Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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EA Sports College Football 25: Georgia, Ohio State lead projected top-10 teams ahead of video game’s release

The wait for a genuine college football video game is almost over. EA Sports recently revealed its much-anticipated “College Football 25” title will drop on July 19. Then, it shared a trailer showcasing gameplay footage and several small details that should have fans even more excited. 

As with any release in the sports gaming genre, it’s always interesting to see what the developers think of the teams included. “College Football 25” is an especially difficult undertaking. The EA Sports team is tasked with assigning numerical values to 134 Football Bowl Subdivision teams and well over 10,000 athletes to quantify relative team quality. 

Overall team ratings are typically based on player averages, so the teams with more accomplished athletes — or, in this case, a good collection of former blue-chip prospects — will have a higher overall rating. 

It’s possible, then, to project the direction EA Sports will take when it comes to rating teams for “College Football 25.” If the past is any indication, players and teams will be rated on a scale from 0-99, with the general average somewhere in the high 70s or low 80s. 

Teams with an overall 99 rating are rarified air, though we have seen a few — like Alabama in “NCAA Football 14” (the last college football video game title).

With all that in mind, here’s a prediction of the 10 highest-rated teams in “College Football 25.”

Oklahoma — 91 Overall 

Offense: 90 | Defense: 92 

Oklahoma certainly has the talent to make some noise in its first year as an SEC program. The Sooners’ success hinges on the development of new starting quarterback Jackson Arnold, a former five-star recruit who played sparingly last year. It helps Arnold that Oklahoma has an impressive crop of skill talent at his disposal. Wide receiver Nic Anderson is a touchdown machine and Purdue transfer Deion Burks could emerge as one of the nation’s best playmakers. But the Sooners are hampered by an offensive line that has to replace all five starters. Defensively, Oklahoma has a pair of potential All-Americans in Ethan Downs and Danny Stutsman, plus a well-rounded secondary with plenty of veterans. 

Michigan — 92 Overall 

Offense: 87 | Defense: 96 

Michigan has to replace 13 NFL Draft picks and some other key departures from its 15-0, national championship-winning 2023 squad. A lot of those losses came on offense, where stalwarts like quarterback J.J. McCarthy, running back Blake Corum and receiver Roman Wilson are gone. Wolverines running back Donovan Edwards, a cover athlete for “College Football 25,” will likely see a nice initial rating, and expected starting QB Alex Orji could be fun to play with given his athletic ability. But Michigan’s defense is carrying a lot of water here. The Wolverines are still loaded with potential draft picks on that side of the ball. Defensive lineman Mason Graham and cornerback Will Johnson lead the way as bona fide first-rounders. 

Penn State — 92 Overall 

Offense: 89 | Defense: 95 

Penn State’s offense is a bit further along than Michigan’s, at least in terms of experience. Former five-star prospect Drew Allar is back at quarterback after an up-and-down first season as a starter. If all else fails, the Nittany Lions can ride one of the nation’s best running back tandems in Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen. Both will certainly be rated, at the very least, in the upper 80s. The wide receiver position is concerning, to say the least, and the offensive line has some big shoes to fill with Olu Fashanu gone. It will be interesting to see how Abdul Carter, a versatile defender with a past as an off-ball linebacker, ranks as a defensive end now that he’s filling Chop Robinson’s role. 

Ole Miss — 93 Overall 

Offense: 94 | Defense: 92 

Ole Miss will be an interesting option in the game, if only because of all the transfers that need a role. Self-professed “portal king” Lane Kiffin lived up to the name this offseason, hitting the market hard to improve his team across the board. That was especially true on defense, where the Rebels overhauled the secondary and secured the services of Texas A&M defensive line transfer Walter Nolen, who should be one of the highest-ranked linemen in “College Football 25” with an upside to play on Sundays. Though not a transfer this year, quarterback Jaxson Dart is back for his third year as a starter. Receivers like Tre Harris will make things easy for him. 

Notre Dame — 94 Overall 

Offense: 91 | Defense: 97 

Duke quarterback transfer Riley Leonard was once heralded as a first-round prospect, but recent injuries have hampered his pro potential. If healthy, he gives the Fighting Irish great rushing ability with an arm to boot. Notre Dame’s defense is the real star of the show, though. Coach Marcus Freeman has built a loaded secondary with a pair of all-stars in cornerback Benjamin Morrison and safety Xavier Watts — the 2023 Bronko Nagurski Award winner. Those two alone will make it very hard for opposing offenses — both in real life and in “College Football 25” — to move the ball through the air. 

