Early NCAA Football 09 Online Impressions

Posted July 15th, 2008 at 7:54 am

While many of the EA Sports titles over the years have struggled in the area of online play (both in performance and lack of options) this has never been more evident than with NCAA Football 08. So naturally this was a major concern heading into the release of NCAA Football 09. EA assured the community that they were putting a great deal of effort into getting the game to run well. Have they achieved that goal? Here are some details and my current thoughts regarding 09’s online play.


So far through a handful of games all have been smooth and consistent. There is a slight sluggishness to it that for me affected the running game the most making it difficult to execute quick moves. Outside of that though it is very easy to adapt to and didn’t really diminish the experience. I was even able to play someone clear across the country who I have been unable to play in an EA Sports game the past several years due to crippling lag. Every game I have played so far is better than the best game I played with 08 online.

It might not be quite as good as the recent titles out of EA Canada (Live, NHL, FIFA) but very close. Of course results may vary but this is very encouraging. Online performance will need to be monitored over the next few days and beyond before final determinations can be made. Right now though I am extremely excited with the situation as it stands.

Menu Navigation/Time to Select Plays on Defense

Last year lag in menu screens during online play was horrendous. This has been fixed. The defense still has only seven seconds to select a play after the offense does, however this seems sufficient compared to last year when the button lag compounded the issue.


I wouldn’t have expected to discuss gameplay in the online impressions but after playing I feel as though it is different enough from playing offline that it should be noted. There has been no lack of pass rush. Both myself and my opponents have been able to pressure the QB well. I’ve seen occasional inaccuracy from QBs and more realistic stats out of them, which could possibly be attributed to the more consistent threat of pressure. The main issue I’ve had is the field goal kicking distance which continues to not have been addressed. Overall it seems to have a more balanced feel than the offline head-to-head games I played previously for whatever reason.


Played all the games on All-American. That presented realistic scores and statistics. Personally I don’t think bumping up to Heisman would be very beneficial.

Alternate Uniforms

Alternate uniforms are selectable for the home team. However there appears to be a glitch associated with that. In one game my opponent selected their alternate, they played with it, but on my end I saw their usual home jersey. From what I’ve heard this may be the case every time an alternate is chosen with the road team seeing the standard home jersey instead.


I played a few night games and one afternoon game. I believe the game makes the determination on this based on the time of day at the home stadium when the game is being played. I am not aware of a specific cutoff time when those kick in. It could also be based on the system time of the user playing at home. I’ll see if I can find out for certain.

EA Sports World

Something that blew me away was finding out that not only can you take highlight clips from online games, but you can also take screenshots from them. This apparently was possible last year too. Instead of clicking “A” on the replay you’ve selected click “X” and you’ll go into that replay in photo mode. They really need to add the icon so that people know it’s possible. Hopefully they take EASW to the next level next year with the replays like NBA Live 09 is doing (allowing free roaming cameras, cutting to different angles, changing speeds, sounds, and hopefully adding in music).

Game results and some stats can be found on your profile page in the “my performance” section by clicking more. You can also break them down by online only or solo only. Unfortunately stats are not kept for unranked games although the results are displayed.


Here are a few highlights from my online games of which I have yet to pull out a win. At least I have these to remember them by.

NCAA Football 09 Online UW TD Pass from Pasta Padre on Vimeo.
NCAA Football 09 Diving TD Catch from Pasta Padre on Vimeo.

NCAA Football 09 FG Miss Return from Pasta Padre on Vimeo.