The complete dearth of Syracuse Orange-related viewing and inability to leave my house has left me with plenty of time to start poking around the house, discovering things that I haven’t seen in years. In doing so, I got a crazy brainchild once I ended up digging through my closets and drawers during this whole lockdown thing. I found all my old PlayStation 3 games that I haven’t touched in years. In this case, probably about six or seven years. Staring back at me was NCAA Football 13, the penultimate college football video game released prior to the moratorium.
Since we don’t have any current sports on the docket, and we don’t have any current iterations of NCAA Football — thanks to various likeness, and licensing issues — it seems like this is an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. The best news? I decided I’m taking you all along with me, seeing if we can turn the Orange into the perennial powerhouse that we all know they can be... maybe.
To start this whole thing up, I was able to find an already modified roster for the 2019 season, thanks to various people over at OperationSports.com. They have all the details as accurate as you could expect someone to take the entirety of the NCAA and update all 127 teams. Coach Babers and company are present and accounted for, including former OC/DC combination, Mike Lynch and Brian Ward.
Because of the way that last season finished, the Orange are sitting pretty going into the year and are ranked #19 in the nation. That said, it seems like Dino doesn’t have a ton of history on his side and has an uphill battle to match up with the expectations the ranking put on him for the year. His Coach Prestige rating is a D+, which I think can be improved over the course of this exercise. It better, or this is going to be a long, long, slog.
Expectations seem relatively reasonable and it doesn’t seem like Dino is on the hot seat, unless I really take this on a southward turn. Basically the requirements are make a bowl game on the year and don’t completely fail on the recruiting trail. If the class can be landed anywhere in the vicinity of where the Orange have been recruiting, we should be in good shape.
After a little work, the depth chart has been reworked in order to mimic that which started out last year, as you can see below. Overall they hit all the marks, outside of a few of the more obscure freshman, one of which (Matthew Bergeron) ended up making a splash in reality. He unfortunately won’t be making that jump in the virtual game.
Getting conferences to reflect reality was a little tougher. Since the game came out prior to the last run of conference realignment (2012), some sacrifices were made. The Big East is now a four team conference, consisting of USF, UConn, Temple and Cincy. I had to move Maryland out of the ACC to the Big 10 and bring in Lousiville, Pitt and Syracuse from the Big East. You forget how much moving and shaking happened in the last decade with respect to schools moving conferences, or even gaining Division I FBS status.
Overall the schedule worked out as needed, but realignment forces a nine game conference schedule, so you’ll see a crossover against the Hokies in Week 2. That game will be in place of the Liberty contest, since they don’t exist in game. I finally was able to get them off Syracuse’s schedule. The rest of the schedule pans out as follows:
- Week One - @ Maryland
- Week Two - vs. Virginia Tech (Liberty Replacement)
- Week Three - vs. Western Michigan
- Week Four - vs. Boston College
- Week Five - vs. FCS Southwest (they don’t have the FCS teams in the game)
- Week Six - @ Pittsburgh
- Week Seven - @ NC State
- Week Eight - @ #2 Clemson
- Week Nine - @ Georgia Tech (This was the crossover)
- Week Ten - vs. Florida State
- Week Eleven - @ Louisville
- Week Twelve - vs. Wake Forest
So it looks like a solid “B” rating for strength of schedule, and we got the kinks worked out to get the schedule where we want it.
The only thing left is redshirting players. Based on need, I opted for the final list of the following to redshirt:
- Joe Rondi - DT
- Cooper Dawson - DE
- Luke Benson - TE
- Jawhar Jordan - RB
- Courtney Jackson - WR
- Geoff Cantin-Arku - LB
- Garrett Johnson - RB
- Anthony Red - OL
- Juan Wallace - LB
At this point, I think it’s time to step into the recruiting game, but I’ll hold that to a different post.