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Comparing ACC Player Rankings With NCAA 14

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Logan Thomas (90) and especially unproven backup Mark Leal (88) are two examples of how EA Sports may overvalue Hokies players in this year's game. Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images.
Logan Thomas (90) and especially unproven backup Mark Leal (88) are two examples of how EA Sports may overvalue Hokies players in this year's game. Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images.

Earlie this month, we at Football.com released the Top 25 players in the ACC, as voted on by a panel. While it caused a hot debate — as nearly every list does — most concluded that the list contained most of the best players in the conference.

EA Sports' NCAA 14 was released Tuesday and it made me wonder, how close are the ratings between the players in the game are to how we rated them 1-25? To review, let's look at the Top 25 players in the ACC according to Football.com along with their NCAA 14 overall rating in parenthesis.

1. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson (95)

2. Duke Johnson, RB, Miami (91)

3. Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson (95)

4. Stefon Diggs, WR, Maryland (88)

5. Lamarcus Joyner, DB, Florida State (90)

6. Christian Jones, LB, Florida State (91)

7. Bryn Renner, QB, North Carolina (93)

8. Jeremiah Attaochu, LB, Georgia Tech (87)

9. Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State (90)

10. Jack Tyler, LB, Virginia Tech (88)

11. Eric Ebron, WR, North Carolina (83)

12. James Hurst, OT, North Carolina (89)

13. Michael Campanaro, WR, Wake Forest (85)

14. Antone Exum, DB, Virginia Tech (90)

15. Tre Boston, S, North Carolina (90)

16. Stephen Morris, QB, Miami (90)

17. Kevin Pierre-Louis, LB, Boston College (88)

18. Rashad Greene, WR, Florida State (90)

19. Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech (90)

20. Devonta Freeman (88) /James Wilder Jr. (85), RBs, Florida State

21. Chandler Cantanzaro, K, Clemson (82)

22. Kareem Martin, DE, North Carolina (88)

23. Jamison Crowder, WR, Duke (85)

24. Shadrach Thornton, RB, North Carolina State (82)

25. Aaron Donald, DL, Pitt (80)

Most fall in line with our rankings, with a few glaring exceptions. Of course there are plenty of things to consider with these ratings. Underclassmen are going to get hosed because in Dynasty mode they are bound to progress, making their initial overall slightly low. The game doesn't have much love for kickers either.

It's interesting to note Florida State's players get rated high by the media as a result of their high recruiting status and overall athleticism, but often in reality fall in line with other players in the ACC. Seems like NCAA 14 paid attention to those who underachieve.

Here is the rearranged list based on NCAA 14 ratings. I shortened it to 23 because there are many players rated 89 or below.

1. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson (95)

1. Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson (95)

3. Bryn Renner, QB, North Carolina (93)

3. James Gayle, DE, Virginia Tech (93)

3. Andrew Miller, C, Virginia Tech (93)

6. Derrick Hopkins, DT, Virginia Tech (92)

7. Austin Barron, C, Florida State (91)

7. Christian Jones, LB, Florida State (91)

7. Terrance Brooks, S, Florida State (91)

7. Duke Johnson, RB, Miami (91)

7. Davis Sims, FB, Georgia Tech (91)

12. Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech (90)

12. Lamarcus Joyner, DB, Florida State (90)

12. Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State (90)

12. Antone Exum, CB, Virginia Tech (90)

12. Tre Boston, S, North Carolina (90)

12. Stephen Morris, QB, Miami (90)

12. Rashad Greene, WR, Florida State (90)

12. Seantrel Henderson, OT, Miami (90)

12. Travis Hughes, LB, North Carolina (90)

12. Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech (90)

12. Luther Maddy, DT, Virginia Tech (90)

12. Jack Tyler, LB, Virginia Tech (90)

Wow. Yeah, the developers at EA Sports probably don't watch enough college football. No disrespect to anyone who made this particular list, but it seems the makers of the game are slightly off in their assessment. They also seem to suffer from a little Hokies lust; how else can you explain Virginia Tech claiming eight out of the Top 23 players and not even being a factor in the conference race a year ago? It also is odd that the game ranks centers so high (two of the first seven).

Let's have a quick look at the quarterbacks of the ACC based on their overall rating.

1. Bryn Renner, North Carolina (93)

2. Stephen Morris, Miami (90)

2. Logan Thomas (90)/Mark Leal (88), Virginia Tech

4. C.J. Brown, Maryland (88)

5. Chase Rettig, Boston College (86)

6. Jameis Winston (85)/Jacob Coker (84)Florida State

7. Drew Allen, Syracuse (84)

7. David Watford, Virginia (84)

7. Clint Trickett (84), Ford Childress (84), Paul Millard (82), West Virginia

10. Tanner Price, Wake Forest (83)

10. Brandon Mitchell (83)/Pete Thomas (82), North Carolina State

12. Vlad Lee, Georgia Tech (82)

13. Anthony Boone, Duke (81)

14. Tom Savage, Pittsburgh (79)

In terms of rankings, everything seems in order with one exception. Why is Mark Leal rated an 88? He was a three-star prospect our of high school that wasn't heavily recruited and has 19 pass attempts to his name in Blacksburg. He may eventually become a solid starter, but there is no evidence to believe an 88 ranking is in order.

These rankings also show that a few teams have yet to solve their quarterback conundrums. We will look at these battles as the summer progresses.