Why 2007 West Virginia was CFB's greatest video game team ever. Plus: A 6-foot-11 football player

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It’s another exciting week for EA Sports content! Let’s start with a look back at the college football team most beloved by gamers.

Cheat Codes: 2007 West Virginia, video game legends

As the long-awaited return of EA Sports’ College Football series nears (next Friday), The Athletic’s Chris Kamrani took a trip down memory lane to revisit the story of one of the series’ most loved teams.

In NCAA Football 2008, a speedy trio of QB Pat White and RBs Steve Slaton and Noel Devine — at the time identified by only their numbers, with fictional profiles — anchored a 2007 West Virginia roster dubbed by many to be one of the most entertaining teams in sports video games history.

“I will get introduced to people who will say, ‘You’re Pat White from the video game!” the former WVU star quarterback said.

I brought Chris in today to answer a few questions about his story (which you can read here).

What was the single most important factor that made West Virginia a cheat-code team?

Is “zoooooom” an acceptable word? Because that’s what it was all about with the Mountaineers: speed. Rich Rodriguez’s 11-2 team had the most prolific rushing attack in college football and was largely ahead of its time for its ability to deploy multiple run and option schemes with players who had blinding speed. The turbo button was your best friend. It was just about making the first guy miss. And the second. And third.

How did West Virginia’s success in the game impact its real-life locker room?

The players were just as excited to play as the fans. Unfortunately for them, it would often be released just a few weeks before fall camp, which wouldn’t exactly allow them a ton of time. Don’t get it twisted: They played and played often. The most anticipated part of the release was to see which players were given the designated “star” moniker as top players on each side of the ball.

In the story, you mention WVU being so fun that it helped the program in real-life recruiting. Could we see this trend resume for other teams?

It could be a positive, depending on the program. These days, anything once considered obscure can be part of a recruiting pitch to a player and their family. That WVU era proved a lot: That you can do things differently, employing different types of players, but if you’re fun to watch and play a tantalizing style of offense, the kids will be watching.

More CFB 25: Some of the 2024 teams that will be the most fun to try, including option offenses and under-the-radar rebuilds.

Realignment Results: Winners and losers from this round

We know realignment is driven by money, but winning is the only thing that matters to fans. It’s been one week since this year’s realignment shakeup became official, so which teams are actually better off in college football’s new world order?

The Athletic’s Stewart Mandel gave scores to all 67 powers, addressing each team’s ability to win more or less than they did in the previous setup (positive-5 = increased odds of success compared to before, minus-5 = uh-oh). I selected one team from each conference that scored on the minus side of the scale and made a case for how that team could outperform expectations. Let’s go:

ACC: NIL was the common denominator among many of the teams Stewart ranked as worse off in the new ACC. But if I had to pick a team to beat the odds, I’d side with Pitt (minus-2). The Panthers won the conference in 2021 and should be able to hold their own against some of the newcomers (I’m looking at you, Stanford and Cal).

Big Ten: Money aside, more Big Ten teams are worse off in the new world than those of any other power conference — partly because teams from the former West division now have to play more teams from the typically stronger East. Stewart gave Washington a minus-2 — alongside Indiana, USC and Illinois — but I have more faith in the Huskies maintaining their Pac-12 form.

Big 12: I can see why Stewart gave Utah a minus-1 — the Utes had a strong thing going in the Pac-12 and must now begrudgingly find their footing in a new conference. But the Utes are more consistent than any team in the Big 12. I see them as a top contender year in and year out.

SEC: Since this one was sure to stir the pot, I’ll make the case Oklahoma’s move to the SEC doesn’t decrease the Sooners’ odds of success enough to merit a minus-3. As Stewart mentions, over a span of 83 seasons from 1938 to 2021, OU claimed 47 Big 8/Big 12 championships. They won’t replicate that level of success in the SEC, but does an expanded CFP change the barometer for what makes a successful season? The Sooners’ chances of reaching the Playoff will be helped by having a big-bad SEC resume.

See Stewart’s entire list here.

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Adam Hagy / Overtime Elite

Too Tall: How a former pro hoops prospect wound up at UGA

Jah Jackson hasn’t played competitive football since middle school, but after committing to Georgia to play tackle, the 20-year-old freshman could be ready to make an immediate impact with the Bulldogs.

Jackson says he is 6-foot-11 (!!), tied with one other current college football player as the tallest in the country (Jacksonville State O-lineman Tom Hadary). He weighs in at 325 pounds. A few months ago, Jackson was on the verge of starting a pro basketball career — he went undrafted in last month’s NBA Draft but had offers to play professionally in Greece, Spain and in the G League. But, with the support of his family, his mind wandered back to football, eventually leading to his commitment to Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs.

Read Seth Emerson’s full story on Jackson’s unlikely path to Georgia here. It’s worth your time today.

Quick Snaps

Kenny Smith takes a broader look at the SEC and the biggest offseason movement from each program. Get up to speed here. Plus, listen to X-factors for each team on the Until Saturday podcast.

Over the weekend, Ohio State landed its 11th top-100 prospect in the 2025 class, LB Riley Pettijohn — beating out USC, Texas and Texas A&M to get him.

Also on the recruiting trail, the No. 1 wide receiver in the Class of 2025 committed to Oregon last week over offers from Texas, Ohio State and LSU.

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(Top photo: Streeter Lecka / Getty Images)

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