenBig EastBBB-B4 stars
#54San Diego State AztecsMountain WestC+B-BD+2 stars
#55Bowling Green FalconsMAC WestBBBB2 stars
#56Hawaii WarriorsWACBBBB+3 stars
#57New Mexico LobosMountain WestB-B-C+B2 stars
#58Washington HuskiesPac-10BBB+B5 stars
#59Marshall Thundering HerdMAC EastBB+BC-3 stars
#60Fresno State BulldogsWACB+B+BB+3 stars
#61Arkansas RazorbacksSEC WestBBBB3 stars
#62UConn HuskiesBig EastC+BB-C-2 stars
#63Pittsburgh PanthersBig EastBB+B+B4 stars
#64Cincinnati BearcatsC-USABB+B+B2 stars
#65Houston CougarsC-USABB+B-C+2 stars
#66North Carolina Tar HeelsACCB-BB-C+3 stars
#67Northern Illinois HuskiesMAC WestBB+BB-2 stars
#68UNLV RebelsMountain WestB-BBC+2 stars
#69Kansas JayhawksBig 12 NorthB-BB-C+2 stars
#70Arizona WildcatsPac-10BB+BB-3 stars
#71Kentucky WildcatsSEC EastB-B-B-C+3 stars
#72Vanderbilt CommodoresSEC EastCB-CC+2 stars
#73Stanford CardinalPac-10BBB+B3 stars
#74Illinois Fighting IlliniBig TenB-BB-C+3 stars
#75Colorado State RamsMountain WestB-BC+B+3 stars
#76Tulsa Golden HurricaneWACB-BB-C2 stars
#77Indiana HoosiersBig TenB-BC+B-2 stars
#78Northwestern WildcatsBig TenBBB+B+3 stars
#79Mississippi State BulldogsSEC WestBBB+B-3 stars
#80North Texas Mean GreenSun BeltBB+BB-1 star
#81Akron ZipsMAC EastB-BB-B-2 stars
#82Iowa State CyclonesBig 12 NorthBBBA-3 stars
#83Rutgers Scarlet KnightsBig EastB-B-B-B-2 stars
#84UAB BlazersC-USAC+B-B-C+2 stars
#85BYU CougarsMountain WestB-B-B-B3 stars
#86Nevada Wolf PackWACBB+BB+2 stars
#87USF BullsC-USAB-B-B-B2 stars
#88Navy Midshipmen1A IndependentsC-C-C-C1 star
#89Air Force FalconsMountain WestCC+CC2 stars
#90UCF Golden KnightsMAC EastB-B-C+B+2 stars
#91Western Michigan BroncosMAC WestBBBB+2 stars
#92UTEP MinersWACC-C-C-C+1 star
#93Rice OwlsWACDDDC+1 star
#94Duke Blue DevilsACCD+CD+C2 stars
#95Wyoming CowboysMountain WestC+B-C+B-2 stars
#96Troy State TrojansSun BeltB-B-B-C1 star
#97Louisiana Tech BulldogsWACBBBC+2 stars
#98Tulane Green WaveC-USAB-B-B-B-2 stars
#99Utah State AggiesSun BeltC+B-C+C+1 star
#100Kent State Golden FlashesMAC EastB-BB-B1 star
#101New Mexico State AggiesSun BeltC+B-B-C+1 star
#102ECU PiratesC-USAB-BB-B+2 stars
#103Baylor BearsBig 12 SouthB-B-B-B2 stars
#104Ball State CardinalsMAC WestC+B-C+C+1 star
#105Mid Tenn State Blue RaidersSun BeltB-BB-B1 star
#106Temple OwlsBig EastB-B-BB-2 stars
#107Central Michigan ChippewasMAC WestCC+CC1 star
#108San Jose State SpartansWACC-D+CC-1 star
#109Eastern Michigan EaglesMAC WestCC+D+B1 star
#110Arkansas State Indians Sun BeltC+C+C+C+1 star
#111Ohio BobcatsMAC EastD+C-D+D1 star
#112UL Monroe IndiansSun BeltB-BB-C+1 star
#113Army Black KnightsC-USACC+C+C+1 star
#114UL Lafayette Ragin’ CajunsSun BeltCCCC+1 star
#115Idaho VandalsSun BeltC-C-CC+1 star
#116SMU MustangsWACCCCC2 stars
#117Buffalo BullsMAC EastB-BBB-1 star
#118Florida Atlantic Owls1A IndependentsD+C-D+C-1 star
#119FIU Golden Panthers1A IndependentsD+D+D+C-1 star

These are the team stats for the division I-AA teams, which can be added to your Dynasty mode (they must replace one of the 117 teams listed in the previous table). If you’re up for a challenge, these are definitely the teams to pick! Low ratings and just 1 star prestige (which means recruiting will be very tough).

TEAMCONFERENCEOVERALLOFFENSEDEFENSESPECIAL TEAMSTEAM PRESTIGE
Alabama A&M BulldogsSWACD-D-D-D1 star
Alabama State HornetsSWACD-D-D-D1 star
Alcorn State BravesSWACD-D+D-D-1 star
Appalachian State MountaineersSouthernDD+D-D+1 star
Ark Pine-Bluff Golden LionsSWACD-DDD+1 star
Bethune-Cookman WildcatsMEACD-DD-D-1 star
Brown BearsIvy LeagueD-D-D-D-1 star
Chattanooga MocsSouthernD-DD-C1 star
Columbia LionsIvy LeagueD-D-D-D1 star
Cornell Big RedIvy LeagueD-D-D-D-1 star
Dartmouth Big GreenIvy LeagueD-D-DD-1 star
Delaware Blue HensAtlantic 10DD+DD1 star
Delaware State HornetsMEACD-D-D-D-1 star
E Washington EaglesBig SkyD-D-D-C-1 star
Eastern Illinois PanthersOhio ValleyDD+DC-1 star
Eastern Kentucky ColonelsOhio ValleyC-C-C-C1 star
Elon PhoenixSouthernD-D-DD1 star
Florida A&M RattlersMEACD-DD-D+1 star
Furman PaladinsSouthernDC-DC-1 star
Georgia Southern EaglesSouthernD+C-D+C1 star
Grambling State TigersSWACD-D-D-D+1 star
Hampton PiratesMEACD-D-D-D1 star
Harvard CrimsonIvy LeagueD-D-DD1 star
Hofstra PrideAtlantic 10D-D-D-D-1 star
Howard BisonMEACD-D-D-D-1 star
Idaho State BengalsBig SkyD-DD-D+1 star
Illinois State RedbirdsGatewayD-DD-D+1 star
Indiana State SycamoresGatewayD-D-D-D1 star
Jackson State TigersSWACD-DD-D-1 star
Jacksonville State GamecocksOhio ValleyC-C-CC-1 star
James Madison DukesAtlantic 10D-DD-D+1 star
Maine Black BearsAtlantic 10D-DD-D1 star
McNeese State CowboysSouthlandD+C-C-C1 star
Miss Valley State Delta DevilsSWACD-D-D-D-1 star
Montana GrizzliesBig SkyD+C-DC-1 star
Montana State BobcatsBig SkyD-D-D-D1 star
Morgan State BearsMEACD-D-D-D-1 star
Murray State RacersOhio ValleyD+C-C-C1 star
N Carolina A&T State AggiesMEACD-D-D-D-1 star
New Hampshire WildcatsAtlantic 10D-D-D-D1 star
Nicholls State ColonelsSouthlandD+D+D+C1 star
Norfolk State SpartansMEACD-D-D-D-1 star
Northeastern HuskiesAtlantic 10DDDC-1 star
Northern Arizona LumberjacksBig SkyD-D+D-D1 star
Northwestern St. DemonsSouthlandD+C-D+C-1 star
Penn QuakersIvy LeagueD-DD-D+1 star
Portland State VikingsBig SkyD-D+DD-1 star
Prairie View A&M PanthersSWACD-D-D-D-1 star
Princeton TigersIvy LeagueD-D-D-D1 star
Rhode Island RamsAtlantic 10D-DD-C-1 star
Richmond SpidersAtlantic 10DD+DD1 star
S Carolina State BulldogsMEACD-D-D-D-1 star
Sacramento State HornetsBig SkyDD+DD1 star
Sam Houston St. BearkatsSouthlandD+D+D+C-1 star
Samford BulldogsOhio ValleyD+CC-C1 star
SE Missouri State IndiansOhio ValleyD+C-C-C1 star
Southern Illinois SalukisGatewayDD+DC-1 star
Southern JaguarsSWACD-D-D-D-1 star
Stephen F. Austin LumberjacksSouthlandD+D+D+C-1 star
SW Missouri St. BearsGatewayD-DD-D-1 star
Tennessee State TigersOhio ValleyC-CC-C+1 star
Tennessee Tech Golden EaglesOhio ValleyC-C-C-C1 star
Tennessee-Martin SkyhawksOhio ValleyC-C-C-C+1 star
Texas Southern TigersSWACD-D-D-C-1 star
Texas State BobcatsSouthlandD+D+D+C-1 star
The Citadel BulldogsSouthernDD+D-C1 star
Towson TigersAtlantic 10C-CC-C1 star
UMass MinutemenAtlantic 10DD+D-D+1 star
UNI PanthersGatewayDDD+D+1 star
Villanova WildcatsAtlantic 10D-D-D-D-1 star
Weber State WildcatsBig SkyD-D-D-D-1 star
Western Carolina CatamountsSouthernC-C+C-C-1 star
Western Illinois LeathernecksGatewayD-DD-D1 star
Western Kentucky HilltoppersGatewayDD+D-C-1 star
William and Mary TribeAtlantic 10D+D+DC1 star
Wofford TerriersSouthernD-DD-D1 star
Yale BulldogsIvy LeagueDD+DC-1 star
Youngstown State PenguinsGatewayDC-D-C-1 star

Historic Teams

The table below reveals ratings for each default historic team available in NCAA Football 2005.

TEAMOVERALLOFFENSEDEFENSESPECIAL TEAMS
1961 Alabama Crimson TideBBBB-
1978 Alabama Crimson TideBBBB+
1979 Alabama Crimson TideBB+B+B
1992 Alabama Crimson TideB+B+B+B+
1996 Arizona State Sun DevilsB+B+B+A-
1944 Army Black KnightsB-B-B-B
1945 Army Black KnightsB-BB-B
1946 Army Black KnightsBB+B-B
1984 BYU CougarsBA-BB-
1981 Clemson TigersB+B+B+B+
1990 Colorado BuffalosBB+B+B-
1996 Florida GatorsB+A-B+B
1993 Florida State SeminolesBBB+C+
1999 Florida State SeminolesB+B+B+B+
1980 Georgia BulldogsB+A-B+B
1990 Georgia Tech Yellow JacketsB+B+B+B
1958 LSU TigersB-BB-B
2003 LSU TigersB-BBC-
1983 Miami HurricanesBB+BB-
1987 Miami HurricanesB+A-B+B
1989 Miami HurricanesA-A-A-A-
1991 Miami HurricanesB+A-B+B+
2001 Miami HurricanesB+A-B+B+
1947 Michigan WolverinesB-B-B-B+
1948 Michigan WolverinesB-B-B-B
1997 Michigan WolverinesA-B+B+A-
1952 Michigan State SpartansC+B-C+B-
1966 Michigan State SpartansB-B-B-B-
1934 Minnesota Golden GophersBBB-B+
1941 Minnesota Golden GophersB-B-B-B
1970 Nebraska CornhuskersB-BB-B-
1971 Nebraska CornhuskersBB+BB-
1994 Nebraska CornhuskersBBB+B-
1995 Nebraska CornhuskersB+B+B+B
1997 Nebraska CornhuskersB+A-B+B
1924 Notre Dame Fighting IrishBBB-B+
1930 Notre Dame Fighting IrishB-BB-B
1946 Notre Dame Fighting IrishB-BB-B+
1947 Notre Dame Fighting IrishBBB-B+
1949 Notre Dame Fighting IrishB-B-B-B
1966 Notre Dame Fighting IrishBBBB-
1973 Notre Dame Fighting IrishBB+BB-
1977 Notre Dame Fighting IrishBB+BB
1988 Notre Dame Fighting IrishB+A-B+B+
1954 Ohio State BuckeyesBBB-B+
1968 Ohio State BuckeyesB-BB-B-
2002 Ohio State BuckeyesB+BBA
1955 Oklahoma SoonersB-BB-B+
1956 Oklahoma SoonersB-B-B-B-
1974 Oklahoma SoonersBBBB
1975 Oklahoma SoonersBB+BB
1985 Oklahoma SoonersB-BBC+
2000 Oklahoma SoonersA-A-B+A-
1982 Penn State Nittany LionsBBBC
1986 Penn State Nittany LionsB-B-BC+
1994 Penn State Nittany LionsB+B+B+B
1976 Pittsburgh PanthersB+B+B+B-
1959 Syracuse OrangemenBBB-B+
1938 Tennessee VolunteersB-BB-B+
1998 Tennessee VolunteersB+A-A-B-
1963 Texas LonghornsB-B-B-B
1969 Texas LonghornsB-BB-B-
1954 UCLA BruinsB-C+B-B+
1932 USC TrojansB-BB-B
1962 USC TrojansB-B-B-B
1972 USC TrojansBB+BB
2003 USC TrojansBB+BB-
1991 Washington HuskiesB+B+B+B

Toughest Places to Play

The following table reveals the top 25 toughest places to play as part of NCAA Football 2005’s new home field advantage feature.

