NCAA Football 11: First Look

Today, ESPN Games provided us with the first look at this year’s upcoming NCAA Football 11 from EA Sports. The good news? EA Sports has been listening to gamer’s desires. The game will feature new additions such as formation subs, dynamic conference logos, auto saving, pro-tak and, yes, Alabama fans, numbers on helmets.

A quick rundown over the features is enough to make us excited for football season even though it just ended a couple of months ago:

Formation subs

Formation subs were the most requested game feature according to the producers who sat down with ESPN. Now, as with older versions of the game for the PS2 and Xbox, gamers will be able to substitute players in for different formations and you can do it from the pause menu or from the main menu.


Pro-Tak, one of the new features implemented into Madden NFL 10, will be implemented into NCAA Football 11. The game feature, which enables gang tackles, will be updated to compensate for a small lag that the development noticed took place during games of Madden, but will essentially work the same way as it did in Madden. A strong running back or wide receiver will get pulled down by a huge gang of players, if necessary.

Referees on field

Referees, strangely absent from the field in recent NCAA Football games, will now be in the middle of the action. But, EA Sports insists that the referees won’t get in the way of the action. They have worked on the AI of the referees so that they are in the game but not in the midst of the action. The producers pointed out to ESPN that on older versions of NCAA Football, players could jump behind a referee and anticipate that he would stall an opposing defenseman, allowing an easy touchdown or long run and EA Sports wanted to make sure that such issues wouldn’t happen again. In fact, even though the real game of football sometimes includes referees in the action accidentally, the goal of EA Sports is to have them on the field but to not have them be invasive in the gameplay.

Auto-Load Rosters

One of the largest complaints from NCAA Football fans was that previous iterations of the game series would restore default rosters upon leaving a game mode. For instance, if you downloaded a custom roster and implemented it into your Dynasty mode it wouldn’t be available for Quick Play on the main menu. In NCAA Football 11, custom rosters will be available throughout the game without hindrance, allowing gamers to rename players or create players on teams and then carry those teams over to all the different game modes from Dynasty to Road to Glory.

Single Bowl Season

The bowl season in football is a three-week affair and in NCAA Football 10 it was, as well. But, due to numerous complaints, EA Sports has decided to change the way that the bowl season is dealt with in Online Dynasty mode. Rather than forcing players in BCS bowls to wait for several weeks to play their games, all players in an Online Dynasty will play their bowl games in the same week, regardless of whether that bowl game is the Motor City Bowl or the BCS National Championship. Less waiting time = more playing time.

Auto Save

NCAA Football 10 strangely didn’t feature auto save. Not having this feature obviously led to many complaints because of lost games and parts of seasons. It’s easy in the gaming world today to automatically turn off the Xbox or PlayStation after finishing a game. After all, in shooters and action titles and games across all spectrums, auto save exists to protect gamers from losing too much progress. It only makes sense to include the feature for sports games as well so that if you accidentally turn off your console assuming the game is saved, it will be. Which is a much better option than screaming and cursing and turning the console back on to discover that you’ve lost your come-from-behind win over Cal.

New Equipment

NCAA Football 11 will include new equipment for players. The new equipment options will range from new helmet types to improved customization abilities. Gamers can customize each arm of their players, choose from full-length sleeves, half-length, three-quarter length and more. They can choose different types of braces and even include towels and hand warmers for teams from those cold conferences like the Big East and Big Ten.

Numbers on Helmets

Alabama football fans complained gloriously about the fact that their famous football helmet styles were butchered in the previous NCAA games. Rather than including the gigantic player number on the side of each helmet, Alabama simply had a solid-colored helmet, and the developers of NCAA Football 11 have changed this. The football helmets are more dynamic now and it’s possible for helmets to reflect, in game, the players numbers not only on Alabama but also on custom teams.

Dynamic Conference Logos

One of the great features of NCAA Football 10 was the ability to create custom teams and edit conferences. You could switch teams from one conference to another and install a created team in a prestigious (or less than prestigious) conference but a problem arose when conference logos wouldn’t transfer over to conference switches. For instance, as ESPN puts it, if you placed Stanford in the WAC conference, Stanford’s home field would still have a PAC 10 logo. EA Sports says that it has completely revamped the conference logo feature to make it dynamic so that now, if you change Stanford to the WAC, their field will reflect the conference change, and the logo will also dynamically change colors based upon the teams colors. So, a Stanford WAC logo wouldn’t just be a standard black-and-white logo but a Cardinal Red logo.

You can check out the full article at ESPN and check out the very first screenshot from the game below.

Geoff Calver

Founder and Editor-in-Chief. Game lover. XBL Gamertag: GeoffCalver

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