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NCAA Football Video Game Simulation: Week 1 Highlighted By UTSA Upset, Alabama’s Blowout Win

NCAA Football Video Game Simulation: Week 1 Highlighted By UTSA Upset, Alabama’s Blowout Win article feature image
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Mike Calabrese/Action Network. Pictured: A screenshot from an updated version of NCAA Football 14.

The hallowed NCAA Football series was shuttered after its release in the summer of 2013. But thanks to the ingenuity of the folks over at College Football Revamped and Operation Sports, the game lives on with updated stadiums, jerseys and meticulously refined rosters.

The process to update all 131 college football teams year over year is an arduous one, requiring an editing team of nine. Each player is updated to reflect their real-life persona from height, weight, and equipment down to their electronically recorded 40-yard dash.

The editors at Operation Sport have crafted a proprietary formula that utilizes recruiting ratings, preseason and postseason honors, and NFL Draft projections. The result of all this hard work is a useful simulator for college football fans and bettors.

Now that their work is complete ahead of the 2022 college football season, it’s possible to play out college football games on the digital gridiron. Each week, I’ll be simulating the full FBS slate and reporting back with the interesting, and potentially lucrative, results.

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Biggest Upset of Week 1

A few teams ended up on “Upset Alert” on Saturday.

East Carolina, buoyed by a raucous Dowdy-Ficklen crowd in Greenville, led NC State 10-0 early before a pair of second-half interceptions by Holton Ahlers sealed the Pirates’ fate. The Wolfpack prevailed, 31-20.

Similarly, BYU got off to a slow start in Tampa against USF. A 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Brian Battie ignited the Bulls, who held a 17-13 advantage at halftime. The Cougars, to their credit, tightened up on defense in the second half, allowing just seven points in the final 30 minutes. BYU escaped, 34-20.

Not all of the ranked teams were so lucky in Week 1.

Frank Harris led an eight-play, 77-yard drive in the closing minutes to shock Houston in the Alamo Dome, 33-30. Zakhari Franklin reeled in the game-winning touchdown reception and tapped his feet down in the back of the end zone with 11 seconds remaining. The Group of Five All-American finished the game with 11 receptions for 122 yards and a pair of scores.

But the biggest upset of the week, on paper, came in Lexington, Kentucky.

Miami (OH), a 16.5-point underdog, knocked off the Cats on a 47-yard field goal from sophomore Graham Nicholson at the buzzer. Brett Gabbert finished the night 20-for-32 for 277 yards with three passing touchdowns.

The Wildcats desperately missed Chris Rodriguez Jr., with their reserve running backs fumbling three times and losing two. Will Levis was also picked off in the end zone late in the fourth quarter, setting the stage for the RedHawks’ final march. Miami (OH) 27, Kentucky 24.

Blowouts for Blue Bloods

Alabama wiped the floor with Utah State, 66-17, as Jahmyr Gibbs (24-1) launched his Heisman campaign with a 207 all-purpose yard day against Utah State.

Georgia contained Bo Nix for four quarters in Atlanta, waltzing to a 38-16 victory.

Ohio State also made a statement with a 45-21 victory over Notre Dame at the Shoe.

Statement Wins for National Dark Horses

Given the Razorbacks’ murderous schedule (four ranked opponents in the first seven weeks), K.J. Jefferson and company couldn’t afford to stumble out of the gate. They didn’t.

The Hogs ran for 233 yards and sent Evan Prater to the bench after his third turnover of the game, a tipped interception corralled by Alabama transfer Drew Sanders. The Hogs rolled, 35-17.

Cam Rising and Utah leaned on the run game to hold back Florida in the Swamp. Tavion Thomas rushed for 147 yards and two touchdowns, and Rising punched in a fourth-quarter score on a QB draw from the six-yard line to put the game out of reach. Utah 31, Florida 21.

And finally, on Labor Day evening, Clemson annihilated Georgia Tech, 44-0.

Interestingly, both DJ Uiagalelei and Cade Klubnik received reps, with Klubnik outshining the Tigers’ 2021 starter. The freshman phenom finished 13-for-16 for 177 yards and two touchdowns, all of which came in the second half.

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