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NCAA Football 13 Iowa State Season Sim: Cocaine’s a Hell of a Drug, EA Sports

AMES, IA - NOVEMBER 18:  Jared Barnett #16 of the Iowa State Cyclones throws a pass against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the fourth quarter at Jack Trice Stadium November 18, 2011 in Ames, Iowa.  (Photo by Reese Strickland/Getty Images)
AMES, IA - NOVEMBER 18: Jared Barnett #16 of the Iowa State Cyclones throws a pass against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the fourth quarter at Jack Trice Stadium November 18, 2011 in Ames, Iowa. (Photo by Reese Strickland/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Like all responsible adults I decided today was better served indoors and not dealing with this Iowa heat. Unlike responsible adults I spent the majority of it looking at a TV screen filled with NCAA Football 13 (before and after my foray to see The Dark Knight Rises). The fruits of this effort? A simulation of the 2012 football season and the trials and tribulations of Paul Rhoads' 4th season as head coach. Let's jump right in.

Weeks 1-3

Tulsa: L, 35-10

Iowa: L, 24-14

Western Illinois, W, 52-21

The first few weeks of the season are not what you anticipate for this Cyclones team. A sputtering offense and confused defense takes the field the first two weeks and immediately digs an 0-2 hole for a team that has no margin of error to get back to the postseason.

The Good: Shontrelle Johnson has 259 yards on 45 carries for an average of 5.7 yards per carry. James White has four receiving touchdowns (after having one in 2011). The defense has combined for 10 sacks over the course of 3 games.

The Bad: Jeremy Reeves is the leading tackler. Aaron Horne is the leading receiver with 123 yards on 4 receptions. Josh Lenz is second with 10 receptions for 100 yards.

The Ugly: Cole Netten is 2 for 5 on field goals. Jared Barnett has thrown for 7 interceptions and a 48% completion rate. Jake Knott is out for 4 weeks with a dislocated elbow, which obviously would never happen in real life. James Vandenberg leads the nation in passing.

Post Week 3 Heisman Leaders

Matt Barkley, QB, USC

Montee Ball, HB, Wisconsin

Kelvin York, HB, Utah

Marcus Lattimore, HB, South Carolina

EJ Manuel, QB, Florida State

Weeks 4-7


Texas Tech: L, 42-28

#13 TCU: L, 17-10

#10 Kansas State: L, 41-38

The start of Big XII play isn't any easier on the Cyclones as they drop three straight games to start conference play including two heart breaking and late losses against ranked foes. At this point it's looking bleak that the Paul Rhoads Special will happen in 2012.

The Good: Barnett has 5 rushing touchdowns, but in a stat that should be in The Bad category, is the team’s leading rusher at 315 yards. Nothing else is of note.

The Bad: Turnover differential is only -2 at this point, "good enough" for 83rd… Total offense is 56th nationally, rush offense is 65th, and pass offense 48th. Johnson has only added 124 yards over 3 games.

The Ugly: Pass defense ranks 103rd nationally with an overall defensive ranking of 94th. Jake Knott is currently doubtful due to his dislocated elbow. NCAA developers need to learn that JAKE KNOTT IS THE TOUGHEST MAN ALIVE. Willie Scott is out 5 weeks with a broken wrist.

Post Week 7 Heisman Leaders

EJ Manuel, QB, Florida State

Marcus Lattimore, HB, South Carolina

Knile Davis, HB, Arkansas

Montee Ball, HB, Wisconsin

Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas

Weeks 8-10

#13 Oklahoma State: W, 31-9

Baylor: W, 21-14

#5 Oklahoma: L, 49-7

EA Sports takes its first sniff of cocaine before these three weeks and gives the Cyclones a couple of much needed victories. Thank God we beat Baylor at home.

The upset over Oklahoma State was surprising enough but how the Cyclones did it was even more surprising. Of the 342 total offense yards, 209 of those came on the ground. Iowa State forced 3 turnovers while committing 2 and did all of this while still only scoring on 4 out of 7 attempts in the red zone. Hyped freshman quarterback Wes Lunt went 11 of 27 for 151 yards and two interceptions.

The Good: Shontrelle, White, and Barnett have combined for over 1,100 yards on the ground. Roosevelt Maggitt has 5 sacks through 9 games. Netten is 29-29 on extra points.

The Bad: There have been only 13 receiving touchdowns and 6 of those belong to White. Lenz is the leading receiver with 381 yards on 29 catches.

The Ugly: JAKE KNOTT IS STILL NOT PLAYING. Netten is 5-14 on field goals.

Post Week 10 Heisman Leaders

EJ Manuel, QB, Florida State

B.J. Daniels, QB, South Florida

Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas

Marcus Lattimore, HB, South Carolina

Montee Ball, HB, Wisconsin

Weeks 11-13

#9 Texas: W, 16-7

Kansas: W, 23-13

#19 West Virginia: W, 17-14

At this point the developers have started to sink into an addiction and their cocaine fueled programming has allowed Iowa State to rattle off three straight conference victories including 2 over ranked foes. These upsets catapult the Cyclones into postseason play yet again.

Texas drew first blood in the 2nd quarter but never saw the scoreboard again as Iowa State rattled off 16 straight points behind a balanced rushing attack and turnover free game. Texas’ 2 turnovers ultimately doomed any comeback attempt.