RANKSTADIUMTEAMLOCATIONNICKNAMEAVERAGE ATTENDANCE
#1Ben Hill Griffin StadiumFlorida GatorsGainesville, FL"The Swamp"90,177
#2Neyland StadiumTennessee VolunteersKnoxville, TNN/A105,038
#3Ohio StadiumOhio BuckeyesColumbus, OH"The Horseshoe"104,870
#4Tiger StadiumLSU TigersBaton Rouge, LA"Death Valley"90,974
#5Autzen StadiumOregon DucksEugene, OR"The Autzen Zoo"57,701
#6Husky StadiumWashington HuskiesSeattle, WAN/A71,906
#7Kyle FieldTexas A&M AggiesCollege Station, TX"12th Man"76,243
#8Camp Randall StadiumWisconsin BadgersMadison, WIN/A78,486
#9Memorial StatdiumNebraska CornhuskersLincoln, NE"Sea of Red"77,754
#10Sanford StadiumGeorgia BulldogsAthens, GA"Between the Hedges"92,058
#11Kinnick StadiumIowa HawkeyesIowa City, IAN/A65,798
#12Michigan StadiumMichigan WolverinesAnn Arbor, MI"The Big House"110,918
#13Lane StadiumVirginia Tech HokiesBlacksburg, VAN/A62,031
#14Doak Campbell StadiumFlorida State SeminolesTallahassee, FLN/A83,149
#15Notre Dame StadiumNotre Dame Fighting IrishNotre Dame, IN"The Golden Dome"80,795
#16Clemson Memorial StadiumClemson TigersClemson, SC"Death Valley"76,079
#17Beaver StadiumPenn State Nittany LionsUniversity Park, PA"Happy Valley"105,629
#18Oklahoma Memorial StadiumOklahoma SoonersNorman, OKN/A83,202
#19Jordan-Hare StadiumAuburn TigersAuburn, AL"The Jungle"85,203
#20Carrier DomeSyracuse OrangemenSyracuse, NY"The Loud House"41,177
#21Bryant-Denny StadiumAlabama Crimson TideTuscaloosa, ALN/A82,388
#22KSU StadiumKansas State WildcatsManhattan, KSN/A47,110
#23Mountaineer FieldWest Virginia MountaineersMorgantown, WVN/A52,205
#24Martin StadiumWashington State CougarsPullman, WAN/A33,331
#25Miami StadiumMiami HurricanesMiami, FLN/A58,135

Chapter 2: The Top 25

This section provides team breakdowns of the top 25 college football teams, as rated by NCAA Football 2005. Each breakdown includes statistics for the key players, 2003 on the field statistics, and analysis.

Each position player is rated in several different categories. The following list reveals the statistic and description. Note that some of the statistics from the game were removed in these tables, namely the tackle and kicking statistics as they don’t apply to these positions.

  • Overall - The overall rating for the player.
  • Speed - How fast the player can run.
  • Strength - The player’s strength, which affects his ability to break tackles.
  • Awareness - A player’s ability to react and adjust.
  • Agility - The player’s agility, enhancing his ability to switch directions.
  • Acceleration - How fast a player reaches full speed. Great for sprinting through open holes in your line.
  • Catch - How well the player can catch. A higher rating means less drops.
  • Carry - How well the player holds onto the football. A higher rating means the less chance of a fumble.
  • Jump - The player’s ability to jump, such as for grabbing high passes.
  • Break Tackles - The player’s ability to break tackles.
  • Throwing Power - How far a player can throw the ball.
  • Throwing Accuracy - How accurate a player throws.
  • Pass Block - How well a player pass blocks.
  • Run Block - How well a player run blocks.
  • Tackle - A player’s ability to tackle.
  • Stamina - The player’s stamina level. The higher the rating, the more the player can be in the game before he becomes fatigued.
  • Injury - The likelihood of an injury. The higher the rating, the less likely a player will get injured.

Also, in the statistics for each team, note that all teams possess Goal Line and Hail Mary offensive formations in their playbooks.

#1 - USC Trojans

2003 record: 12-1 NCAA Football 2004 Preseason Rank: #9 Conference: Pac-10, 7-1 (1st) 2003 Offensive Passing Stats: 291.6 yards per game (13th in nation) 2003 Offensive Rushing Stats: 155.9 yards per game (58th in nation) Offensive Formations: Ace-Normal, Ace-Slot, Ace-Y-Trips, Ace-Bunch, Ace-Spread, I-Form-Normal, Strong-Twins, Strong-Slot, Weak-Normal, Goal Line, Hail Mary 2003 Defensive Passing Stats: 276.2 yards allowed per game (110th in nation) 2003 Defensive Rushing Stats: 60.2 yards allowed per game (1st in nation)

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLTHROWING POWERTHROWING ACCURACYSTAMINJ
QB #11956262925993969085

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLACCCATCHCARRYBREAK TACKLESTAMINJ
HB #59097687297977682829292

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLACCCATCHJUMPBREAK TACKLESTAMINJ
WR #19990709590929999809797

The USC Trojans are ranked #1 in NCAA Football 2005. It doesn’t hurt WR #1 is in the game!

Expect the preseason #1 USC Trojans to make the most spirited run at the national championship, especially in NCAA Football 2005 (as you’ll see in a moment). The Trojans’ offense is led by a Heisman caliber QB; he’s the top-rated pocket passer in the game. Behind him are a solid set of running backs; #5 is the standout but #34 can easily sub in or be used in multiple running back sets. WR #1 possesses explosive stats--even though he might not be on the team this year after trying to sneak into the NFL draft early. Exploit him! He’s powerful on single coverage but if the defenses focus on him, shift to the running game or hit the quality tight-end down the seam. USC is stacked on defense as well with several 90+ players. No doubt hoping to improve on their 110th ranked passing defense.

#2 - Oklahoma Sooners

2003 record: 12-2 NCAA Football 2004 Preseason Rank: #2 Conference: Big 12, 8-0 (1st in South) 2003 Offensive Passing Stats: 292.7 yards per game (12th in nation) 2003 Offensive Rushing Stats: 146.7 yards per game (65th in nation) Offensive Formations: Ace-Normal, I-Form-Normal, I-Form-Twins, Shotgun-Normal, Shotgun-2 Back Slot, Shotgun-Trips, Shotgun-Bunch, Shotgun-Spread, Shotgun-5-Wide, Goal Line, Hail Mary 2003 Defensive Passing Stats: 146.4 yards allowed per game (2nd in nation) 2003 Defensive Rushing Stats: 113.2 yards allowed per game (20th in nation)

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLTHROWING POWERTHROWING ACCURACYSTAMINJ
QB #18955652975689978256

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLACCCATCHJUMPBREAK TACKLESTAMINJ
WR #99594529696979678567684

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLTACKLESTAMINJ
MLB #109484789284909078

The Sooners are looking forward to the new season after a disappointing end to the previous campaign. Nine offensive starters return, including their Heisman trophy winning quarterback and an All-American at wide receiver (WR #9). The Sooners have a capable running back corp but no standout star. #20 will be your primary back and can be used effectively with QB #18 in an option role. Defense always one of Oklahoma’s strengths (top 20 in nation in both pass and rush defense) and this season is no different: Almost every starter is rated above 90. Put the defensive pressure on your opponent and keep scoring low and avoid getting into a high-scoring shootout.

#3 - LSU Tigers

2003 record: 13-1 NCAA Football 2004 Preseason Rank: #16 Conference: SEC, 7-1 (1st in West) 2003 Offensive Passing Stats: 232.6 yards per game (43rd in nation) 2003 Offensive Rushing Stats: 185.7 yards per game (27th in nation) Offensive Formations: Ace-Normal, Ace-Twins, Ace-Slot, Ace-Y-Trips, I-Form-Normal, I-Form-Twins, Shotgun-Normal, Shotgun-Trips, Shotgun-Spread, Goal Line, Hail Mary 2003 Defensive Passing Stats: 185.0 yards allowed per game (18th in nation) 2003 Defensive Rushing Stats: 67.0 yards allowed per game (3rd in nation)

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLTHROWING POWERTHROWING ACCURACYSTAMINJ
QB #12857465787488848890

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLTHROWING POWERTHROWING ACCURACYSTAMINJ
QB #4807665627494808988

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLACCCATCHCARRYBREAK TACKLESTAMINJ
HB #259091687891947488889594

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLTACKLESTAMINJ
LE #849976889274908892

The LSU Tigers have a stellar defensive lineman--he has a 99 overall rating.

A fantastic victory over Oklahoma culminated a 13-1 season and turned the LSU Tigers into one of the teams typically behind Tennessee and Florida in the SEC Championship race to a new perennial leader. The LSU Tigers have some questions at quarterback, certainly revealed in their NCAA Football 2005 statistics. The top two on the depth chart are remarkably close; #12 boasts better accuracy and awareness but #4 features slightly better speed, acceleration, and throwing power. HB #25 leads a solid set of interchangeable running backs. A strong defense (top 20 in pass and rush defense in 2003) will keep the Tigers in most games; LE #84 chose to return for his senior year and is blessed with a 99 rating.

#4 - Georgia Bulldogs

2003 record: 11-3 NCAA Football 2004 Preseason Rank: #8 Conference: SEC, 6-2 (T-1st in East) 2003 Offensive Passing Stats: 245.4 yards per game (37th in nation) 2003 Offensive Rushing Stats: 134.9 yards per game (74th in nation) Offensive Formations: I-Form-Normal, I-Form-Slot, Power I, Shotgun-Split, Shotgun-2 Back Slot, Shotgun-Normal, Shotgun-Trips, Shotgun-Spread, Strong-Normal, Goal Line, Hail Mary 2003 Defensive Passing Stats: 174.5 yards allowed per game (6th in nation) 2003 Defensive Rushing Stats: 102.4 yards allowed per game (13th in nation)

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLTHROWING POWERTHROWING ACCURACYSTAMINJ
QB #14935665955990949490

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLACCTHROWING POWERTHROWING ACCURACYSTAMINJ
QB #387825280828590829485

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLACCCATCHJUMPBREAK TACKLESTAMINJ
WR #829493569590949478569076

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLTACKLESTAMINJ
LE #479976848474899989

The Georgia Bulldogs have emerged as the leading team in the SEC East with both Florida and Tennessee trying to keep up. QB #14 is a Heisman candidate but don’t hesitate to split duties with the elusive QB #3. Use QB #14 as your pocket passer; he lacks speed but boasts excellent accuracy and awareness. QB #3, on the other hand, is your option and running quarterback. Mix it up and keep your opponent off balance. The defensive captain LE #47 decided to remain at school for his senior year and is the Bulldogs’ primary defensive standout. Look to hit the speedy WR #82 on deep patterns to keep defenses on their heels.

