Originally written on Crystal Ball Run  |  Last updated 11/15/14
And then there were two men standing. EA Sports announced yesterday that the cover vote for NCAA Football 14 had officially been trimmed down to two players, Michigan's Denard Robinson and Texas A&M's Ryan Swope. Robinson always appeared to be one of the favorites for the cover despite his lack of production under center, but A&M's Swope is proving that the underdog still has plenty of bite. The casual college football fan will be forgiven if you are still left wondering just exactly who Swope is. After all, he is hardly a household name. Swope is currently ranked 22nd overall among wide receivers by National Football Post with a draft grade suggesting a potential fourth-round draft pick selection. Our friends over at Optimum Scouting tend to feel similarly. Swope had a solid season for the Aggies but his 913 receiving yards and eight touchdowns easily gets lost in the shuffle (eighth in the SEC in receiving yards), especially when Johnny Manziel was busy setting the football world on fire and offensive tackle Luke Joeckel was being heralded as a worthy number one overall pick. But here he is, looking to represent Texas A&M on the cover of the NCAA Football franchise for the first time in school history. ESPN's sports media reporter Darren Rovell suggested he wanted to see if Swope appearing on the cover of the game would yield any difference in copies of the game sold.   Hoping NCAA Football game has Ryan Swope on the cover. Would be a good experiment on if bad cover athlete hurts sales. — darren rovell (@darrenrovell) February 26, 2013   The answer, of course, is no. Sure, there may be a few more copies sold in and around College Station, Texas but I would take an educated guess that the nationwide sales of the game would not take any more of a hit for having Swope on the cover as it would for having any other player. Like the Madden NFL franchise, albeit on a slightly smaller scale, the NCAA Football franchise has reached a point where the same product can receive a few tweaks and graphic enhancements form year to year and be sold to the same audience. The fans who purchase the NCAA Football title are not going to refrain from buying the game based on who is on the cover. They will buy it to play against their friends, classmates and others around the world through the wonders of network gaming. It does not matter to these people if Denard Robinson or Ryan Swope or Kenjon Barner or Lee Corso is on the cover. Last year NCAA Football 13 featured Baylor's Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Robert Griffin III on the cover. We all know RG3 has become a clear superstar after one year in the NFL. His rise to fame brought attention to Baylor, of all football programs, in a season once again dominated by the SEC. But sales were relatively sluggish with RG3 on the cover. I would suggest this is because to the NCAA Football audience there was not enough reason to pick up the newest version of the game after shelling out money for NCAA Football 12 (oh, and NCAA Football 13 did not even have all of the teams). But was it because Griffin III came from Baylor, a program that has always been in the shadows of larger programs in their own conference, no matter the conference? Does Rovell have a point? The anecdotal evidence, last season aside, may back his argument. Last summer gaming website Pasta Padre took a look at the sales numbers of the franchise. NCAA Football 11 had opening sales eight percent higher than NCAA Football 10. NCAA Football 10 had a different cover athlete depending on the port but NCAA Football 11 had Tim Tebow on the cover. Featuring Tebow on the cover was a no brainer it seemed, and perhaps sales were boosted by his appearance slightly. NCAA Football 12 featured Alabama's Mark Ingram on the cover, and once again opening sales for the game skyrocketed, jumping to 15 percent higher than the NCAA Football 11 sales figures. Did having Heisman Trophy winners from Florida and Alabama help boost the sales? If so, what was NCAA Football 13's excuse, with not one but two Heisman winners? Then there is my own empirical data. I have been a long time supporter of the NCAA Football franchise. I do not buy the game every season as some might. Instead I may pick up a copy or two during a particular console's lifespan. I have a copy of NCAA Football 2004 for the GameCube (don't laugh) within an arm's reach from my desk and my Road to Glory in NCAA Football 12 has resulted in quarterback play the Texas Longhorns could only dream of having the last couple of seasons. Over the years I have purchased seven different versions of the game, and not one time did I take in to consideration the cover athlete appearing on the cover. When it comes to video games there is a certain level of marketing needed to produce a strong consumer base. Any EarthBound fan may be able to tell you that. EA Sports has been fortunate to be able to build up a loyal consumer base as well as branch out to the more casual football fans. Their brand commands a certain level of consumer respect, regardless of how you feel about their business practices. But when it comes to sports games in particular, gamers need a reason to hand over $60 for a game year after year. Road to Glory was a terrific adaption of a sound philosophy. The Heisman Challenge failed to take things to the next level. What NCAA Football 14 offers or does not offer will have much more to say about the value of the game to consumers than the cover. Will you buy or not buy NCAA Football 14 based on who the cover athlete is.   Kevin McGuire is the national college football writer for Examiner.com and host of the No 2-Minute Warning podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Google+and Facebook. Follow Crystal Ball Run on Twitter and Facebook.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

James Harden wants some help in the backcourt

Lightning reach Stanley Cup Final with Game 7 win

Devon Still: Daughter has complications with transplant

Rivers denies report of problems with CP3 and Jordan

Orlando Magic hope Skiles can right sinking ship

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Falcons waive Shembo over animal cruelty charges

Report: Tom Brady’s suspension appeal hearing set for June 23

Peterson is wrong (sorta): NFL players have great power

Scout: A-Rod 'looks like he doesn't give a (expletive)'

Belichick mum on Deflategate in first remarks since discipline

Dwight Howard suspended for first game of 2015-16 season

10 NFL storylines that headlined the past week

Blackhawks-Ducks Game 7 preview: Key players, prediction

Women’s World Cup power rankings: Which teams have the best shot at hoisting the trophy?

NBA Finals: A series 39 years in the making

WATCH: San Diego State player steals home to seal win

St. Thomas pitcher Ben Ancheff takes internet by storm

WATCH: Josh Hamilton hits first two homers of the season

Did Andrew Bogut take a shot at Mark Jackson?

$70 million Reebok deal is bad for UFC fighters

If the Warriors win the NBA title, the parade will be for Oakland

SEC no longer allows transfers with 'serious misconduct' issues

Klay Thompson officially diagnosed with concussion

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Lightning reach Stanley Cup Final with Game 7 win

Devon Still's daughter has complications with transplant

$70M Reebok deal is bad for UFC fighters

If the Warriors win the title, the parade will be for Oakland

Peterson is wrong (sorta): NFL players have great power

Dwight Howard suspended for first game of 2015-16 season

Four QBs set to take step back in 2015

Spelling Bee co-champ wears LeBron jersey under shirt

Top 10 stories from 2015 NBA Playoffs

Rangers-Lightning Game 7 preview

The can't-miss Prince Fielder

Chip Kelly: Tebow is a quarterback

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.