Kansas put together a late bid to cut Iowa State’s lead to 16-13 but a 49 yard touchdown run by James White with 1:44 remaining sealed the deal and move the Cyclones one step closer to bowl eligibility.

West Virginia came into Ames at 6-4 (3-4) and never got on track until they scored twice in the 2nd half to tie the game at 14-14. A game winning field goal by much maligned freshman Cole Netten with 1:02 left sealed the deal and sent the Cyclones bowling for the 3rd time in the Paul Rhoads era. 233 yards on the ground, including 138 by James White kept the Mountaineers off the field for a majority of the game and gave the Cyclones a 7 minute advantage in time of possession.

The Good: Three straight upsets. Yes, even Kansas was an upset as they were #22 the week prior. Paul Rhoads going from 64% job approval to 80% after taking down 2 ranked teams in the final 3 weeks to get bowl eligible. Jansen Watson garnering Big XII Player of the Week honors for an 8 tackle, 1 sack, 1 interception effort vs West Virginia. Iowa State has a winning conference record (5-4) for the first time since 2000 (5-3). White, Shontrelle, and Barnett have almost 2,000 yards rushing between them.

The Bad: Tom Farniok broke his wrist and will be out the rest of the season. Barnett is still upside down on TD/INT ratio at 16/17. Lenz tops out as the leading receiver with 518 yards.

The Ugly: Cole Netten is 10-21 on field goals.

Current Bowl Projection: Insight Bowl vs Iowa (8-4, 4-4)

Post Week 10 Heisman Leaders

EJ Manuel, QB, Florida State

Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas

Montee Ball, HB, Wisconsin

Marcus Lattimore, HB, South Carolina

B.J. Daniels, QB, South Florida


The Cyclones head back to Tempe for the 2nd time in 4 years to join a team heading to Tempe for the 3rd time in 3: the Iowa Hawkeyes, but before I get to a recap of the game let’s look at some final season stats.

Heisman Winner: EJ Manuel, QB, Florida State (1,566 points)

Iowa State Team Rankings

Points per Game: 86th

Total Offense: 72nd

Rush Offense: 58th

Pass Offense: 73rd

Total Defense: 58th

Rush Defense: 27th

Pass Defense: 87th

Turnover Margin: 67th (-1)

A.J. Klein was the only Cyclone to garner postseason honors with his placement on the All Big XII Second Team.

Final Big XII Standings

1. Kansas State 10-2 (7-2)

2. Oklahoma 10-2 (7-2)

3. Texas 9-3 (6-3)

4. Texas Tech 9-3 (5-4)

5. Iowa State 6-6 (5-4)

6. West Virginia 7-5 (4-5)

7. Oklahoma St 7-5 (4-5)

8. TCU 5-7 (3-6)

9. Kansas 6-6 (3-6)

10. Baylor 2-10 (0-9)

National Champion: Georgia (defeated USC 31-14)

In an eerily familiar setting, Iowa State once again goes to their backup quarterback in a bowl game. Unfortunately the results were largely the same. Iowa comes away with a 20-15 victory by holding Iowa State out of the end zone until Steele Jantz connects with Josh Lenz for a 7-yard touchdown with 3:56 left in the game. After the two point conversion failed the Cyclones had no chance of getting back into the game. Iowa State went 1-12 on 3rd down and never got much momentum going as they only muster 296 yards on the ground. It may have been an exciting way to get to a bowl game in 2012 but losing the last one after winning 5 of the last 6 would burn for the entire offseason.

This is the first time I have ever done a simulation like this and I greatly enjoyed looking at the stats at different points in the season and again only being a spectator for the events that were taking place on the virtual field. After winning five games by less than a touchdown in 2011 it is pretty easy to see Iowa State sinking back this year in close games.

During a .500 season you always look back at the games that got away and it’s easy to look back on narrow losses to Texas Tech, TCU, and Kansas State as "what could have been" but on the flip side there were 7, 9, 10, and 3 point wins that even allowed the Cyclones to reach a bowl game.

If we actually endured a Cyclone season like this it would be the most heart stopping thrill ride we’ve ever been a part of but I would guarantee a lot more gray hairs for everyone involved. This season had it all: multiple upsets at home and on the road, the patented Iowa State conference winning streak when all hope is lost, and the Annual Paul Rhoads Blowout. It’s ridiculous how uncanny that last one was with the 49-7 drubbing by Oklahoma immediately followed up with an upset to Texas.

It’s not often that art imitates life but this simulation hit close enough to home that I think we’ll be happy that video games aren’t used for any form of predictive analytics.

Now this is where EA's addiction turns into a full on Charlie Sheen-esque hookers, booze, and cocaine bender.

For shits and giggles I immediately simulated another season but with Steele Jantz at the helm. The result: 7-6 with an Insight Bowl win over Michigan, Iowa losing the national championship to Washington, and Texas A&M beating Mizzou for the SEC championship.

Cocaine IS a hell of a drug.

This post was sponsored by EA Sports NCAA Football 13. Check out the video for the game below.

EA SPORTS NCAA Football 13 TV: "Son" (via EASPORTS)