First of all, congratulations to the University of Michigan on your first National Title since 1997, beating the Washington Huskies 34-13. For a lot of the country, this was one of the most anticipated National Title games in some time, because it was the first since the inaugural CFP Championship in 2015 to NOT feature an SEC team.

But while many were anticipating a great game (which it was), others had ulterior motives for watching all the way through the game. Rumors swirled that a once-popular video game, NCAA Football, was going to make its triumphant return with a trailer at some point during the game.

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It was tragic for those of us who were excited to see the trailer, despite the good game we watched anyway, but it did raise some questions, like, who is going to be on the cover?

In the past, it's typically been graced by a high profile player from the previous season - typically a Heisman Trophy winner, or National Champion, with a few exceptions. So even though we didn't get the trailer last night, is it realistic to believe that EA Sports was waiting to see who won the National Championship, and who were the Players of the Game.

2024 CFP National Championship - Michigan v Washington
Getty Images

Who Will Be On the Cover?

There will likely be multiple versions and editions of the game released, but the prime version will likely feature someone in a Michigan Uniform. There was briefly some speculation that coach Jim Harbaugh might grace the cover, but with rumors of him returning to the NFL, that's unlikely now.

But if a player was to be picked, who could it be?

The most likely suspects are J.J. McCarthy and Blake Corum, who both had stellar games. McCarthy threw for 140 yards, and was 10/18 in passing, while Corum had 21 carries for 134 yards and 2 TDs. He was also named offensive player of the game.

But Corum is likely leaving for the NFL, and McCarthy's NIL price could go up exponentially soon.

Our next best guesses would be Michigan's "other" running back, Donovan Edwards, who had 2 TDs of his own on the night, or the defensive player of the game, Will Johnson, who is just a sophomore.

But regardless, it's fitting that Michigan will likely grace the cover of the return of NCAA Football, as the last edition, NCAA Football '14, featured Michigan QB Denard Robinson.


What Happened to the NCAA Football Video Game?

NCAA Football was hugely popular across most video game platforms when it was available. The first edition was released by EA Sports in 1997 and had Tommie Frazier from Nebraska on the cover. Then, on a yearly basis, the game would use either the Heisman winner, a player from the National Championship team, or any other prominent player from that season on the cover.

For 17 years, the game was a perennial favorite for both video game lovers, and football lovers.

But things came to a head in 2013, when it was deemed the gaming franchise was using the likeness of active players in the NCAA without their consent, and no compensation was being offered.

EA sports considered a version with no names, and "non-descript" player features, but the bottom line was, how could you create a game-accurate video game, without the specifics of a particular player's skills?

You can't, so, in 2013, EA Sports released the final version of the game. But something happened in 2019 that opened the door for NCAA Football to return, and that's NIL money. New NCAA rules would allow players to be compensated for use of their Name, Image, or Likeness in any capacity, which was the original problem with NCAA Football's video game series.

And after two years of working on the project, EA Sports announced in 2021 they would soon be returning with a version of College Football again for gaming consoles.

Two years ago, EA Sports further cleared the air by confirming a version of the game would be released in 2024, likely in the summer. So it's possible we won't see a trailer for the game in a little while, but it is a strong possibility you'll at least see SOMEONE in the Maize and Blue on the cover.

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