#5 - Miami Hurricanes

2003 record: 11-2 NCAA Football 2004 Preseason Rank: #3 Conference: Big East (in 2003), 6-1 (T-1st) 2003 Offensive Passing Stats: 215.1 yards per game (63rd in nation) 2003 Offensive Rushing Stats: 179.9 yards per game (33rd in nation) Offensive Formations: Ace-Big Twins, Ace-Slot, Ace-Y-Trips, Ace-Bunch, I-Form-Normal, Shotgun-Normal, Shotgun-Y-Trips, Shotgun-Spread, Weak-Twins, Goal Line, Hail Mary 2003 Defensive Passing Stats: 143.5 yards allowed per game (1st in nation) 2003 Defensive Rushing Stats: 114.0 yards allowed per game (21st in nation)

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLTHROWING POWERTHROWING ACCURACYSTAMINJ
QB #7855952865688879090

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLACCCATCHCARRYBREAK TACKLESTAMINJ
HB #39092708588926588909474

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLACCCATCHJUMPBREAK TACKLESTAMINJ
TE #849386688478888090688890

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLACCJUMPTACKLESTAMINJ
CB #697926595949592689996

It seems like every year the Miami Hurricanes have a great tight end.

The potential of QB #7 (transferred from the Florida Gators) wasn’t fully realized in the Hurricanes’ tough 2003 season. ‘Cane fans hope he’ll prove himself worthy among the team’s history of great quarterbacks when the team joins the Atlantic Coast Conference for the first time. The Hurricanes look to contend for the ACC title against their longtime rival, the #6 ranked Florida State Seminoles. HB #3 is coming off another knee injury but he’s the highest rated Miami back in the game and offers good speed and break tackle ability. Miami lost most of their defensive starters but CB #6 remains--he’s one of the best cover corners in the game. The ‘Canes have plugged in another solid tight end to take over the role left by two former first-round draft picks. He’s one of the best rated in the game.

#6 - Florida State Seminoles

2003 record: 10-3 NCAA Football 2004 Preseason Rank: #13 Conference: ACC, 7-1 (1st) 2003 Offensive Passing Stats: 269.6 yards per game (25th in nation) 2003 Offensive Rushing Stats: 133.2 yards per game (77th in nation) Offensive Formations: Ace-Normal, Ace-Twins, I-Form-Normal, I-Form-Slot, Shotgun-2 Back Slot, Shotgun-Y-Trips, Shotgun-Trips, Shotgun-Spread, Shotgun-5-Wide, Goal Line, Hail Mary 2003 Defensive Passing Stats: 212.9 yards allowed per game (47th in nation) 2003 Defensive Rushing Stats: 119.4 yards allowed per game (25th in nation)

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLTHROWING POWERTHROWING ACCURACYSTAMINJ
QB #16897062847093869490

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLPASS BLOCKINGRUN BLOCKINGSTAMINJ
LT #70986296975287978495

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLACCCATCHJUMPBREAK TACKLESTAMINJ
WR #19296449292969292449282

The Florida State Seminoles have dominated the Atlantic Coast Conference with titles in 11 out of the last 12 years but now face tougher competition with the conference’s addition of the Miami Hurricanes and Virginia Tech Hokies (plus Boston College next year). Senior QB #16 leads the Seminoles once again; bland statistics reflect his often inconsistent play. Run behind All-American LT #70, who anchors a sturdy offensive line, and toss the rock to the team’s leading receiver, WR #1. The Seminoles employ a wide open offense with many shotgun sets. Run out of the shotgun formations to keep defenses off guard; force your opponent to consider your running a strong possibility when selecting the dime package.

#7 - Texas Longhorns

2003 record: 10-3 NCAA Football 2004 Preseason Rank: #4 Conference: Big 12, 7-1 (2nd in South) 2003 Offensive Passing Stats: 206.6 yards per game (70th in nation) 2003 Offensive Rushing Stats: 232.5 yards per game (8th in nation) Offensive Formations: Ace-Slot, Ace-Y-Trips, I-Form-Normal, I-Form-Twins, Shotgun-Normal, Shotgun-2 Back Slot, Shotgun-Trips, Shotgun-Spread, Strong-Normal, Goal Line, Hail Mary 2003 Defensive Passing Stats: 177.3 yards allowed per game (9th in nation) 2003 Defensive Rushing Stats: 152.5 yards allowed per game (58th in nation)

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLTHROWING POWERTHROWING ACCURACYSTAMINJ
QB #10878759728691849090

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLTHROWING POWERTHROWING ACCURACYSTAMINJ
QB #5866256866287848887

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLACCCATCHCARRYBREAK TACKLESTAMINJ
HB #329490749487916594949490

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLTACKLESTAMINJ
LOLB #119988749587959994

The Longhorns have a strong running back with a high break tackle rating.

The Texas Longhorns haven’t been able to get over the hump in the very tough Big 12 conference. The Longhorns employ a dual-quarterback system, switching out QB #10 and QB #5 to mix up the offense. QB#10 is the faster, more option-oriented quarterback while QB #5 is the pocket passer. Run your offense accordingly and don’t hesitate to switch them out on the fly--just don’t become too predictable! HB #32 is a top running back and potent when combined with QB #10’s option potential. The Longhorns’ defense is strong again; LOLB #11 is the true standout and one of the best in the game. Offenses should look to run away from this tackling menace.

#8 - Ohio State Buckeyes

2003 record: 11-2 NCAA Football 2004 Preseason Rank: #1 Conference: Big Ten, 6-2 (T-2nd) 2003 Offensive Passing Stats: 206.1 yards per game (84th in nation) 2003 Offensive Rushing Stats: 126.1 yards per game (71st in nation) Offensive Formations: Ace-Big Twins, Ace-Y-Trips, Ace-Bunch, I-Form-Normal, I-Form-Twins, Strong-Normal, Strong-Twins, Strong-5-Wide, Weak-Normal, Goal Line, Hail Mary 2003 Defensive Passing Stats: 234.5 yards allowed per game (90th in nation) 2003 Defensive Rushing Stats: 62.3 yards allowed per game (2nd in nation)

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLTHROWING POWERTHROWING ACCURACYSTAMINJ
QB #10828052727889809088

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLTHROWING POWERTHROWING ACCURACYSTAMINJ
QB #12825962766293848887

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLACCCATCHCARRYBREAK TACKLESTAMINJ
FB #389682788478846580808590

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLACCCATCHJUMPBREAK TACKLESTAMINJ
WR #48894488296968988489590

It doesn’t seem like that long since the Ohio State Buckeyes defeated the Miami Hurricanes in one of the greatest national championship games ever. But things change quickly in college football. The Buckeyes lost thirteen starters from last year; however, like all good college football programs, the Buckeyes have plugged holes with capable starters. Don’t hesitate to employ a two-quarterback system. Both QB #10 and QB #12 have similar ratings; QB #10 is your speed guy for rollout passing and running an option game plan. A plentiful set of solid running backs and a standout fullback (used in the Buckeyes’ many Strong formations as well as the I-Form formation) anchors the ground game. Utilize WR #4 as your deep threat to help open holes for your running attack.

#9 - Michigan Wolverines

2003 record: 10-3 NCAA Football 2004 Preseason Rank: #10 Conference: Big Ten, 7-1 (1st) 2003 Offensive Passing Stats: 270.8 yards per game (22nd in nation) 2003 Offensive Rushing Stats: 175.9 yards per game (38th in nation) Offensive Formations: Ace-Twins, Ace-Slot, Ace-Bunch, I-Form-Normal, Pro-Normal, Shotgun-Normal, Shotgun-Spread, Strong-Normal, Weak-Twins, Goal Line, Hail Mary 2003 Defensive Passing Stats: 180.5 yards allowed per game (15th in nation) 2003 Defensive Rushing Stats: 116.5 yards allowed per game (22nd in nation)

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLACCCATCHJUMPBREAK TACKLESTAMINJ
WR #19591629492949694599792

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLPASS BLOCKINGRUN BLOCKINGSTAMINJ
LT #75985295985296959490

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLACCJUMPTACKLESTAMINJ
CB #394926292939495659794

In difference to their Big Ten rivals, the Ohio State Buckeyes, the Michigan Wolverines have 12 returning starters. These starters include a standout receiver WR #1, an excellent lineman LT #75, and a shutdown cornerback CB #3. The Wolverines did lose a fantastic running back to the National Football League. The incumbent starter HB #5 is certainly capable but not far statistically from the Wolverines’ other running backs. Focus the running game behind the stronger left side of the line and look for WR #1 in single coverage in the passing attack.

#10 - Florida Gators

2003 record: 8-5 NCAA Football 2004 Preseason Rank: #19 Conference: SEC, 6-2 (T-1st in East) 2003 Offensive Passing Stats: 245.4 yards per game (36th in nation) 2003 Offensive Rushing Stats: 146.0 yards per game (66th in nation) Offensive Formations: Ace-Normal, Ace-Slot, I-Form-Normal, No Back-Normal, Shotgun-Normal, Shotgun-Y-Trips, Shotgun-Bunch, Shotgun-Spread, Shotgun-5-Wide, Goal Line, Hail Mary 2003 Defensive Passing Stats: 208.9 yards allowed per game (44th in nation) 2003 Defensive Rushing Stats: 158.5 yards allowed per game (65th in nation)

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLTHROWING POWERTHROWING ACCURACYSTAMINJ
QB #12886856806892909492

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLACCCATCHCARRYBREAK TACKLESTAMINJ
HB #48889727688947286898890

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLACCCATCHCARRYBREAK TACKLESTAMINJ
HB #218690747487926880878880

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLPASS BLOCKINGRUN BLOCKINGSTAMINJ
C #68965294885294968085

The Florida Gators have a shotgun-heavy playbook.

Florida Gator fans are a demanding bunch. After years and years of Spurrier success (SEC championships, a national title), consecutive 8 win, 5 loss seasons aren’t cutting it. The Gators blew big chances against both in-state rivals Miami and Florida State last year but were also the only team to defeat the LSU Tigers. QB #12 begins his sophomore season leading the wide-open, shotgun-heavy offensive game plan. Don’t neglect the Gators’ solid backfield, though; HB #4 and HB #21 aren’t national standouts but certainly both worthy of taking the field on every play. Run behind the crushing blocks of center C #68. Establish the ground game to help open the Gators’ passing game, which should feature a lot of dumps to the backs when QB #12 can’t find an open receiver downfield.

#11 - Tennessee Volunteers

2003 record: 10-3 NCAA Football 2004 Preseason Rank: #17 Conference: SEC (T-1st in East) 2003 Offensive Passing Stats: 233.4 yards per game (42nd in nation) 2003 Offensive Rushing Stats: 138.5 yards per game (70th in nation) Offensive Formations: Ace-Big Twins, I-Form-Normal, I-Form-Slot, Shotgun-Normal, Shotgun-Spread, Shotgun-Trips, Strong-Normal, Weak-Normal, Weak-Slot, Goal Line, Hail Mary 2003 Defensive Passing Stats: 186.1 yards allowed per game (20th in nation) 2003 Defensive Rushing Stats: 138.3 yards allowed per game (43rd in nation)

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLOVRCATCHCARRYBREAK TACKLESTAMINJ
HB #219191748888926592889478

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLPASS BLOCKINGRUN BLOCKINGSTAMINJ
LT #77965296955294988480

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLTACKLESTAMINJ
ROLB #119380789280889480

The Volunteers compete in one of the toughest conferences, the SEC, and its toughest division, the east. This year’s squad looks to keep the Florida Gators at bay while overcoming a likely superior Georgia Bulldog team--both games will assuredly be the Volunteers’ most difficult on their schedule. The Volunteers lack a true star at quarterback (there’s no Peyton Manning here) but offer a decent HB #21, depth at wide receiver, and a couple standouts on the offensive line (LT #77) and at linebacker (ROLB #11). Pound out the ground game behind the left side of the line (switch in HB #34 for short yardage situations) and use your quarterback in a short passing game and wait for the deeper opportunities against mismatched defenses.

#12 - Auburn Tigers

2003 record: 8-5 NCAA Football 2004 Preseason Rank: #6 Conference: SEC, 5-3 (T-2nd in West) 2003 Offensive Passing Stats: 192.2 yards per game (83rd in nation) 2003 Offensive Rushing Stats: 184.0 yards per game (29th in nation) Offensive Formations: Ace-Normal, Ace-Big Twins, I-Form-Normal, I-Form-Twins, Shotgun-Normal, Shotgun-Y-Trips, Shotgun-Spread, Shotgun-5-Wide, Weak-Normal, Goal Line, Hail Mary 2003 Defensive Passing Stats: 189.0 yards allowed per game (23rd in nation) 2003 Defensive Rushing Stats: 92.6 yards allowed per game (7th in nation)

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLACCCATCHCARRYBREAK TACKLESTAMINJ
HB #249790729493986893949582

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLACCCATCHCARRYBREAK TACKLESTAMINJ
HB #239294688792947287859292

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLACCJUMPTACKLESTAMINJ
CB #1495926295949494729592

Either Auburn Tiger running back could start on a number of top college teams.

