One of the surest signs you’re getting close to the start of the season is the release of the latest EA Sports "NCAA Football" game. We’re still weeks away from that, so we’ll happily settle for the release of the ratings from those games.
Tradition Sports Online snagged the important information from E3, so let's take a look at the top 15 players in the game and see how EA did in assessing the nation's best. (And let's also enjoy this before the Ed O'Bannon case takes away our college football video games.)
1) Jadeveon Clowney – 99 OVR (overall)
A player so good people thought he might skip playing his junior season and still get drafted No. 1 overall. And let's not forget this:
Yep, this seems correct.
2) Johnny Manziel – 97 OVR
Your reigning Heisman winner, the Aggie quarterback is the preseason favorite in Vegas for the award. There's a chance playing with Manziel is going to be like playing with Vick in "Madden 2004," when all of your friends declared the Falcons illegal due to his virtual abilities. (P.S. Calling dibs on playing as A&M when this year's version comes out.)
3) De'Anthony Thomas – 97 OVR
Wait just a second: The game only has Black Mamba at 98 Speed?! Sure, 99 Acceleration, 98 Elusiveness and 96 Agility are showing proper respect, but the guy does this:
What does it take to get 99 Speed in this game?
4) A.J. McCarron – 97 OVR
This feels maybe just a smidge high. McCarron has elite weapons like T.J. Yeldon and Amari Cooper and is protected by what is essentially a giant stone wall of five-star recruits. However, the guy has won two straight titles and spends his time choosing between which model to date. Who am I to be a hater? Roll Tide.
5) Marqise Lee – 97 OVR
As Matt Barkley's season (and draft stock) imploded last year, Lee kept chugging along, putting up video game numbers (I'm sorry) of 118 catches, 1,721 yards and 14 touchdowns. It's a little foggy who his quarterback will be this year, but Lee's talent is crystal clear.
6) C.J. Mosley – 97 OVR
One of the best linebackers in football, the Alabama senior totaled 107 tackles (8 for loss), 4 sacks, 2 picks and a forced fumble last year. Considering Nick Saban's defense will likely be at the top of the pack again this year, there is nothing to dispute here.
7) Braxton Miller – 96 OVR
In his freshman season, the Ohio State quarterback was basically the only bright spot on a woeful Buckeye offense. His sophomore year, they went 12-0. Now he's had his second offseason learning under Urban Meyer, who is pretty good at coaching quarterbacks. 96 might actually be a little low.
8) Teddy Bridgewater – 96 OVR
The Louisville quarterback is a 99 in "Having a name that could be shared by a bad guy on 'The O.C.' " and also pretty legit at football, too. Considering how he absolutely carved up a vaunted Florida defense in the Sugar Bowl, this feels a little low too. If Manziel doesn't win the Heisman, one of the main reasons could be Miller or Bridgewater going off during an undefeated campaign.
9) Jake Matthews – 96 OVR
Our first offensive lineman, the A&M tackle is the son of NFL Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews and cousin of Packers linebacker Clay Matthews. Walter Football has him pegged as a top 10 pick in the 2014 draft.
10) Aaron Murray – 96 OVR
The Georgia quarterback chose to come back for one more crack at the SEC championship after losing the title game the last two years. After struggling against top defenses most of his career, Murray was fantastic against the Tide and threw for 427 and 5 touchdowns against Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl.
11) Taylor Lewan – 96 OVR
The Michigan offensive tackle would have been a top pick in this spring’s NFL draft, but he made the folks in Ann Arbor (mainly starting quarterback Devin Gardner) happy by choosing to return. No quibbles here.
12) Tajh Boyd – 95 OVR
The Clemson quarterback threw for 3,896 yards and 36 touchdowns last season, then added over 500 yards and 10 more scores on the ground. He's another Heisman candidate in his senior season, especially after leading the Tigers to a come-from-behind victory over LSU in their bowl game.
13) Sammy Watkins – 95 OVR
Do you know one thing that helps Boyd put up the numbers he does? Having Watkins on the outside. If someone is going to pull out Texas A&M against you, perhaps the best counter is to unleash the virtual Boyd-Watkins connection.
14) Denicos Allen – 95 OVR
Is someone high up at EA Sports a Michigan State grad? I kid, kind of, but the outside linebacker was only an honorable mention on last season's All-Big Ten team and Phil Steele only has him slotted at second team on his preseason honor roll, behind teammate Max Bullough.
15) Ka'Deem Carey – 94 OVR
Perhaps the best player in college football few know about, Carey had over 2,400 yards from scrimmage and 24 total touchdowns for Arizona last year. He should be awarded this ranking on the merits of his game against Colorado alone, where he went for 366 yards and 5 scores.
Other than Allen and perhaps switching around the quarterbacks a bit, I think the folks at EA did a fine job. Is there anybody in particular you think was snubbed from the list?
Related coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
• Pat Forde: A look inside college football's 2013 schedules
• Low-budget schools again get short end of APR measuring stick
• Did NFL star Wes Welker commit an NCAA violation?