Strategy Guide
Five Toughest Programs for Dynasty Mode in NCAA Football 12

In the NCAA series, not all poorly rated teams are created equal. In an article from last month, I talked about some teams that are set up well for a building or rebuilding project. These are not those teams. Instead, the teams on this list feature an often shocking lack of talent and a tremendous uphill battle for relevance ahead. Looking for a challenge? Take one of these teams for a spin.


I love using Idaho, who have probably the coolest stadium in this game in the Kibbie Dome. But wow, that roster is rough. Don’t be fooled by the 75 overall rating. Your highest-rated player is only an 82 overall, and the depth chart is incredibly shallow and features an uncomfortably high number of players rated in the 50s. Plus, of your 23 players who are rated 70 or above, eight are juniors, and the other 15 are seniors. Better hit the recruiting trail hard. 

If you slap a redshirt on junior QB Dominique Blackman (QB No. 10 – should be No. 3 - 69 overall), you’ll have a fun signal caller to use in years two and three with his 80 speed rating. Freshman WR Marquan Major (WR No. 84, 68 overall) and freshman HB Todd Handley (HB No. 26, 68 overall, 93 speed) look like your future weapons, but this roster is devoid of the signature talents that really stick out in this game.

Eastern Michigan

Gross. Eastern Michigan has had a horrible time on the football field lately, and their 63 overall roster brings that out. This team is just disgusting. They’re incredibly slow, and what limited talent there is on this roster is senior-heavy. Only seven players sit at or above 70 overall, and unless you bring in an influx of serious talent during your first year of recruiting despite your terrible available pitches, your team will be even worse in year two. Hey, at least your new recruits should all get playing time! 

If you can win with Eastern, things can get a lot better, as three of your pipeline states (Michigan, Ohio, Florida) are talent-rich. Your first two games in year one are against FCS schools, and the MAC isn’t exactly known for its football powers. But it’s going to be an uphill battle, and maybe the most difficult one in the game. Good luck. Pray for transfers. 

Kent State

The good news: the Golden Flashes feature sophomore DE Roosevelt Nix, last season’s MAC defensive player of the year. He’s rated 82 overall and has enough speed to chase down mobile quarterbacks. The bad news: pretty much every other aspect of the roster. There’s very little talent on this team, and of your 17 players rated 70 overall or above, 10 graduate after year one. There are only 12 freshmen on the roster, 10 of whom are rated 61 or below. 

Recruiting will be tough, as only one of your pitches is above a C+. To shake things up, try freshman FB Trayion Durham at HB (69 OVR at FB, 67 OVR at HB, 85 speed). Enjoy the week one matchup against Alabama! Try to see the humor in Trent Richardson playing pinball with your defenders – if you can still see the screen through your tears.

New Mexico State

Those of you with heart conditions or weak constitutions should avoid looking directly at this roster- only eight players rated 70 or above. A terrible offensive line that becomes even worse when four of your five starters graduate after year one. Only 12 freshmen, six of whom are rated 50 or below. You’ve got an easy schedule in year one, but it’s hard to find much else to be happy about. 

Freshman WR Austin Franklin (No. 81, 66 OVR) is your skill position player to build around. Otherwise, you’ll need to recruit, which will be painful given your available pitches. Just hope that C+ in program stability is enough to convince some poor recruit that the Aggies are his dream team.

Washington State

It’s not that Washington State’s roster is among the worst in the game – it isn’t. The team’s rated 77 overall with some legitimate talent to play with, but the fact that Washington State starts as a one-star program means that you’re going to have an awfully tough time recruiting. In the new PAC-12, you’re a clear outlier at the low end. 

The key to your offense will be the connection between junior QB Jeff Tuel (81 OVR) and sophomore WR Marquess Wilson (86 OVR, 91 speed, 92 acceleration). Sophomore SS Marcus Richmond (81 OVR) can anchor your defense for a few years. But those three are your only players rated above 80 overall, and in a conference where you’re competing with the likes of Oregon and USC, that’s just not going to produce wins. Your recruiting pitches are bad, too, so mine your pipelines in California and Florida for all they’re worth. 

Closing Thoughts

These teams offer a challenge for even the most seasoned dynasty mode player. But with patience, effort and skill, every one of these programs can become a power. It’s a nice change of pace to play with a program for which a three-star recruit isn’t a backup plan, but the jewel of the class. The building process won’t be easy, but once you start pulling in top recruits and beating up on traditional powers, it’s worth it.

What are your picks for the toughest teams to use in Dynasty Mode?

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Member Comments
# 1 BenGerman @ 11/08/11 11:34 AM
Nice article. I've been thinking about going back to NCAA for a little while for a Dynasty fix.
# 2 KingV2k3 @ 11/08/11 11:40 AM
Another nice read, with some great dynasty suggestions, MMCS...

I usually don't drop below the LA Tech / SMU / Wyoming level in my rebuild projects, but I'm sure at some point, I'll revisit this article and try on a mega stinker...