Last year’s Auburn Tigers failed to meet preseason expectations. They were graced with a high preseason ranking but a slow start combined with a tough schedule (started the season against USC) had the Tigers climbing out of an early hole. A good finish and a bowl victory renewed hope for the upcoming season. The Tigers’ have arguably the best one-two running back punch in the game. Work them into the game whenever possible, including subbing in the backup in a fullback role for multiple receiving options out of the backfield or for use in a triple-option offense. CB #14 is the defensive star--a shutdown corner with excellent speed and awareness.

#13 - Virginia Cavaliers

2003 record: 8-5 NCAA Football 2004 Preseason Rank: #18 Conference: ACC, 4-4 (T-4th) 2003 Offensive Passing Stats: 255.7 yards per game (32nd in nation) 2003 Offensive Rushing Stats: 130.2 yards per game (82nd in nation) Offensive Formations: Ace-Big, Ace-Big Twins, Ace-Y-Trips, Ace-Bunch, I-Form-Normal, Shotgun-Ace-Twins, Shotgun-2 Back Slot, Shotgun-Spread, Strong-Normal, Goal Line, Hail Mary 2003 Defensive Passing Stats: 223.0 yards allowed per game (63rd in nation) 2003 Defensive Rushing Stats: 161.7 yards allowed per game (67th in nation)

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLACCCATCHCARRYBREAK TACKLESTAMINJ
HB #339287768887907692929490

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLACCCATCHJUMPBREAK TACKLESTAMINJ
TE #879780728578848885659095

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLPASS BLOCKINGRUN BLOCKINGSTAMINJ
RG #61975297955290968090

The Cavaliers lost their starting quarterback but there’s still plenty of talent around the new starter. Look to establish a strong ground game with HB #33 and behind a decent line, particularly standout RG #61, a top blocker in the new look Atlantic Coast Conference. The Cavs have another weapon on offense: the best rated tight end in the game TE #87. With an established running game, call play-action passes and look for the standout tight end on out patterns or deep down the seam.

#14 - Kansas State Wildcats

2003 record: 11-4 NCAA Football 2004 Preseason Rank: #5 Conference: Big 12, 6-2 (1st in North) 2003 Offensive Passing Stats: 212.4 yards per game (67th in nation) 2003 Offensive Rushing Stats: 228.6 yards per game (9th in nation) Offensive Formations: Ace-Big Twins, Ace-Slot, Ace-Trips, I-Form-Normal, I-Form-Y-Trips, Shotgun-Normal, Shotgun-2 Back Slot, Shotgun-Trips, Shotgun-Y-Trips, Goal Line, Hail Mary 2003 Defensive Passing Stats: 174.6 yards allowed per game (7th in nation) 2003 Defensive Rushing Stats: 108.5 yards allowed per game (17th in nation)

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLACCCATCHCARRYBREAK TACKLESTAMINJ
HB #439796689596977090889795

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLACCJUMPTACKLESTAMINJ
CB #490924892929492529295

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLACCCATCHJUMPBREAK TACKLESTAMINJ
TE #869174768572787672688590

The Wildcats’ Heisman trophy candidate running back has the speed to get outside on an option play.

If you’re playing as the Kansas State Wildcats, you have one goal to shoot for: get the ball into the hands of HB #43, the highest rated running back in the game and nearly the fastest. He’s one of the leading candidates for this year’s Heisman trophy. Mix up your play calling to ensure the best match-ups on defense. Run out of passing formations to prevent opponents from stacking the line. Utilize outside runs to capitalize on HB #43’s speed and toss in an option play here and there as well. A solid running game can open up the play-action pass to TE #86 and the Wildcats’ receiver squad. Expect defenses to try and shutdown HB #43; be prepared to pass out of rush formations to exploit your opponents’ aggressiveness.

#15 - Clemson Tigers

2003 record: 9-4 NCAA Football 2004 Preseason Rank: #42 Conference: ACC, 5-3 (3rd) 2003 Offensive Passing Stats: 283.6 yards per game (16th in nation) 2003 Offensive Rushing Stats: 136.9 yards per game (73rd in nation) Offensive Formations: Ace-Y-Trips, I-Form-Twins, I-Form-Slot, No Back-Normal, Shotgun-Ace, Shotgun-Y-Trips, Shotgun-Bunch, Shotgun-Trips, Shotgun-Spread, Goal Line, Hail Mary 2003 Defensive Passing Stats: 204.5 yards allowed per game (38th in nation) 2003 Defensive Rushing Stats: 131.8 yards allowed per game (35th in nation)

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLTHROWING POWERTHROWING ACCURACYSTAMINJ
QB #6925659925994909594

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLTACKLESTAMINJ
MLB #439485729287929090

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLACCJUMPTACKLESTAMINJ
CB #994935688959591629890

The Clemson Tigers finished last year’s season strong with four straight wins including a convincing bowl victory and hope to contend in the increasingly more competitive Atlantic Coast Conference. QB #6 is the best rated signal caller in the conference and certainly the Tigers’ offensive leader. Defense will likely be this team’s strength. Excellent linebackers (specifically MLB #43) and an experienced secondary (particularly CB #9) can keep opposing offenses out of scoring range. Be prepared to run a wide open offense (the head coach is a Bowden after all) with the Tigers’ plentiful shotgun sets.

#16 - Iowa Hawkeyes

2003 record: 10-3 NCAA Football 2004 Preseason Rank: #33 Conference: Big Ten, 5-3 (T-4th) 2003 Offensive Passing Stats: 161.2 yards per game (104th in nation) 2003 Offensive Rushing Stats: 172.9 yards per game (39th in nation) Offensive Formations: Ace-Normal, Ace-Big Twins, Ace-Twins, Ace-Y-Trips, I-Form-Normal, I-Form-Twins, Shotgun-Y-Trips, Shotgun-Spread, Strong-Normal, Goal Line, Hail Mary 2003 Defensive Passing Stats: 221.9 yards allowed per game (61st in nation) 2003 Defensive Rushing Stats: 92.7 yards allowed per game (8th in nation)

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLPASS BLOCKINGRUN BLOCKINGSTAMINJ
RT #69924496944889957680

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLTACKLESTAMINJ
LE #319574849272878894

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLTACKLESTAMINJ
MLB #529386788885929290
The Hawkeyes lost one of the best offensive linemen in college history to the NFL draft but still have a solid line to support their Ace, I-Form, and Strong running sets. With no true offensive standout, mix up your play calls to maximize match-ups and concentrate on steady ball movement and clock management. Defense is likely the Hawkeyes’ strength with seven returning starters. LE #31 is a pass rushing specialist with strong outside speed to chase down sweeps and disrupt option plays (if you’re up against Iowa, best avoid the outside). Iowa’s rush defense is strong, led by MLB #52; look for the Hawkeyes to repeat their top ten finish in overall rush defense stats from a year ago.

#17 - Nebraska Cornhuskers

2003 record: 10-3 NCAA Football 2004 Preseason Rank: #31 Conference: Big 12, 5-3 (2nd in North) 2003 Offensive Passing Stats: 109.4 yards per game (114th in nation) 2003 Offensive Rushing Stats: 235.6 yards per game (7th in nation) Offensive Formations: Ace-Big Twins, Ace-Slot, Ace-Y-Trips, Ace-Bunch, Ace-Empty, I-Form-Normal, Pro-Slot, Strong-Twins, Weak-Normal, Goal Line, Hail Mary 2003 Defensive Passing Stats: 177.9 yards allowed per game (11th in nation) 2003 Defensive Rushing Stats: 119.3 yards allowed per game (24th in nation)

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLACCCATCHJUMPBREAK TACKLESTAMINJ
TE #119482708580848480659088

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLPASS BLOCKINGRUN BLOCKINGSTAMINJ
C #51975696885690979294

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLACCJUMPTACKLESTAMINJ
FS #2097906586929294659593

The Cornhuskers’ solid free safety excels against the deep pass.

A perennial favorite in the Big 12 conference, the Nebraska Cornhuskers have fallen behind other conference leaders in recent years but look to make headway in the upcoming season. Expect to concentrate on the Cornhuskers’ running game; their offensive formations lack a shotgun set, though do offer an Ace-Y-Trips and Ace-Bunch as three-plus receiver sets. Without a shotgun formation to fall back on, mix up your offense effectively with passes and runs (behind big time center C #51) from similar sets and situations. TE #11 is a solid star and should be used in most formations as both a primary option and a dump off target if other receivers are covered. FS #20 is one of the best defensive backs in the game and anchors a blanket defense that ranked in the top 25 in both pass and rush yards per game allowed.

#18 - Louisville Cardinals

2003 record: 9-4 NCAA Football 2004 Preseason Rank: #72 Conference: Conference USA, 5-3 (T-3rd) 2003 Offensive Passing Stats: 260.7 yards per game (29th in nation) 2003 Offensive Rushing Stats: 228.2 yards per game (10th in nation) Offensive Formations: Ace-Big Twins, Ace-Slot, Ace-Y-Trips, I-Form-Normal, No Back-Normal, Shotgun-Normal, Shotgun-Y-Trips, Shotgun-Spread, Weak-Normal, Goal Line, Hail Mary 2003 Defensive Passing Stats: 258.3 yards allowed per game (103rd in nation) 2003 Defensive Rushing Stats: 170.3 yards allowed per game (76th in nation)

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLTHROWING POWERTHROWING ACCURACYSTAMINJ
QB #17887648807687879588

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLACCCATCHCARRYBREAK TACKLESTAMINJ
HB #238793748486956578858786

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLTACKLESTAMINJ
MLB #929285768885929590

The Louisville Cardinals surprised many with a quality 9-4 (and a bowl win) season last year. In fact, NCAA Football 2004 had them ranked at #72 of #117 teams in last year’s game! The Cardinals certainly look to be the cream of their conference, Conference USA. Their Achilles’ heel is the defense. Quite porous a year ago, the Cardinals’ defensive squad should be improved on returning starters alone. MLB #92 is one of the best on the team and should be able to plug the inside run. On offense capitalize on QB #17’s speed mixing in quarterback scrambles, rollouts, and option plays. Don’t hesitate to take off downfield if the receivers aren’t open.

#19 - West Virginia Mountaineers

2003 record: 8-5 NCAA Football 2004 Preseason Rank: #39 Conference: Big East, 6-1 (T-1st) 2003 Offensive Passing Stats: 156.5 yards per game (105th in nation) 2003 Offensive Rushing Stats: 212.5 yards per game (13th in nation) Offensive Formations: Ace-Big Twins, I-Form-Normal, I-Form-Y-Trips, Shotgun-Split, Shotgun-2 Back Slot, Shotgun-Y-Trips, Shotgun-Spread, Shotgun-5-Wide, Weak-Normal, Goal Line, Hail Mary 2003 Defensive Passing Stats: 259.9 yards allowed per game (104th in nation) 2003 Defensive Rushing Stats: 131.5 yards allowed per game (34th in nation)

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLTHROWING POWERTHROWING ACCURACYSTAMINJ
QB #2907662857691849595

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLACCCATCHJUMPBREAK TACKLESTAMINJ
WR #59194568592969094529290

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLACCJUMPTACKLESTAMINJ
CB #990935290929592569290

With the departure of usual Big East favorites the Miami Hurricanes and the Virginia Tech Hokies, the West Virginia Mountaineers (who tied for first in the Big East last season) emerge as a certain favorite to control the conference. A speedy quarterback helps open up the playbook (that includes many shotgun sets) for rollouts, option plays, and impromptu scrambles. WR #5 is the primary deep threat. Check your match-ups and exploit a weak corner with his blistering speed. The Mountaineers’ pass defense was full of holes last season but do offer a decent cornerback in CB #9 to help improve on that 104th standing.

