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Is EA Sports Keeping It Real with Big Ten ratings?

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Mike Carter-US PRESSWIRE

First off, sorry Denard has to be on the side of this page. Here are some things to make you feel better.

There you go. Just print off a custom MSU cover when you get the game.

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Something EA Sports has wanted to emphasize with NCAA '14 is the idea to "keep it real."

This means making the gameplay and other factors have more realism. You can watch the preview video here and read reviews of the game here and here.

Before the game comes out, everyone wants to know about ratings. We had a brief conversation about the team ratings when they first came out. How "real" were these compared to the general perception of the upcoming season? First, let's look at overall ranking, with the tiebreaker being the alphabet.

Screen_shot_2013-07-03_at_12

Ohio State and Michigan at the top. I think most people would agree with that. Some are high on MSU, while some aren't, but the schedule certainly helps. Nebraska is low, but there are major questions about the defense. The only one that really sticks out is Iowa. Coming off a 4-8 season, it seems like making a bowl game will be an accomplishment for the Hawkeyes. I also don't like seeing Indiana and Minnesota bring up the rear. The Hoosiers could have a decent team this year, though a tough schedule makes it hard for me to see a bowl game. The Gophers actually did make a bowl last year, and the third year is the big one for Jerry Kill at his previous stops.

So outside of Iowa, Indiana and Minnesota, I'd say the ranking here is pretty accurate.

Now, let's look at the offensive ratings.

Screen_shot_2013-07-03_at_12

Again, Ohio State and Michigan near the top feels right, as well as Nebraska being up there, though the Huskers may end up having the best offense of all. Then there's MSU in fourth place. If the Spartans have the fourth-best offense in the Big Ten, I think most fans will be jumping for joy. There are questions at just about every position. Still, there is talent at most of those positions, and I do think the offense will be better than last year. How much better? That's a good question.

After the top three, I'd put Northwestern and Indiana higher. Both have a load of offense weapons returning from some good offenses in 2012. But those schools tend to not get much respect. As for the rest, who knows how they'll look.

Let's look at the defenses.

Screen_shot_2013-07-03_at_12

MSU at the top makes sense. After that, Michigan and Ohio State could have good defenses, but there are legitimate questions at some positions. The Buckeyes have to find a new defensive line, while the Wolverines also have to find some replacements there. I think Iowa's defense, like its offense, is overrated here, and Penn State is underrated, but no real qualms with the rest of the list.

Thoughts on the ratings? Did EA Sports "keep it real?" And of course, if you have any stories where "keeping it real goes wrong," please share, even if it has nothing to do with sports.