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We broke down for a post-birthday splurge and cleaned out the Best Buy on Moreland Ave, running screaming from its tasteful brick edifice holding a sexy green box and the key to our eventual undoing, NCAA 2006. We'll be posting a full joint review with Stranko, but in the meantime, a few observations:
1. Right with MGoBlog here: bad, crappy, no-pass nasty 2005 is replaced with sleeker, friendlier 2006 edition. The option works, but not all the time; the pass works, but often only in streaks and not without balance. The game is now more about flow and rhythm than ever, and that may be it's greatest programming triumph.
2. We started a Heisman campaign with scrambling qb Orson Swindle, a freshman enrolled at Florida struggling to learn the complex Meyer playbook. We, by the way, look a little different on tv: 6'2", black as night with a blonde flat top and quads that would make Serena Williams look like a runway model, covered in all sorts of mismatched tape and accessories with a full cage facemask, mouthguard, eyeblack, and an orange visor. Standing still, we look rather silly; in motion, we're sex in spikes. We plan on winning the Heisman next year, if only to break one of the Heismandments in a virtual environment.

Reefer ain't got nothin' on NCAA 2006
3. The blocking animations are getting downright scary, from the little push blocks the wideouts toss on dbs to the flat-out pancake animations that require the runner to actually use the jump button to step over the decimated lineman. Back to the flow thing; though it started to emerge last year, the emphasis on movement and flow has come into its own in the '06 edition. When we got the linebackers stuttering in the wrong direction with the spread option, we paused and took a deep breath of exultation at all the majesty of the game.
4. There's a bigger emphasis on momentum in the game this year. Landslides, if not countered early, can get ugly. On the other hand, inferior teams can hang in a lot longer than they used to, so now you too can play UCF or Georgia Southern in Athens and scare the crap out of Mark Richt for three quarters before eventually getting salted away like so much cheap beef.
5. Hits. Bigger. Better. More important to momentum, since making them with your impact player--Brandon Siler, in UF's case--usually does something nice like jarring the ball loose or rupturing the spleen of the opposing qb. Your IP on the offensive side does the little things that kill, like leaning over the 1st down line on crucial third and gottas and making circus catches over the middle after you've missed a few passes in a row.
A long former to come, provided we tear ourselves away long enough from the many-corded demon long enough to type it...