The 2013 season according to NCAA Football 14

By Tom Fornelli | Staff Writer

NCAA 14 simulation of 2013 season. (USATSI)
Nick Saban and Alabama get a chance to three-peat. (USATSI)

On Tuesday, I reacted like a child on Christmas morning when my doorbell rang mid-afternoon. You see, I knew there was one reason and one reason only why somebody was ringing my doorbell, and it was because they were bringing me my copy of NCAA Football 14. It's a moment that I've experienced every year since I was in high school, and no matter how old I get or how little I play video games, it's still exciting each time.

And, as I've done on Eye On College Football the last few seasons, the first thing that I did after getting the game was simulate the entire upcoming season. That's right -- there's no need to actually play the games at this point because the video game has spoken.

Here's what you need to know. We'll break it down by conference.


-- Virginia Tech (11-2) and Florida State (10-3) are your division champions, with Virginia Tech beating Florida State 31-24 in the ACC Championship Game.

-- The first year of ACC play was much kinder to Syracuse than Pittsburgh. The Orangemen will go 6-6 with a 3-5 record in the ACC while Pitt will finish the season 2-10 and 1-7 in the ACC.

-- Clemson loses Tajh Boyd for the season in Week Six, and things go downhill from there, as the Tigers finish 8-4 overall and 4-4 in conference play.

-- Maryland finishes its time in the ACC with a 6-6 mark.

American Athletic Conference

-- Your first American Athletic Conference Champion? It's the Temple Owls, who will go 9-3 overall and 6-2 in the AAC.

-- But what about Louisville? Well, the Cardinals finish 6-2 in conference play as well, but that includes a 27-20 loss on the road against Temple in early October.

-- Rutgers finishes its final season outside the Big Ten with a 5-7 record.

Big 12

-- Oklahoma wins the Big 12 with an 8-1 mark in conference play and a 10-2 overall record. And that 8-1 mark is a full two games clear of Kansas State and Texas' 6-3 record.

-- Yes, that's right, Texas, you fall short again. You finish the regular season 8-4, and you do not beat Oklahoma, though you only lose by 15. So, you know, progress.

-- The biggest surprise in the Big 12? The fact that neither TCU nor Baylor go bowling as both willl post a 5-7 record. The same record as Kansas.

Big Ten

- Sometimes video games do follow reality, as Ohio State (12-1) takes care of Nebraska (10-3) 58-27 in the Big Ten Championship Game, continuing the new tradition of Nebraska getting absolutely steamrolled in the Big Ten Championship Game.

-- Though things weren't all bad for Nebraska. Your Heisman Trophy winner? Why it's Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez, with Ohio State's Braxton Miller finishing second.

-- Bill O'Brien's second season in Happy Valley isn't as happy, as the Nittany Lions finish 5-7 overall and win only two conference games.

-- Your reminder that this is a video game and not real life: Illinois goes 8-4 with wins over Penn State, Wisconsin and Northwestern. Oh, and Northwestern follows up its 10-win season in 2012 with a 3-9 record in 2013.

-- Michigan finishes 10-2, but its loss to Nebraska gives the Cornhuskers the Legends Division tie-breaker.


-- Tulsa (10-3) beats Middle Tennessee (7-5) 31-14 to win Conference USA.


-- Notre Dame follows its appearance in the BCS Championship Game with an 8-4 record, losing to Stanford, Michigan, Oklahoma and Southern California. In other words, the good teams.

-- Navy is a powerhouse, finishing the season 11-1, but is it good enough for a BCS appearance? You'll have to wait to find out.

-- In its first year as an FBS Independent Old Dominion goes 5-7.


-- Ball State (11-2) will beat Ohio (9-4) 28-17 to win the MAC championship.

-- Northern Illinois finishes 9-3, with its loss to Ball State keeping it from a chance to defend its MAC title.

-- Akron goes 0-12.

-- Games were played on Tuesday nights, and they were awesome.

Mountain West

-- Fresno State (11-2) will defeat Boise State (12-1) 28-21 in overtime, a devastating blow to the Broncos. Boise was ranked No. 1 in the BCS before losing, and this loss knocked them out of a national championship berth. You'll never guess which team took their spot.

-- It's a bad year in the new Mountain West, as Boise State and Fresno State are the only two teams to finish with winning records. The next best teams are Nevada and Utah State who both finish 6-6.


-- In what was a very exciting game that came down to the final minute, Southern California (11-2) beat Oregon (8-5) 21-20 in the Pac-12 Championship Game. Also, as you can see, while Oregon wins the North, it's nowhere near as dominant without Chip Kelly in 2013.

-- Earlier, I mentioned that Notre Dame lost to Stanford. Well, it was one of the few wins that Stanford finishes with. The Cardinal go 5-7 and 3-6 in conference.

-- Los Angeles owns the Pac-12 South, as UCLA finishes just behind USC in the division, with USC's win in the final weekend proving to be the difference. Meanwhile, Arizona's 6-3 mark, which would have had it in the hunt in the North, relegates it to third here.

-- The conference's worst team is still Colorado (3-9), though Washington State (4-8) and California (4-8) weren't far behind.


-- Texas A&M (11-2) wins the West Division and beats Georgia (10-3) 49-32 to win its first SEC title. Johnny Manziel finishes fifth in the final Heisman balloting. Apparently having a similar season but adding a SEC championship wasn't enough for the voters.

-- BUT WHAT ABOUT ALABAMA!? The Tide finished 10-2 with both of those losses coming in conference play. The two losses were to Texas A&M and LSU, and they came by a total of 20 points. However, don't worry, Tide fans. There's some good news later.

-- Butch Jones' first year in Knoxville goes well as the Volunteers finish 9-3.

-- Jadeveon Clowney wins just about every defensive award there is, but it's not enough to help South Carolina finish better than 8-4.

-- Only three of the 14 teams in the SEC don't attain bowl eligibility. They are Kentucky, Auburn and Arkansas. And Bret Bielema goes 1-7 in his first SEC season.

Sun Belt

-- The Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns win the Sun Belt with a perfect 7-0 conference record, finishing the year 10-2 overall.

-- Bobby Petrino goes 9-3 in his first season at Western Kentucky.

And now that we've looked at what took place in conference, let's get to the BCS bowl games and national championship.

Rose Bowl: USC beat Michigan, 28-9.

Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma beats Navy, 37-17.

Sugar Bowl: Texas A&M beats Temple, 37-27.

Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech beats UCLA, 31-6.

And now for your BCS National Championship Game ...

... as the SEC's reign of terror comes to an end. Yes, that's right, Ohio State beats Alabama 38-34 when Carlos Hyde -- seen as J. Manson in the game -- scores a touchdown with 2:28 left in the fourth quarter. The Buckeyes' defense then holds serve to put an end to both Alabama and the SEC's dominance.

Of course, there's the fact that Alabama was in the title game to begin is a bit confusing. After all, the Tide finished second in the SEC West and didn't even play for an SEC title.

Surely something like that could never happen in real life.

Though, if I'm an Ohio State fan, I wouldn't get all that excited about this national championship. Last year, our simulation predicted that Arkansas would beat Kansas State in the title game and, well, we all remember how Arkansas' season went.

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