Alabama — 94 Overall 

Offense: 94 | Defense: 93 

This may not be the same Alabama team that we’ve come to expect given Nick Saban’s retirement, but former Washington boss Kalen DeBoer inherits a roster that still has the makings of an SEC competitor. Quarterback Jalen Milroe seems tailor-made for a video game with his freakish athletic ability and live-wire arm. Once a slight concern, the offensive line is buoyed by the return of Kadyn Proctor, a former five-star prospect and the top player from 247Sports’ transfer rankings. Alabama has a great linebacker tandem in Deontae Lawson and Jihaad Campbell, but the Crimson Tide lack a pass-rushing superstar after producing consecutive first-rounders Will Anderson Jr. and Dallas Turner. Transfers like Domani Jackson (USC) and Keon Sabb (Michigan) bring plenty of upside to a secondary that must replace a ton of production.

Texas — 95 Overall 

Offense: 97 | Defense: 93 

Texas starter and EA Sports cover athlete Quinn Ewers will, at the very least, be one of the two highest-rated quarterbacks in the game. Wide receiver Isaiah Bond, offensive tackle Kelvin Banks and running back CJ Baxter will likely join him in that upper echelon. The Longhorns have a lot of offensive firepower. The defense has its fair share of standouts, with excellent safeties and a well-rounded group of linebackers. On the downside, Texas does have to replace a pair of NFL Draft picks (T’Vondre Sweat and Byron Murphy) along the defensive line and both of its starting boundary cornerbacks following Terrance Brooks’ recent decision to transfer to Illinois. 

Oregon — 96 Overall 

Offense: 96 | Defense: 95 

Oregon is positioned well to push for a Big Ten title in its first season in the conference. The Ducks may have a smooth transition at quarterback, going from 2024 first-round pick Bo Nix to Oklahoma transfer Dillon Gabriel, who has amassed almost 15,000 yards passing in his career. He’s a perfect fit for what the Ducks like to do offensively. Texas A&M wide receiver transfer Evan Stewart will be a blast to use in “College Football 25”; he’s the headliner in a great group of wideouts that also includes Tez Johnson, who holds Oregon’s single-season receptions record (86). Coach Dan Lanning has built a fantastic defense, with instant-impact playmakers like former Washington cornerback Jabbar Muhammad and ex-Kansas State safety Kobe Savage. 

Ohio State — 97 Overall

Offense: 95 | Defense: 99 

Ohio State’s new-look offense is led by offensive coordinator Chip Kelly, who brings an inside zone rushing scheme that looks first towards pounding the rock. Luckily, the Buckeyes are equipped with the right personnel to do that. Ole Miss running back transfer Quinshon Judkins does his best work between the tackles, while TreVeyon Henderson is a one-cut runner who can turn an inch of space into a significant gain. Kansas State QB transfer Will Howard’s power-running style adds an extra dimension and, if translated properly, will be unique to utilize in “College Football 25.”

The defense is in a different stratosphere. From top to bottom, there aren’t any holes. The cornerback room reads like a list of all-conference selections with Davison Igbinosun, Jordan Hancock and Denzel Burke at the top. Alabama safety transfer Caleb Downs was a freshman All-American and already looks like the game’s best backend player despite his relative youth. Add in a defensive line anchored on the ends by Jack Sawyer and J.T. Tuimoloau, and you have an embarrassment of riches at your disposal on that side of the ball.

Georgia — 98 Overall 

Offense: 98 | Defense: 99 

Few coaches know how to build a roster better than Kirby Smart. He’s been a recruiting machine since he was hired to replace Mark Richt in 2016, and there’s a clear reason that the Bulldogs are consistently in the national title picture. Quarterback Carson Beck, a relative unknown this time last year, profiles as college football’s best with his poise and arm talent. He’s got an underrated group of wide receivers, a dynamic backfield with a thunder/lightning combo in Roderick Robinson II and Trevor Etienne, and arguably the best offensive line in America. And what else can be said about Georgia’s defense at this point? The Bulldogs accrue elite defenders at an absurd clip and always reload, no matter what losses they may have incurred during the offseason. 

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