#20 - North Carolina State Wolfpack

2003 record: 8-5 NCAA Football 2004 Preseason Rank: #11 Conference: ACC, 4-4 (T-4th) 2003 Offensive Passing Stats: 352.3 yards per game (3rd in nation) 2003 Offensive Rushing Stats: 100.9 yards per game (107th in nation) Offensive Formations: Ace-Normal, Ace-Big Twins, I-Form-Normal, Shotgun-2 Back Slot, Shotgun-Y-Trips, Shotgun-Trips, Shotgun-Spread, Shotgun-5-Wide, Weak-Twins, Goal Line, Hail Mary 2003 Defensive Passing Stats: 284.1 yards allowed per game (40th in nation) 2003 Defensive Rushing Stats: 136.9 yards allowed per game (116th in nation)

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLACCCATCHCARRYBREAK TACKLESTAMINJ
HB #449288768687927292929584

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLPASS BLOCKINGRUN BLOCKINGSTAMINJ
LT #70944894964895928078

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLACCJUMPTACKLESTAMINJ
SS #3696886890889087829794

The NC State Wolfpack’s biggest question mark is their quarterback. They lost a true star to the NFL draft and hope someone on the depth chart can maintain the Wolfpack’s excellent passing game (352.3 yards per game) from a year ago. Of course, you may say those passing statistics were inflated by the Wolfpack’s bottom of the barrel rush defense and high points per game allowed average: they had to pass to keep up! HB #44 is a solid back and behind a decent line (anchored by the LT #70). Defense should be improved from a year ago, particularly hard hitting strong safety SS #36. The Wolfpack feature a shotgun-heavy playbook. The receivers are certainly capable but work HB #44 into the offense with runs, draws, and screens to keep pressure off the new quarterbacking group.

#21 - Minnesota Golden Gophers

2003 record: 10-3 NCAA Football 2004 Preseason Rank: #37 Conference: Big Ten, 5-3 (T-4th) 2003 Offensive Passing Stats: 205.5 yards per game (72nd in nation) 2003 Offensive Rushing Stats: 289.2 yards per game (3rd in nation) Offensive Formations: Ace-Big Twins, Ace-Slot, Ace-Y-Trips, Ace-Spread, I-Form-Normal, I-Form-Y-Trips, No Back-Normal, Strong-Twins, Weak-Normal, Goal Line, Hail Mary 2003 Defensive Passing Stats: 217.7 yards allowed per game (55th in nation) 2003 Defensive Rushing Stats: 122.7 yards allowed per game (26th in nation)

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLACCCATCHCARRYBREAK TACKLESTAMINJ
HB #219390748888926890949487

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLACCCATCHCARRYBREAK TACKLESTAMINJ
HB #229095707891956886869090

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLPASS BLOCKINGRUN BLOCKINGSTAMINJ
C #61945690885692968095

The Gophers are coming off a 10-win season and another bowl victory. Expectations are high but can they compete with the best in the Big Ten, the Michigan Wolverines, Ohio State Buckeyes, and Iowa Hawkeyes? With many returning starters, the Gophers should certainly contend. The running game is your focus with the Gophers (they were 3rd in rushing stats last year). The Gophers possess two outstanding backs. HB #21 has a bit more power (though he’s still fast!) and HB #22 has the speed advantage. Work them both into the mix when possible. Stay out of long passing situations; the true stars are the running backs. If you can’t run effectively, move to a short passing game where the backs become an outlet option.

#22 - Wisconsin Badgers

2003 record: 7-6 NCAA Football 2004 Preseason Rank: #25 Conference: Big Ten, 4-4 (T-7th) 2003 Offensive Passing Stats: 217.9 yards per game (59th in nation) 2003 Offensive Rushing Stats: 177.0 yards per game (37th in nation) Offensive Formations: Ace-Normal, I-Form-Normal, I-Form-Twins, Shotgun-2 Back Slot, Shotgun-Trips, Shotgun-Bunch, Strong-Normal, Strong-Twins, Weak-Normal, Goal Line, Hail Mary 2003 Defensive Passing Stats: 213.4 yards allowed per game (49th in nation) 2003 Defensive Rushing Stats: 142.0 yards allowed per game (48th in nation)

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLACCCATCHCARRYBREAK TACKLESTAMINJ
HB #289297689390986588829582

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLTACKLESTAMINJ
DT #779765929065898490

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLACCJUMPTACKLESTAMINJ
FS #1896866292878787689792

The quick HB #28 on the Wisconsin Badgers boasts 97 speed and 98 acceleration.

The Wisconsin Badgers return fifteen starters from a year ago, which certain raises expectations to improve on a mediocre 7-6 finish (and lackluster 4-4 conference record). The Badgers’ star on offense is HB #28; he’s rated the fastest running back in the game with 97 speed and 98 acceleration. Mix up your inside and outside runs to keep your opponent guessing and, hopefully, chasing HB #28 down from behind. The Badgers’ defense is solid, particularly the line and secondary led by DT #77 and FS #18 respectively.

#23 - Cal Golden Bears

2003 record: 8-6 NCAA Football 2004 Preseason Rank: #71 Conference: Pac-10, 5-3 (T-3rd) 2003 Offensive Passing Stats: 264.6 yards per game (26th in nation) 2003 Offensive Rushing Stats: 168.3 yards per game (44th in nation) Offensive Formations: Ace-Normal, Ace-Twins, Ace-Slot, Ace-Trips, Ace-Y-Trips, I-Form-Twins, Pro-Normal, Strong-Normal, Weak-Twins, Goal Line, Hail Mary 2003 Defensive Passing Stats: 251.1 yards allowed per game (91st in nation) 2003 Defensive Rushing Stats: 133.7 yards allowed per game (37th in nation)

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLTHROWING POWERTHROWING ACCURACYSTAMINJ
QB #8935656905692969492

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLACCCATCHJUMPBREAK TACKLESTAMINJ
WR #69392569292949490569594

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLACCJUMPTACKLESTAMINJ
SS #2193886588909187769290

The Cal Golden Bears shocked the USC Trojans with a 34-31 win a year ago; the teams meet again at USC this season and it’s certain to be a season defining game for the Bears. Cal has one of the better pocket passers in the game in QB #8. He doesn’t have the speed to excel in the option but it’s worth working into the mix occasionally to try and free up WR #6 in single coverage; he’s the Bears’ primary downfield target.

#24 - Maryland Terrapins

2003 record: 10-3 NCAA Football 2004 Preseason Rank: #15 Conference: ACC, 6-2 (2nd) 2003 Offensive Passing Stats: 230.4 yards per game (44th in nation) 2003 Offensive Rushing Stats: 191.3 yards per game (24th in nation) Offensive Formations: Ace-Normal, Ace-Slot, Ace-Y-Trips, Ace-Spread, I-Form-Twins, Shotgun-Normal, Shotgun-Y-Trips, Shotgun-Spread, Strong-Normal, Goal Line, Hail Mary 2003 Defensive Passing Stats: 179.0 yards allowed per game (12th in nation) 2003 Defensive Rushing Stats: 129.4 yards allowed per game (31st in nation)

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLPASS BLOCKINGRUN BLOCKINGSTAMINJ
LG #74985296955294978095

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLACCJUMPTACKLESTAMINJ
CB #693945290929587709088

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLTACKLESTAMINJ
LE #459076768574828082

The Maryland Terrapins looked to become a perennial front runner in the Atlantic Coast Conference just a few years ago. But a couple big losses to start last year’s season--including a 35-10 defeat to rival Florida State and a 20-13 head scratcher to Northern Illinois--dug the Terps an early hole. But Maryland finished strong with a big bowl win. The ACC has gotten more competitive, though; the additions of Miami and Virginia Tech (who the Terps face at the Hokies) ramp up the challenge considerably.

#25 - Utah Utes

2003 record: 10-2 NCAA Football 2004 Preseason Rank: #67 Conference: Mountain West, 6-1 (1st) 2003 Offensive Passing Stats: 214.0 yards per game (65th in nation) 2003 Offensive Rushing Stats: 160.5 yards per game (48th in nation) Offensive Formations: Ace-Y-Trips, Ace-Bunch, No Back-Normal, Shotgun-Y-Trips, Shotgun-Trips, Shotgun-Bunch, Shotgun-Spread, Shotgun-5-Wide, Strong-Normal, Goal Line, Hail Mary 2003 Defensive Passing Stats: 198.8 yards allowed per game (28th in nation) 2003 Defensive Rushing Stats: 139.5 yards allowed per game (46th in nation)

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLTHROWING POWERTHROWING ACCURACYSTAMINJ
QB #11906548876588937684

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLACCCATCHJUMPBREAK TACKLESTAMINJ
WR #829190569290929492529590

POSITIONOVRSPDSTRAWRAGLACCJUMPTACKLESTAMINJ
FS #2588886287848884689090

The Utah Utes are the class of the Mountain West.

The Mountain West conference standout Utah Utes employ a wide open offensive scheme; take note their playbook offers five shotgun sets and a no back set for an enormous amount of passing options. The aerial combination of QB #11 and WR #82 should be your focus but you’ll have to take heat off the passing game with short passing or an established run attack.

Chapter 3: Dynasty Mode

NCAA Football 2005’s dynasty mode allows you to take control of a college program--either a longstanding powerhouse like Florida State or a smaller school like Akron or Hawaii. Coach your new squad through their season (using the tips throughout this game guide) and reach the next offseason where dynasty mode really begins. It’s here you must recruit high school talent--encourage them to join your school. This section offers dynasty mode tips for recruiting a talented freshman group.

  • By altering your coaching strategy (for instance moving it to all pass or all run) you can encourage certain position players to become interested in your team. If you’re at full pass, quarterbacks and wide receivers will be interested. If you’re full run, running backs. For a high-star prestige school this isn’t required since good players will already be interested. But for a low-star prestige school, adjusting these sliders can encourage better players to take a risk at your college. You can do it for defense as well. Alter the sliders the following year to recruit different positions.
  • Expect most of your interest to come from your home state (and some neighboring states) and they’ll generally be the easiest to sway to your program. Out-of-state prospects, especially those interested in colleges within their state, will be harder to convince. Also look at his other school interests. If he’s hoping for a top program, it’ll require a lot of points to sway him if you aren’t of similar prestige. Interested players will always be easier to sway.
  • When recruiting a prospect, use pitches carefully. Program prestige is a solid pitch if you’re a top prestige school (5 or 6 stars certainly) but it won’t be much of a factor if you’re a small school with little notoriety. Coaching style is effective depending on position (pass teams for QBs and WRs and run teams for RBs and FBs). Playtime is always a good idea, particularly if you’re light at that position. Location pitch works well if he’s close to your school and not interested in other schools around you.
  • If you aren’t a high-prestige school then it’s better to recruit more players than waste all your points and effort on a single blue chip star. You’ll be able to develop many of these into stronger players, which produces a more solid team. Otherwise you might have a really great running back but a poor offensive line to block for him.

Chapter 4: Offensive Gameplan

Running an effective offense is one of the most challenge aspects of NCAA Football 2005. Don’t expect to be able to choose the same play over and over again and find success. Sure you can have a few plays here and there that you come back to time and time again but if you start to become predictable, defenses, particularly those controlled by a human opponent, catch on and it soon becomes extremely difficult to move the ball downfield or even get a first down!

This section provides strategies for refining your offensive gameplan with tips on play selection, running your offense, tables revealing the game’s best offensive players, techniques for precise passing and catching, employing the option, and how to read defenses. You’ll also find specific coverage of NCAA Football 2005’s new features, such as the match-up stick and home field advantage and how that impacts your offensive gameplan.

Football 101

This section is called "Football 101" for the simple fact that these are the basics you should know when playing NCAA Football 2005 (or nearly any football video game) against the computer-controlled opponent, a buddy sitting next to you, or an anonymous opponent online.

Check your team’s depth chart to find good substitutions that are currently riding the pine.

