In my hands…

NCAA 2008The college football season starts right now!

(actually, it starts in about an hour, after dinner and the kids are bathed. So almost now)

Update: Okay, I’ve been able to put a couple hours in so far. One huge glaring problem I have is the absence of the “Create-a-school.” I was aware that this feature was left out of NCAA 07 but I thought it surely would have been left in the game. Disappointing! No University of North Royalton Bears Dynasty this year. (I should have known better, of course. This is EA we’re talking about. It will be “in the game” next year.) That means I’ll probably take over as the Kent State coach and take them to the national championship. I wanted to stay in Ohio and have a 1-star team, so that’s my only option.

Outside of that issue — ME LIKEY. I’ll have a more comprehensive review/post up after I get a few hours with the Dynasty mode in.

Presenting the Men of the Scarlet and Gray

If you’ve been reading buttonmashing.com for longer than a few months, you’ll know that I’m a big sports fan. “Big” is actually an understatement. I love sports. Interspersed between my incoherent rants and ramblings about video games you’ve probably noticed mention of the “Men of the Scarlet and Gray”. Men of the Scarlet and Gray (as praised in the OSU Fight song, the Buckeye Battle Cry) are, of course, members of the many Ohio State University sports teams. My love for all things Buckeyes runs deep. Possibly even deeper than my love of video games. I’ve blogged about their exploits in great detail over the past couple years. It’s been a lot of fun but I never saw sports as a topic people came to buttonmashing.com for.

So with that in mind, I have launched a new sports blog named “Men of the Scarlet and Gray” (MotSaG for short) with some blog buddies (including the Monkey and the Conservative Buckeye). From now on, you’ll find my “Buckeye Blogging” over there, along with other musings on the state of sports in Ohio. While Ohio State football will be the primary focus, we’ll also be discussing things such as the Indians, Browns and Bengals, Cavs and anything else along the I-71 corridor. (I’m “el Kaiser” at MotSaG)

So those of you that ignored my sports posts in the past can rest assured that they’ll only get a passing mention here, and those of you who enjoy talking about sports and video games are more than welcome to add MotSaG to your reading list, whether you’re a fan of the Buckeyes or not. We’re all sports fans, and that makes us equals.

Unless, of course, you root for the Wolverines.

Magazine covers and EA Sports

OHIOSTATEV22-COPY.jpgIf you’re a sports fan and you’ve perused the magazine rack at your local bookstore, you’ll notice most of the pre-season rags will have an athlete from your favorite team on the cover. “Cool,” you think, “everyone will see the great Troy Smith on the cover of Althon Sports pre-season magazine.” Well, not everyone. Some will see Troy and Brady Quinn. Others will see Brady and USC’s Dwayne Jarrett. It’s a simple and ultra-effective marketing technique — sell the fans what they want. I know I am immediately drawn to the covers adorned with the scarlet and gray. I might not always buy one, but I’ll at least pick it up and thumb through it.

Fans of EA Sports have been using photoshop for a long time to do the same thing. Every year, while speculating of who will be on the cover of the next NCAA or Madden, fans help out EA and design the cover with who they think deserves to be the next cover. Fanblogs.com has collected a ton of NCAA 2007 covers and posted them on Flickr.

It got me thinking about the marketing that sport magazines use and how EA does it. While it is an honor (and a curse) to be on the cover of an EA sports title, I wonder how many more they would sell if they “customized” the covers for different regions. It would be tricky for a couple reasons: you can’t have a current NCAA player on the cover (nixing my Ted Ginn Jr. dream) and there are only 32 teams in the NFL. Nevertheless, I still think it would work. Sure, this year Reggie Bush was honored with the cover (and rightfully so) but if I was a Texas fan, I’d much rather buy a copy of NCAA 2007 with Vince Young gracing the cover, not the chump your team beat in the Rose Bowl.

Me? I’d personally like to see A.J. Hawk on the cover of my copy.

Buckeye Blogging, basketball style!

osu_sylvester.jpgI know I don’t mention the Buckeye cagers a lot (come on, there’s way more games to watch) but today was OSU vs. Michigan in ESPN’s “Rivalry Week.” While I would disagree that OSU and Michigan are rivals when it comes to basketball (that honor would go to the Bobby Knight-led Indiana Hoosiers) but it still is Michigan and Ohio State, so I’ll give ESPN a bye on that one. It was a good game, with the Buckeyes absolutely shredding the net with the three-pointer in the first half. They ended up winning 94-85, which is a huge road win for anyone in the Big Ten. Go Bucks!

Funny thing is, the best part of the game was around the eleven minute mark of the 2nd half, the showed a little clip of the OSU/Michigan football game. They highlighted the Gonazales catch. You might remember that great catch, but in case you forgot, you can check it out here. I know it sounds sad that the best part of a OSU basketball is an OSU football highlight, but that’s how we roll in Columbus. We really, really like our basketball team, but we LOVE our football team.

The catch still gives me the chills.

Dan Fouts

If you’ve watched college football on ABC, you’ve had to survive Dan Fouts and his cliche machine. Musberger is no better, switching allegiances faster than Benedict Arnold, but Fouts is the worse (if you exclude Kieth Jackson’s senility). Read “A Moment with Dan Fouts” from the Phat Phree. Hilarious stuff.