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NCAA '08 Rankings and Ratings Released

For the modern college football fan, the release of EA Sports' NCAA Football video game has become every bit the rite of summer that the day the college football preview magazines hit the stands is.

The 2008 edition of the game (I've never understood why the year in the title never corresponds with the one of the season that the game is based on) is set to be released on July 17, but impatient gamers will be happy to know that several details, including the game's Top 25 and several teams' "impact players," have already been unveiled.

Louisville's ranking of 11 in the game is fairly consistent with its place in the top 25's of the major preseason magazines and media writers. The Cards were sixth in last year's game.

The bad news is that former Cardinals head coach Bobby Petrino has lit off for the NFL, as well as the inevitable headache of trying to turn the Atlanta Falcons' Michael Vick into a quarterback. The good news is star quarterback Brian Brohm turned down a shot at the NFL in order to try to bring a title to Louisville. Brohm will prove to be the make-or-break element in Louisville's 2007 campaign, as his outstanding 3,049-yard, 16-touchdown, 5-interception season helped push him into legitimate Heisman hype for 2007. Last season saw the Cardinals overhaul their receiving corps and, with a year of experience under their hats, this could be another big year for Louisville's pass-happy offense. Along with Big East challengers like West Virginia and Rutgers, Louisville is helping lead the Big East back into respect in the NCAA. Its final three games against West Virginia, USF (who upset the Cardinals in 2005), and Rutgers will be the trio that fully tests the team's mettle.

Also consistent with most preseason polls, USC is EA Sports' choice as the top team in the land. The Trojans are followed by Michigan, LSU, defending national champion Florida and Texas. The highest ranked Big East team is West Virginia at #6, and Rutgers checks in at #20.

U of L's three "impact players" for 2008 (or 2007) are Brian Brohm (98 overall rating), Harry Douglas (89 overall rating) and Brandon Cox (89 overall).

Cool sleeves BB

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't surprised with the selection of Cox, especially considering the season Malik Jackson had a year ago. Not that Cox doesn't possess the ability to be the guy on defense, but it just seems that given what we've seen to this point Jackson, Grady or even Peanut would have been more appropriate selections. Then again we're talking about an aspect of a video game, so I'm not sure why I'm even debating this.

The other cool thing about this year's game is that for the first time Papa John's Cardinal Stadium made the "Toughest Places to Play" top 25. PJCS, home of the nation's second longest home winning streak, checks in at #24.

Just ten days until you can virtually pummel Murray State repeatedly for the five weeks until you get to witness the real thing firsthand.