  • Studying your chosen team’s strengths and weaknesses is an important key to success. Does your team have a fast quarterback? Perhaps you can run the option effectively. If you plan to churn out yards on the ground, does your team have a capable offensive line? Is your team’s secondary fast enough to play man-to-man coverage or should you stick with zone? Play to your team’s strengths. Obviously it’s smart to mix it up occasionally so you don’t become predictable but you also shouldn’t start airing it out every down when you’re a team with a strong offensive line and running back.
  • Don’t hesitate to tinker with your chosen team’s depth chart--it’s in the details! Do you have a speedy receiver stuck on the bench? You may want to insert him into certain formations to test your opponent deep a few times during the game. Maybe your team has two solid running backs and you want to get them both in the game at the same time (such as subbing one in as the fullback position). Check your depth chart and test out your new line-ups in practice mode before taking the field in a dynasty or online game.
  • Prepare your audibles! It’s not uncommon to come to the line and see the defense stacking the line--and you’ve just called a run up the middle. The odds of your play call’s success are now pretty low. You could waste a timeout to call another play but, as stated, that’s a waste! Instead, prepare your audibles so you can get out of problem situations. Or better yet, call an audible to exploit a weakness on your opponent’s defense.
  • Use hot routes as an alternative to a full-fledged audible play; you’ll use hot routes on run and pass plays. As an example for a run play: you’ve called an option play to the left but notice that the defense has shifted the linemen and linebackers in that direction. Press the hot route button and the directional pad to the right and now the option play is reversed.
  • You can use hot routes to adjust a wide receiver’s route at the line of scrimmage on a passing play. For instance, if the defense has its safeties shifted to the right leaving your left WR in one-on-one coverage against a weaker cornerback. Instead of the called play, you may want to send your receiver on a fly pattern to take advantage of the man coverage.
  • One of NCAA Football 2005’s intriguing new features is home field advantage. The team’s home stadium (especially those in the top 25 toughest to play) become a 12th man and can affect the on-field action. A boisterous stadium can cause audibles or hot routes to run incorrectly and can even affect a players’ rating. During the game, player ratings can alter depending on their successes and failures. Check your depth chart during the game to see who’s hot and who’s not. The match-up stick also plays an important role. This section of the guide will help you use these new features to your advantage offensively--or to your opponent’s disadvantage defensively!

Reading Defenses--The Match-Up Stick

Some of the most important action on offense occurs before the ball is even snapped. "Reading" the opposing defense, which means looking at the defensive positioning to ascertain what the players are going to do or what coverage the players are in, can help in a number of ways. It might reveal that you need to call an audible or use a hot route. It may inform you where the blitz is coming from or if the defense is lined up in man-to-man or zone coverage. This section offers instruction on reading defenses, including tips on using the match-up stick, a new feature in NCAA Football 2005.

The new match-up stick keeps you informed on your players’ composure and how they match up against key defenders.

MATCH-UPCONTROLPRESNAP READ
Offensive Line vs. Defensive LineRight-Analog Stick to the RightInforms you which side of your offensive line (if any) is holding blocks well. For instance, if the left side of the line is winning the battle in the trenches, call runs, options, or rollouts in that direction. Run away from good defensive linemen!
Backfield vs. LinebackersRight-Analog Stick DownThis is similar to the line read. Running your back at a rattled or "bad" linebacker could mean broken tackles and extra yardage. Also could send the backs out in the pass pattern; they’ll likely be covered by the poor linebackers. On a bad note, it could mean your back is not faring well and its time to make a switch or adjust your play calling.
Wide Receivers vs. SecondaryRight-Analog Stick to the LeftGauge this match-up to see how your wide receivers fare against the corresponding cornerbacks (as well as the safeties). Use to decide which receiver to look for (or not look for) on the passing play.

  • One of NCAA Football 2005’s significant new features is the match-up stick. Using the right-analog stick, you can see how certain offensive players match up with their defensive counterpart (or vice versa if you’re on defense). This is an excellent tool to use as a presnap read of the defense and its applications are numerous. The chart below describes the match-up stick’s control scheme and how to use the new feature as part of your presnap read routine. Note that as stated in the instruction manual, in the match-up stick, green means good, red means bad, white circle means composed, and black circle means rattled.
  • As you approach the line of scrimmage, note how the defensive linemen and the linebackers shift. Perhaps the linemen and linebackers overload the left or right side or close-in to pinch the inside run or spread out to protect the outside lanes. Note their movement and adjust (or don’t adjust) your play calling accordingly. You may want to call an audible or use a hot route to switch the direction of your run or option play. Run away from the shifts. You could also send a fullback, tight end, or wide out in motion to help block the shift or even overload the weaker side!
  • Note what defensive formation your opponent has selected. If he’s in a 4-4, that means he has four linemen and four linebackers leaving only three defensive backs. Call a play with four receivers and you have an instant mismatch: wide receiver against linebacker.
  • Check the linebackers before snapping the ball. A linebacker might start inching toward the line of scrimmage, which indicates he’s blitzing. If you have a slot receiver on that side, he could be open initially as the linebacker on that side has vacated his zone. You could also do a quick linebacker check after snapping the ball. If you see one charging in toward the line, look for a receiver in the vacated zone before another defensive player can reach the location.
  • Look at the defensive formation and see whether your opponent has moved coverage to bump and run (defensive backs move toward the line of scrimmage) or play off (move away from the line of scrimmage). If they’ve moved back, then a quick hitch or slant would be a good adjustment. If they’ve moved to bump and run, hitting a speedy receiver over the top would be a solid play. Also in bump and run, put a receiver in motion. If the defensive back follows, he’s in man to man. Snap the ball before the defensive back can set and hit your receiver in the open field.
  • Next you should look at the safeties (usually two defensive backs deep, though in some formations only one). How do the safeties adjust before the ball is snapped? If the safeties move toward the cornerbacks then the safeties are doubling your receivers. This could also indicate a blitz by a linebacker and now the safety is taking the LB’s responsibility (such as an RB or TE).
  • Check the movement of the safeties after the ball is snapped. If the safeties move back then they’re in a deep zone and will assist whenever your receiver reaches their zone. A deep fly toss is usually a bad idea here because your receiver will likely be double covered (or more). Look to hit your receiver before he reaches the deep zone. If a safety moves up then he’s in man coverage on a WR, RB, or TE. This will indicate a man-on-man situation on an outside corner. That’s the time to hit the deep ball!
  • Even if you can’t get the hang of checking through all of these defensive reads, it’s still important to do a quick glance at the defensive alignment (using the coach’s cam). You’ll discover if you need to reverse a run or option or which receivers have the best chance of getting open in their routes.

Aerial Assault -- The Passing Attack

It won’t take long for NCAA Football 2005 players to discover that an effective passing attack is more than just throwing the ball at a specific receiver. There are a lot of variables that come into play that can determine the success of that single toss and, in the long run, the success of your passing game as well as your team. This section offers strategies for effective passing, including best ways to combat specific defenses, hitting the long pass, gauging your team’s composure, and the game’s best quarterbacks and their targets.

Composure and Home Field Advantage

One of NCAA Football 2005’s new features is home field advantage. Like in real college games, the home team has a distinct advantage: the 12th man, the fans. An extremely rambunctious crowd can affect the away team. They might not be able to hear audibles correctly (resulting in wrong routes) or the deafening noise may rattle a visiting player, which affects his composure which in turn affects his skills and rating. Home field advantage and composure (gauge quickly by checking your match-up stick) can have a huge impact on your passing attack.

For instance, if a receiver starts dropping passes at a visiting stadium (or even on home turf), his composure suffers. This can directly affect the receiver’s current ratings and begin to turn him from a reliable wideout into a butterfingers. The match-up stick can give you a good gauge on your players’ statuses at any given moment but if you want to see how things are going in detail then switch to your depth chart.

You’ll notice pluses and minuses next to some of your players’ ratings. Check back during the game and notice that these change depending on your players’ successes and failures. Get tackled for a loss and all of the sudden your running back becomes rattled (and may lose some carry points!). Catch a big pass and your wide receiver gains composure and points to his catch rating.

This system encourages you to check your match-ups frequently to see which players are doing well and which players are rattled. If you have a hot player with increasing numbers, keep using him! If you have a player that’s rattled and losing rating points, consider letting him sit a series and use a substitute in hopes of igniting a spark offensively.

So in relation to your passing game, check your composure and rating levels to see which receivers are composed and which are rattled. Check the match-up stick to see which opposing defensive backs are struggling. If your QB is having trouble, call more high percentage pass plays to increase your quarterback’s confidence or focus on a weaker cornerback to sway some advantage in your favor.

From Quarterback to Receiver

There’s certainly more to a successful pass than just hitting the corresponding receiver button. As revealed in the previous header, your players’ composure during the game can directly affect their abilities to throw and catch the ball. But there are other variables at work that could turn a precision pass completion into yet another incompletion.

Plant your feet before the throw to increase accuracy.

Your quarterback’s movement during the throw will affect the throw’s accuracy. Stop and plant your feet before throwing the pass. Throwing on the run tosses a much less accurate pass. Continue to try and throw on the run and your composure and ratings may begin to suffer and you’ll have a tougher time recovering your passing attack. Obviously there will be many times you won’t have a choice. Just keep in mind that trying to force an already inaccurate pass into tight coverage could be disastrous. Consider using the "throw ball away" button instead.

Another key decision in your quarterback’s throw is whether to throw a lob pass or a bullet pass. Holding down the corresponding receiver button hurls a bullet pass; tapping the button tosses a lobbed ball. The basics are pretty simple. If you need the ball to get there quickly--for instance the receiver is suddenly open between defenders--then use the bullet pass. If you’re throwing a deep fly pattern, use a lob pass to toss the ball over defenders and allow your receiver to run underneath for the catch.

A receiver in a crossing route over the middle is a good time for a bullet pass. Lobbing one up there may give time for the defenders to move into position for a possible interception. An out pattern along the sidelines could be good for either pass. A bullet if there’s a zone defender nearby or a lob if the receiver is open and you want to give him room to run under it for an easier catch.

Utilize the pump fake button if your quarterback isn’t under intense pressure from linemen or blitzers. Pump faking can cause defensive backs (particularly those rattled) to bite on the move. This could free up a receiver for a nice (or huge) gain.

Now there’s the issue of actually catching the ball. If you’re having trouble with receivers keeping their mitts on the rock then you’ll need to take control. As the ball approaches the receiver, select him and press the "jump for pass" button to catch the ball. Just hitting the "jump for pass" button when the ball reaches the receiver seems to increase catch percentage greatly.

Finding the Open Target

The following are some tips on pass play selection and finding and hitting the open receiver during the pass play.

Use hot routes to exploit a favorable match-up.

  • A successful pass play begins with wise pass play selection. If your opponent has selected a base 4-3 defense or something even more run-oriented, then select a pass play with many wide receivers. Without the defensive backs, the defense will have trouble covering all of your wideouts. And some of those that are covered will be blanketed by slower linebackers.
  • But even if your opponent is in a "pass defense" such as nickel or dime then you can still find success with wise play selection. What does your opponent typically chose on defense? Does your opponent pick a lot of zone or a lot of man coverage? Underneath crossing routes work well against a zone, especially one that plays a bit deeper and off the line. Hit the receiver as he moves through the pockets in the zone. Also choose plays that flood one side of the field. This forces the defensive players to choose who to cover. Look for the open man. Man coverage can be beaten on a variety of patterns. Just avoid tossing to that receiver if he’s moving toward another defender (who could be in zone) or you could force the ball into a double coverage situation.
  • If you have a receiver lined up in man coverage and the safety has moved over and you’re now in a one-on-one situation, that’s the time to hit the receiver on a deep ball. Call plays with deep patterns or use a hot route to change the receiver’s route to go deep. Wait until the receiver clears any safety help then throw the pass!
  • Throwing within the passing lanes also plays a large role in finding the open target. Against a zone defense you may find defenders standing between you and the open receiver. Trying to toss the ball over those defenders can be difficult; it often seems like the defenders are 10 feet tall and can swipe down anything nearby. Wait until your receiver’s route moves behind these defenders’ positions and into an open passing lane. With nothing between you, the ball’s flight, and the receiver, you should be able to hit your target.
  • It should go without saying to avoid tossing the ball into double coverage. Tips and interceptions are fairly common place. The more defenders around the ball, the greater the chance the ball will be tipped and picked off.
  • Counter an aggressive opponent with play-action passes (labeled "PA" in the play selection screen). These pass plays simulate a run play but are actually a pass play. They can be dangerous if the defense is in a heavy blitz (because your QB goes through the handoff motion which takes time) but these plays can be very powerful by opening up receivers against defensive players that bit the run. Against a human opponent, watch the controlled defender and see if he pulls off his coverage assignment.
  • Be on the lookout for key mismatches. How does your WR rate against your opponent’s CB? Check the match-up stick to see which defensive back is rattled. Look at the statistics in detail to see who has the speed advantage. Put in a speedy receiver and try to burn a rattled cornerback deep. Exploiting mismatches will help get guys open, which in turn helps you complete passes, move the ball, and get first downs.

