Iowa football unranked in latest edition of popular video game

BY CODY GREDELL | JULY 13, 2011 7:20 AM

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On Tuesday, video-game company EA Sports released NCAA Football 12, the newest edition of its popular college-football franchise.

The Iowa football team, which was ranked the No. 10 squad in NCAA Football 11, is unranked in the 2012 edition after a 8-5 record last season.

Offensive lineman Riley Reiff was the highest-rated player for the Hawkeyes, with a grade of 94 out of 100, and quarterback James Vandenberg was awarded 80 points in his first edition of the game as Iowa’s starting quarterback. Sophomore running back Marcus Coker was given an 86, and senior wide receiver Marvin McNutt received an 88. 

Senior cornerback Shaun Prater also received an 88 to become Iowa’s best defensive player; he was closely followed by junior cornerback Micah Hyde’s 87. Senior defensive end Broderick Binns is an 81, and senior defensive tackle Mike Daniels is an 82. The Black and Gold’s linebacking corps received solid scores — James Morris was given an 85, and Tyler Nielsen was considered an 82.

“I thought the ratings were pretty fair,” said video-game salesman John Good, who was working behind the counter at Gamers in Iowa City during the store’s midnight release party on Monday evening. “Coker and our offensive line are rated pretty high, and that’s what you expect with Iowa football.”

A couple of apparent mistakes by the game’s designers could confuse more casual followers of Iowa football, though. Former Iowa running backs Adam Robinson and Jewel Hampton are included on the roster, even though they no longer play for the Hawkeyes in real life. Robinson, who was removed from the team last December because of off-field troubles, is rated 90 overall; Hampton transferred to Southern Illinois earlier this year but is an 83 overall for the Hawkeyes.

“When you’re dealing with [more than 100 schools], it’s hard to get it all correct,” said Good, who called himself an avid Hawkeye fan. “But I wish [EA Sports] would have taken a little bit more time to get the rosters more accurate, because those players haven’t been with us for a while.”

Some of that confusion could be traced to NCAA rules, which state that state that player names can’t be used in the game. Players are instead referred to by their position and jersey numbers, but fans can go online to download complete rosters.

Brian Kaldenberg of Iowa City operates gamerosters.com, a website that caters to video-game players who want the full experience.

“We’ve been working 24 hours a day the past four days, trying to get the rosters out by the time the game releases,” said Kaldenberg, who said he hoped to have the rosters out by Tuesday afternoon.

The game has been a hot sale among football fans — NCAA 11 sold 692,000 copies in its first month on the market, according to USA Today — and Elle Harnois, the manager of Gamers in Iowa City, said she usually starts receiving orders for the game a couple of months before the release.

“We get people starting to ask around Christmas if they can put in reserves for the next one,” she said.

Although she said the midnight sale on Monday didn’t live up to expectations — the store’s traffic slowed considerably just minutes after the 12:01 launch — she said she expects sales will pick up as time goes on.

“Throughout the year, they usually sell pretty well,” she said. “They usually net probably a bit more than the other sports games. NCAA does a little bit better than Madden [EA’s NFL franchise], so they sell pretty well throughout the year.”

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