Tennessee, EA, and You: A Qualitative Comparison

Now starring at QB in NCAA14: this guy, who nobody's heard of apparently. - USA TODAY Sports

There's a whole wide world out there beyond the SEC, and some of them have better offenses than Tennessee in NCAA14. Like Iowa.

Part 2 of a 2-part series. Part 1 can be found here.

In which we keep it real, and by "keep it real" I mean "see what the rest of the world thinks about how Tennessee stacks up." Will took care of talking about the entire SEC, so instead of going that route we'll opt to see how Tennessee compares to other teams.

Tennessee, if you'll recall (or, y'know, you can go buy the game and make fun of me if I'm wrong), is an 86 overall with 84 offense and 88 defense. This seems ...decent enough in theory - the passing game is nothing but question marks, the running game should be good but may not be world-beating, and the defense is going to carry the team as long as it looks like they have half a clue.

So, what other teams are an 86 overall? That list looks like this:

- Arizona

- Boise State

- Boston College

- Georgia Tech

- Kansas State

- Maryland

- Northwestern

- Texas Tech

- Utah

My only explanations for Boise State and Kansas State ending up here consist of either a) moonshine or b) not being able to take coaching into account. On the other end, Boston College and Maryland appear to have paid someone off, so I'm glad to see their fans getting behind their teams. Other than that, that seems to be a decent enough group for a Tennessee squad who likely won't be top-third. (Also, now is a good time to bring up that I know absolutely nothing about Utah, but we'll see them again shortly.)

Lest y'all think this isn't just me, I asked I_S his thoughts:

Maryland definitely paid somebody off. Have they even hired a coach to replace The Fridge yet? Do they even still have a football team? Or is half the rating based on "ability to blow four-touchdown lead against NC State"?


Also, Georgia Tech should have two ratings, a 90 for when they play Clemson or Southern Cal or the like and a 75 for when they play Miami. Or MTSU.

Of course, there are a bunch of teams above an 86 overall. Some notable ones:

- Arkansas

- Auburn

- Baylor

- Iowa

- Miami

- Mississippi State

- Missouri

- North Carolina

We already knew about the SEC teams, but hey, one more time for old times. Baylor checks in at 90, which is historically baffling but honestly? That's probably fair. Art Briles has done well, and it probably hasn't hurt that Mack Brown has started to hit the skids a bit. Of that other crew, they clearly look like the front-runners for College Football Underachiever of the Year 2013. In related news, Iowa still employs Greg Davis,

Yet again, I_S chimes in:

Auburn proves that these ratings are driven by recruiting talent and are not affected by the "entire team imploding and/or transferring" factor.

I_S actually raises a good point, but not about NCAA14: we're gonna be in great shape next year the way things are going with Butch Jones' recruiting acumen.

Okay, so who else has an 84 offense?

- BYU

- Connecticut (BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO)

- Fresno State

- Kansas

- Kentucky

- NC State

- Purdue

- San Diego State

- Tulsa

- Utah

- Vanderbilt

There's a distinct gap between the mid-majors and the majors in the game (see: Boise State's overall rating of 86), and once you get below the mid-80s, you start to see a bunch of mid-major level offenses. Kansas is the outlier here, of course; I can only assume this was a rounding error since 8.4 wasn't an option. There's also probably a joke in here about Purdue and virtual ACLs but I can't quite make it work, so have at it in the comments.

And yes, a Butch Jones offense - sight unseen - is as good as a James Franklin offense.

I_S:

Oh, the James Franklin joke has already been made? I wasn't aware that Connecticut made any attempt to run an offense. Have I been misinformed, or is this a different team than the one that put up 7 points on NC State last year? Or the one that put up 14 on Temple? Or the one that put up 10 on Syracuse? Or the one that put up 6 on South Florida? Or the one that put up 3 on Rutgers? You get the idea.

Ostensibly, I'd like to look at that rating of 84 and raise some real questions about the perceived quality of Tennessee's skill positions (which are pretty much legitimate), but honestly? I can't get past LOLVANDERBILT, and ...that statement puts the last couple seasons in stark relief. Let's move on.

The list of who's above Tennessee is kind of fun:

- Arkansas

- Auburn

- ECU

- Illinois

- Iowa (again)

- Maryland

- Miami

- Mississippi State

- Missouri

- North Carolina

- Penn State

- Rutgers

- Virginia

Spoiler: Iowa's going to rate above Tennessee in defense, too. Maryland and Rutgers are buoyed by a new conference, I think, since I'd be hard-pressed to name, um, anyone save Stefon Diggs on either team, and I live half an hour from Maryland's campus.

And yet, both of them make more sense than Illinois and Virginia. Missouri, for the record, isn't that surprising, nor is Auburn. Arkansas may or may not be; Bielema is the guy whose transition to SEC play I have the most questions about, especially given the shape the team was in last season.

I_S:

Are they aware that Iowa had the second worst scoring offense in the Big Ten last year? Which I'm pretty sure, after applying the B1G Conversion Scale (BCS) puts them in the middle to bottom third of the SoCon. What about how Illinois' offense was worse than Iowa's? Do they know that?

This is also where I'd like to note that AIRBHG (Angry Iowa Running Back Hating God) is not in any NCAA version to the best of my knowledge. ACLs exploding randomly during Iowa games would add a strong flavor of realism, along with LSU occasionally forgetting what down it is and converting a 4th and 12 with a QB sneak from their own 6.

Lastly, who else has an 88 defense along with the Vols?

- Baylor

- Georgia

- Georgia Tech

- Louisville

- Miami

- Oklahoma

- Ole Miss

- Texas A&M

- Wisconsin

This looks a little all over the map thematically. No offense, Baylor. (Also, no offense Georgia - I have questions about their defense, but not 88-on-defense level questions. Think more "can they win the SEC" level questions.) Oklahoma seems slightly misplaced, too - 88 looks like it's the annals of the good, but not great, which ...kind of describes Oklahoma? I guess?

The "random teams above Tennessee" list isn't as much fun when you get to an 89-or-higher defense:

- Auburn

- Iowa

- North Carolina

- Washington

Make your own jokes. And yes, I included Washington in there for Justin Wilcox, and because there's a chance Hooper's going to read this, so feel free to crow about him in the comments. Have at it.

Also, this has nothing to do with the tenor of this post, but given Alabama's ratings (which, um, are kind of justified and Saban's really ready to ply his trade at the next level again) Alabama is totally going to be that team who people who don't know how to play the game play online and rack up absurd W-L totals. (See: any Chelsea team from FIFA 2011 to FIFA 2013.) Am I bitter about this? You better believe it.

All the ratings are here, by the way.

So, with that being said, how do the ratings seem to me? They're fair, for the most part. The defense should get a dump on account of not being run by Sal Sunseri, and since - I think, and y'all can correct me if I'm wrong - skill position ratings factor heavily into offense ratings, Tennessee getting hit there makes sense. it's not ideal, but hey. We'll manage.

So: do these relative ratings make sense to you?

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