Top Ten Rated Quarterbacks

The following chart lists the top ten quarterbacks sorted by overall rating in NCAA Football 2005. Each quarterback’s speed is also listed so you can gauge their worth as a pocket passer or as an option ball handler.

TEAMPLAYEROVERALL RATINGSPEED
USC TrojansQB #119562
Oklahoma SoonersQB #189556
Missouri TigersQB #169585
UConn HuskiesQB #79359
Georgia BulldogsQB #149356
Cal Golden BearsQB #89356
Arizona State WildcatsQB #169356
Toledo RocketsQB #79259
Clemson TigersQB #69256
Purdue Boiler MakersQB #189162

Top Wide Receivers

The following chart reveals the top ten wide receivers in NCAA Football 2005 sorted by overall rating. Each receiver’s speed rating is also included.

TEAMPLAYEROVERALL RATINGSPEED
USC TrojansWR #19990
Oklahoma SoonersWR #99594
Michigan WolverinesWR #19591
Georgia BulldogsWR #829493
Cal Golden BearsWR #69392
Florida State SeminolesWR #19296
West Virginia MountaineersWR #59194
Western Michigan BroncosWR #159193
Utah UtesWR #829190
UCLA BruinsWR #879195

Top Tight Ends

The following list compiles the top ten tight ends in NCAA Football 2005 sorted by overall rating.

TEAMPLAYEROVERALL RATINGSPEED
Virginia CavaliersTE #899780
Toledo RocketsTE #899678
UCLA BruinsTE #199484
Tulsa Golden HurricaneTE #209482
Nebraska CornhuskersTE #119482
Stanford CardinalTE #819376
Michigan State SpartansTE #819376
Miami HurricanesTE #849386
Oregon DucksTE #859272
Michigan State SpartansTE #49278

The Ground Game -- The Rushing Attack

An effective rushing attack will be about patience and sound play calling decisions. The patience part is about sticking with the run even if you suffer a few setbacks. Sound play calling decisions means you should carefully calculate the best times to call a run and the best times to audible out of a run.

If the defense has stacked the line, pulled the corners up, and pinched the linebackers in the middle, then your HB Blast through the middle of the line likely won’t be a very effective play. You need to run the ball to mix up your game and keep the defense guessing but you should also be strategic enough to audible out of the play in the best interest of gaining yards! A pass against a 5-2 defense with coverage pulled in is a much wiser decision than trying to force something on the ground that might not be there.

Sound play calling also means to run in passing situations on occasion. This not only confuses your opponent and keeps them guessing to what you’re going to do but it’s also likely quite effective. Your opponent calls a zone dime defense. Call an off tackle run, burst through the line, dodge the linebacker, and now you’re in the secondary gaining big yardage.

Follow your blockers on a run play. Things along an offense line do break down but often it’s best to follow the play as designed. Watch your blocker hold the block pushing in or out and adjust your path accordingly. Don’t abuse the sprint burst button until you’re moving beyond the blocking.

Hit the juke button just as the defender arrives. He’ll hit nothing but air.

Other moves will also help you gain a few extra yards. You can direct your spin either in or out. If there’s a defender coming at your right side, spin inward; if he’s coming at the left, spin outward. Use the stiff arm button to break tackles and gain extra yards. The juke button can turn a short gain into a long burst. As the defender approaches, jam the juke button and move in the direction away from most of the defense. Resume course down field!

Watch the position of the defenses line and linebackers when deciding how to manage the running play. If the defenders shift to one side, reverse the running play using the hot route button. Also, put some men in motion and shift them to the side you’re running on for some additional blocking assistance. It’s also wise to run away from blitzes unless you believe you have the speed to get around the blitzer.

It could also be effective to run away from your receivers, especially in a man defense where defenders are following those receivers closely. Often their backs are turned away from the line of scrimmage giving you extra time to gain yardage. For instance, call an I-Form run play where both receivers are on the same side of the field. Run in the other direction either by play design or using the hot route button.

Keep in mind that home field advantage and composure elements affect running backs too! If you get tackled for a loss, your running back may lose some composure and receive some decreased rating points. Consider your substitute options during the game. If your RB is rattled, switch in a replacement for a series. Then again, if he’s hot feed him the ball!

Top Running Backs

The following chart reveals NCAA Football 2005’s top 10 running backs sorted by overall rating.

TEAMPLAYEROVERALL RATINGSPEED
Kansas State WildcatsHB #439796
Auburn TigersHB #249790
Syracuse OrangemenHB #399590
Texas LonghornsHB #329490
Minnesota Golden GophersHB #219390
Wisconsin BadgersHB #289297
Virginia CavaliersHB #339287
New Mexico LobosHB #229290
North Carolina State WolfpackHB #449288
Auburn TigersHB #239294

Running the Option

The option play is a great way to mix up your running game, which should help to open opportunities in the passing game. The option is aptly named: it gives you an option. The quarterback scampers along the line of scrimmage and is faced with a decision--sometimes several decisions. He can turn it up field and gain positive yardage, he can quickly pitch to the nearby running back, he can turn up field then pitch it to the running back, on some plays he could have handed off to the fullback instead, or on some plays he can look for a receiver downfield.

As with all offensive plays, check the defensive alignment to gauge your best course of action. You may need to reverse the play if the defense has overloaded one side of the field. As you move the quarterback left or right along the line of scrimmage, note the position of incoming defenders. If they’re moving toward the quarterback then consider the pitch to the RB. If they’re covering the RB, turn the quarterback inside and go for positive yards. Obviously the option works best with a speedy quarterback; however, it certainly is a requirement.

A successful pitch can lead to big yards on the option play.

Be careful with your pitches. Although the quarterbacks are fairly accurate, if there’s an obstruction between you and the running back (including your own blockers), the pitch may be tipped. This results in a fumble and subsequent mad scramble for the ball. The likely best scenario here is the loss of yardage: the worst is a turnover. In other words, it’s bad news!

Use caution when calling option passes. It’s wise to run your quarterback in the direction of his throwing arm. That way if you decide to go into throw mode, he can set his feet more quickly. If you’re running the opposite direction, your quarterback has to turn around and plant his feet. If the defense has sent in a blitzer (or defenders have broken through the line), the time it takes for your quarterback to set could be long enough for the defender to complete the sack.

Chapter 5: Defensive Gameplan

Defense might not get the accolades of a great offense but many would agree that it’s the play of a team’s defense that determines the game’s outcome. Playing great defense sets up your offense. Play great defense and you gain the advantage of field position. If the offense has a shorter field to the opposing team’s goal, you’re likely to score more often. Play great defense and cause turnovers--it may save a score or put your offense in scoring position.

This section provides strategies and tactics for maximizing your play on defense. You’ll find tips on using NCAA Football 2005’s new feature, the match-up stick, advantages and disadvantages of specific defensive formations, managing your defense play-by-play, and tables revealing the top defensive stars in the game.

Alignment -- The Match-Up Stick

Check the match-up stick to see how your defense lines up against your opponent’s offense.

A new feature in NCAA Football 2005 is the match-up stick. Press the right-analog stick right, down, or left and you can see how certain defensive players match up with their offensive counterparts. Use the match-up stick to see which defensive players are composed and have an advantage over your opponent’s roster. The chart below describes the match-up stick’s control scheme and how to use the new feature as part of your defensive scheme.

MATCH-UPCONTROLAPPLICATION
Defensive Line vs. Offensive LineRight-Analog Stick to the RightIf the left side of your defensive line is stronger than the offensive line, consider blitzing on that side. If you’re struggling, consider switching out a rattled player. Expect runs to come to the weakened side!
Linebackers vs. Backfield Right-Analog Stick DownCheck how your linebackers match up against the opposing team’s backfield. Weakened or rattled linebackers may miss more tackles against better backs. Or good linebackers might be effective in blitz situations.
Secondary vs. Wide ReceiversRight-Analog Stick to the LeftA cornerback that matches up well against a receiver could be left in man coverage while you double other wideouts. But if you have a rattled defensive back, use a substitution or risk getting burned repeatedly!

Defensive Formations

Each team uses the same nine defensive formations. Although it seems confusing, the formation’s name reveals its make-up and subsequently its strengths and weaknesses. This section offers tips for each formation and maximizing its strengths and offsetting its weaknesses. These are just suggestions, however; you may find success using a goal line against a four wide receiver set. Just don’t expect much consistency!

FORMATIONDESCRIPTIONADVANTAGESDISADVANTAGES
Goal LineTight formation for short-yardage situations.Use in short yardage (such as less than a yard to go) situations. Stack the line, pinch the linebackers and the line, and even pull over the corners to help stop that up the gut run.Obviously weak against the longer passes, though can be effective against the pass near the goal line. Beware of opponent audibles to pass plays. Be ready to adjust.
4-2-5Four defensive linemen, two linebackers, five defensive backs.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.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.
3-3-5 StackThree 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.With no LBs or DBs blitzing, the three man line may not get much pressure on quarterback.
5-2Five defensive linemen, two linebackers, four defensive backs.The stacked line is effective in short yardage run situations. Use line shift toward expected run play.If a run gets beyond the defensive line, it’s open territory. Protect the outside run lanes using shifts and blitzes. And don’t use against passing plays!
4-4Four defensive linemen, four linebackers, three defensive backs.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.
DimeSix defensive backs.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 the run audibles at the line and beware of quarterback scrambles, especially if your defensive backs are in man coverage and moving away from line of scrimmage.
NickelFive defensive backs.Similar to dime only five defensive backs. Use against three WR sets.Similar to dime: watch for run plays and scrambles.
3-4Three defensive linemen, four linebackers, four defensive backs.Four linebackers offers 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 what your linebackers are doing.
4-3Four defensive linemen, three linebackers, four defensive backs.Standard base defense. Best if you have a strong line over linebackers. Covers inside run well and short to medium passes.Once again beware of the pass formations. Outside and option run can be difficult without proper linebacker alignment.

Defensive Shifts

NCAA Football 2005 allows you to move your three primary defensive positions before the ball is snapped. The three are your linemen, your linebackers, and your coverage (cornerbacks and safeties). By repositioning these players, you can better structure your defense to stop the run, protect against the deep ball, jam a tight-end off the line of scrimmage, or a variety of all of these. Here are the specific button combinations to move your line, linebackers, and coverage and the reason to do each.

PRESSTHEN PRESSMOVESCOMMENTS
L1 on PS2, L on X-Box and GamecubeLeftLinemen shift to the leftIf you’re anticipating a run to the left, moving a lineman in front of a tight-end to jam, or opening a space for a blitzing linebacker.
L1 on PS2, L on X-Box and GamecubeRightLinemen shift to the rightIf you’re anticipating a run to the right, moving a lineman in front of a tight-end to jam, or opening a space for a blitzing linebacker.
L1 on PS2, L on X-Box and GamecubeDownLinemen close togetherIf you’re anticipating a run up the middle or freeing up the end for an outside blitzer.
L1 on PS2, L on X-Box and GamecubeUpLinemen spread apartIf you’re anticipating an outside run or opening the middle for a blitzing linebacker.
R1 on PS2, R on X-Box and GamecubeLeftLinebackers shift to the leftIf you’re anticipating an outside run to the left or want to open a lane for a blitzing linebacker.
R1 on PS2, R on X-Box and GamecubeRightLinebackers shift to the rightIf you’re anticipating an outside run to the left or want to open a lane for a blitzing linebacker.
R1 on PS2, R on X-Box and GamecubeDownLinebackers approach the line of scrimmageIf you’re anticipating a run and want to fill gaps or want faster blitz pressure on the quarterback.
R1 on PS2, R on X-Box and GamecubeUpLinebackers spread apartIf you’re protecting against the outside run or opening a lane for an outside blitz.
Triangle on PS2, Y on the X-Box and Gamecube DownCornerbacks and safeties move closer to the line of scrimmageCornerbacks will be close to their coverage assignments in man-on-man and safeties move to the line to provide run support. Good against runs or short passes but very vulnerable to a deep ball.
Triangle on PS2, Y on the X-Box and GamecubeUpCornerbacks and safeties move back off the line of scrimmage even furtherCornerbacks will move back off their receivers and safeties move back further. Good if you’re anticipating a deep ball but more vulnerable to the run and very vulnerable to certain short passes and crossing routes.

Managing the Defense

Knowing formations and match-ups certainly helps but it’s applying these concepts on the field that creates a solid, consistent defense. This section offers some tips on managing your defense effectively, such as tips on controlling specific defenders, play-calling, and taking advantage of (or countering) home field advantage.

Know what the symbols and color variations on the defensive play charts mean.

  • Use audibles and alignment shifts if you’re trying to predict the offense’s play and play direction. For instance, if your opponent repeatedly runs option plays along the left side of the line, shift your linebackers to the left to help disrupt the play. You may need to audible out of certain coverages. Perhaps you called a big blitz but worry about the deep ball; call an audible and get out of the blitz and back into a safer zone.
  • Zone defenses are safer against the run because your defensive players are holding position in certain zones and they’re also looking toward the opposing team’s backfield. In a man-to-man defense, the defensive players follow their responsibility and run away from the line of scrimmage. They could continue to away even as the running back crosses the line and starts picking up big yardage.
  • Each defensive play contains a few symbols and color variations at the play selection screen. It’s wise to know each of these when considering a defense. If a player has an arrow pointing toward the bottom of the screen then that player is blitzing. A player indicated by a blue dot is a spy, meaning his job is to trail the quarterback to help prevent scrambles and option plays. If a player has a yellow circle around him, he’s in zone coverage and responsible for that area of the field. If a player is red, he’s in man-to-man coverage and responsible for a specific offensive player.
  • Be careful when selecting a defensive player to control. Use the coach’s cam to check defensive player assignments. You’ll need to follow the assignment! Linemen are pretty safe because they’re primarily rushing passer but selecting a linebacker or a defensive back could pose problems if you don’t follow their assignment. For instance, you control a safety and he’s assigned in man coverage against the tight end. If you just start roaming or you decide to blitz, the tight end will be open.
  • Zone defenses are a bit safer depending on the skills of your defensive backs. Your defensive players cover a certain zone. If a receiver enters the zone, the defensive player assumes coverage. This helps put players in the passing lanes, which could lead to tips and interceptions. But zones do have holes. A patient passer could hit receivers that are just moving into a zone pocket. Even deep patterns have some holes, such as a corner route on a Cover 2 zone. Man-to-man is more aggressive and best used when you have solid, fast cornerbacks. You could even shift coverage over to keep one weaker receiver in man-to-man and concentrate on other receivers.
  • Defend the option by playing containment. Don’t necessarily go for the aggressive tackle. Force the quarterback or running back outside and to make a decision. The farther you push the quarterback outside, the less room the running back has along the sideline. Move laterally along the line so you’ll have the players in position to make the tackle against the quarterback if he turns upfield or the running back if he takes the ball.
  • Use the "catch/defend pass" button on defense when covering a deep ball. The defender will attempt to swat the ball and may even score an interception. You should also use this button if the ball is moving through a passing lane. NCAA Football 2005 contains a new "big hit" button. Its pros and cons are fairly apparent. A successful big hit might jar the ball loose (or even knock a player’s helmet off!) but a miss could lead to a bigger gain.
  • Home field advantage works similar as if you’re on offense. Successes and failures can affect your defenses composure. Check the depth chart to see rating changes. Consider substitutions on rattled players. Utilize your match-up stick to see which match-ups are favoring you and which are favoring the offense.

Top Ten Defensive Linemen

The following chart reveals the top rated NCAA Football 2005 defensive linemen sorted by overall rating.

TEAMPLAYEROVERALL RATINGSPEED
LSU TigersLE #849976
Georgia BulldogsLE #479976
Boston College EaglesLE #949882
Notre Dame Fighting IrishRE #449782
Wisconsin BadgersDT #779765
Oregon State BeaversRE #909676
Oklahoma SoonersRE #809676
Oregon DucksDT #969665
Miami HurricanesDT #929568
USC TrojansLE #849572

Top Ten Linebackers

The following table shows the top rated linebackers in NCAA Football 2005 sorted by overall rating.

TEAMPLAYEROVERALL RATINGSPEED
Texas LonghornsLOLB #119988
Southern Miss Golden EaglesROLB #279887
Washington State CougarsMLB #519686
San Diego State AztecsMLB #349585
USC TrojansROLB #69584
Oklahoma SoonersMLB #109484
Clemson TigersMLB #439485
Virginia CavaliersROLB #569387
Iowa HawkeyesMLB #529386
Florida GatorsMLB #559384

Top Ten Defensive Backs

Here are the top ten rated defensive backs in NCAA Football 2005 sorted by overall rating.

TEAMPLAYEROVERALL RATINGSPEED
UNLV RebelsSS #279888
Nebraska CornhuskersFS #209790
LSU TigersCB #139793
Miami HurricanesCB #69792
Wisconsin BadgersFS #189686
North Carolina State WolfpackSS #369688
Auburn TigersCB #149592
Georgia Tech Yellow JacketsFS #229588
Fresno State BulldogsSS #239588
Clemson TigersCB #99493

Chapter 6: Online Strategies

Pick your team carefully! You know your opponent will.


EA Sports now included Xbox live support for its sports games and NCAA Football 2005 is the first to support the feature (PlayStation 2 online play remains included of course). Competing against a human opponent is much different than playing against a computer-controlled adversary. Often it’s as much about outthinking your opponent then just outplaying him. This section offers tips on succeeding in NCAA Football 2005’s online play.

Try the hurry up offense to keep an opponent off balance.

  • You may want to select one of the stronger teams in your first forays into online play. You may have graduated from University of South Florida but you’ll find it difficult to play your alma mater online against the toughest teams in the game, such as USC, Texas, or Oklahoma. Once you gain some confidence, try out your USF Bulls. There are many players online that don’t necessarily stick with the top five and they typically produce the most exciting games.
  • Some players are crafty at the team selection screen. They’ll wait for you to make your pick then adjust theirs as some sort of counter. For instance, you pick a "favorite" team over a powerhouse, perhaps something in the lower top 25 like the West Virginia Mountaineers. Smelling blood, your opponent switches from their presumed selection of Maryland Terrapins and moves to USC Trojans. Don’t allow yourself to be abused by this. Cancel your team selection if your opponent starts moving the team around again and when all else fails, just leave and find another opponent.
  • Study the top teams in the game so you know what you’re up against. Know the stars on each team and adjust your gameplan accordingly. USC’s primary wide receiver is the best in the game. You may want to use double coverage at the start of the game to keep him at bay. Don’t line up man-on-man and allow him to get hot and into the game.
  • When you’re on defense, wait until the offense selects their play and formation before selecting your defense. The offense may select a four wide receiver set and you don’t want to be stuck in a 5-2 and have to audible quickly. Naturally the offense may be calling a four wide receiver set and still running the ball but you’re better off playing off the offense’s play call then just haphazardly selecting your defense before the offense has set.
  • Likewise, if you’re up against an opponent that calls their defenses quickly, look to put your opponent in mismatch situations. For instance, call deep patterns against the 4-4, which lacks significant deep safety help. Or if your opponent sticks in dime constantly, consider some power running plays. Note that these aren’t always cut and dry decisions. Your opponent may select dime then move everyone up to the line and press to help guard the run. You may want to audible to a deep pattern to expose his aggressiveness.
  • Monitor your home field advantage situation carefully whether you’re on the road or at home. Momentum can swing wildly in NCAA Football 2005. You might be looking strong early in the game but a few setbacks and player failures and all of the sudden you’re dropping passes left and right. Use the match-up stick to see who is clicking and who’s rattled. Consider substitutions for struggling stars and dish the ball frequently to the hot hand.
  • Predictability is death in online play. Don’t use just one play per formation or your opponent may catch on that every time you call I-Form you run to the left. Also mix up your expected run and pass situations. Call a jumbo set but pass out of it; call a shotgun spread formation but run out of the formation.
  • Mix up your offense by calling the hurry up on occasion. You don’t necessarily have to run the same exact play if you’re prepared your audibles well. This can put a defense on its heels and force a bad coverage or set to remain on the field--or force your opponent to call a timeout to make an adjustment. Prepare your audibles before going online and be sure to utilize hot routes to exploit mismatches and coverage problems. You’ll also use hot routes to reverse running plays, which may be key if your opponent shifts line and linebackers to one side predicting your play.
  • Be sure to study the tips and suggestions throughout the offensive and defensive gameplan sections of this game guide. These tips certainly apply to online game situations as well as in games against the computer-controlled opponents.

Chapter 7: Cheat Codes

This section covers NCAA Football 2005 cheat codes. Go to "My NCAA" and into the "Pennant Collection" and enter the following codes to unlock the specific pennant.

CODEPENNANT
2005Thread the Needle. This pennant narrows the uprights when your opponent tries a field goal.
All HailWSU Mascot Team (Butch)
Bear DownArizona Mascot Team (Wilbur)
Big OrangeTennessee All-Time Team
BlitzWhat a Hit. This pennant increases your opponent’s chances of getting injured.
BoomerOklahoma All-Time Team
Bow DownWashington All-Time Team
Death ValleyClemson All-Time Team
EA SportsCuffed. This pennant prevents your team from fumbling or throwing interceptions.
Elite 11QB Dud. This pennant causes your opponent’s passes to be high and wobbly.
FightTexas Tech All-Time Team
Fight OnUSC All-Time Team
FootballTake Your Time. This pennant gives your team
ForBlink. This pennant causes the ref to spot the ball short for your opponent.
Fumble2003 All-American Team
Geaux TigersLSU All-Time Team
Gig EmTexas A&M All-Time Team
GloryColorado All-Time Team
Go Big RedNebraska All-Time Team
Go BlueMichigan All-Time Team
Go CarolinaSouth Carolina Mascot Team (Cocky)
Go CatsNU Mascot Team (Willie)
Go Deacs GoWake Forest Mascot Team (The Deacon)
Go GreenMSU Mascot Team (Sparty)
Go PackNCSU Mascot Team (Mr. Wuf)
Go PokesOklahoma State All-Time Team
Golden DomerNotre Dame All-Time Team
Great To BeFlorida All-Time Team
Hail StateMississippi State All-Time Team
Hail WVWVU Mascot Team (The Mountaineer)
HikeJumbalaya. This pennant adds points to your score when your player is injured.
Home FieldMolasses. This pennant increases your opponent’s fatigue factor for one game.
Hook EmTexas All-Time Team
Hotty TottyOle Miss Mascot Team (Colonel Reb)
Hunker DownGeorgia All-Time Team
Lets Go PittPittsburgh All-Time Team
Killer NutsOhio State All-Time Team
MightyUCLA All-Time Team
Mizzou RahMizzou Mascot Team (Truman)
NCAAStiffed. This pennant doubles your opponent’s penalty yardage for one game.
On IowaIowa All-Time Team
On On UKUK Mascot Team (The Wildcat)
Orange CrushSyracuse All-Time Team
Oskee WowIllinois Fighting Illini Team Boost
Quack AttackOregon All-Time Team
Rah Rah RahMinnesota Mascot Team (Goldy Gopher)
Raising CaneMiami All-Time Team
RamblinwreckGT Mascot Team (Buzz)
Red and GoldISU Mascot Team (Cy)
RegisteringBoing. This pennant increases your opponent’s chances of dropping passes.
Rock ChalkKU Mascot Team (Big Jay)
Roll TideAlabama All-Time Team
Sic EmBaylor Team Boost
Tech TriumphVirginia Tech All-Time Team
Thanks1st & 15. This pennant forces your opponent to gain 15 yards for a first down.
TiburonCrossed the Line. This pennant allows your QB to throw the ball past the line of scrimmage.
UprisingFlorida State All-Time Team
VictoryKansas State All-Time Team
WahoosVirginia All-Time Team
War EagleAuburn All-Time Team
We ArePenn State All-Time Team
With EAButter Fingers. This pennant increases your opponent’s chances for fumbling for one game.
WooPigSooieArkansas All-Time Team

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Did you enjoy this article?

Sign In to Upvote

0 comments