Confused about the luv for the Kibbie Dome tho...

I've read similar before, but when I played against Idaho there, it just seemed like a really under lit, tiny Superdome...

# 3 Redskinsfan26 @ 11/08/11 11:53 AM
Like you said, Eastern Michigan is absolutely horrible. Won 2 games my first year, then 4 the next year. Boise State offered me a OC job so of course I took it
# 4 wazzucoug02 @ 11/08/11 12:22 PM
I've read similar before, but when I played against Idaho there, it just seemed like a really under lit, tiny Superdome...

It's even worse than that in real life.
# 5 OGKing @ 11/08/11 01:57 PM
Some other teams that are tough to rebuild IMO are: Wyoming, CMU, and Colorado State
# 6 hoopla32 @ 11/08/11 02:08 PM
I love articles like these. I'm kind of surprised Kent State was on the list and not Akron, though, who I think starts year one ranked either 119 or 120 in the preseason poll. I think their overall rating is on par with Eastern Michigan.

I'm actually in year four of a Kent State dynasty. It was a little rough in the beginning but not that bad overall. I've got them up to a three star prestige, now, and won the MAC in year three.
# 7 Jadakiss88 @ 11/08/11 04:35 PM
UAB is by far the hardest team to build up...no running game, defense no existent, can't recruit anybody over a 2 star due to the fact you have Troy in the Sunbelt, Bama, and Auburn in the SEC. You can't upgrade the stadium and Legion Field is trash in real life. And they love to play tough SEC teams every year. I managed to throw for 400 yds on Florida with them but after that I couldn't move the ball.
# 8 cowboys9731 @ 11/08/11 05:35 PM
Great article. I started a dynasty with Washington State and it is great. I got lucky and got a 4* WR and 4*RB. I really focused on recruiting the first year and it paid off. The schedule is tough, but can be done.
# 9 YeOldTonk @ 11/08/11 06:06 PM
I have to agree with the Washington State mention. Started a dynasty with them and its quite brutal. Great challenge though!
# 10 ridemooses @ 11/08/11 06:53 PM
Good stuff. Last year I played Western Kentucky and they were by far the worst team in D1 but apparently this year they turned it around. I made a decision to only get Madden this year but after reading this article, even with the patch issues, I'm a little saddened that I didn't get NCAA. Building from the basement up is always fun!
# 11 WazzuRC @ 11/08/11 08:16 PM
Marcus Richmond isn't the SS. It's Deone Buchanon.
# 12 bomccready @ 11/08/11 08:52 PM
Originally Posted by WazzuRC
Marcus Richmond isn't the SS. It's Deone Buchanon.
Thanks, Wazzu - good catch. I wrote this article using the Fairdale Kings named rosters rather than looking up the schools' rosters online. I see that Richmond is no longer on the team and Deone Bucannon is the new #20 for the Cougars - my mistake, and something to note for anyone that's using that set of named rosters!
# 13 bomccready @ 11/08/11 08:57 PM
Originally Posted by KingV2k3
Another nice read, with some great dynasty suggestions, MMCS...

I usually don't drop below the LA Tech / SMU / Wyoming level in my rebuild projects, but I'm sure at some point, I'll revisit this article and try on a mega stinker...

Confused about the luv for the Kibbie Dome tho...

I've read similar before, but when I played against Idaho there, it just seemed like a really under lit, tiny Superdome...

You basically nailed what I like about the Kibbie Dome. This game features a ton of giant round stadiums that are indistinguishable from one another. The Kibbie Dome, though, is unique, for better or for worse. It feels nothing like an FBS-caliber facility, and I think that's part of the charm!
# 14 OGKing @ 11/08/11 09:08 PM
The "WAC" conference sign doesn't even change in the kibble dome when you switch conferences with Idaho, that's what turns me off about them.
# 15 TDenverFan @ 11/08/11 09:40 PM
I personally dislike the Kibbie Dome. Way too small. I like larger stadiums, so when I become a powerhouse I can have a decent home turf advantage.

Last year I used SDSU (Qualcomm, 70k ish) and this year Western Michigan (32kish). I also built a D- overall TB team with the Generik 50k stadium.
# 16 terpsfan1978 @ 11/09/11 09:04 AM
I rebuilt Akron and won the national championship in year 4. I play heisman default sliders. I had to move the team to the big ten year 4 because I got the go daddy bowl every time in the MAC even though I went 11-1 each year.

Basically to compensate for talent I just recruited Corner backs with high speed, agililty, and acceleration and put them in as WR and RB.

I play a 5-2 pinch defense. Works great unless there is a screen pass or spread offense. Gotta make sure to have secondary play soft and get that inside LB to blitz the QB.
# 17 Riderfan @ 11/10/11 01:33 AM
Currently in year 3 of my Buffalo Bulls OD. Now there's a depressing roster. But this season I managed a 10-2 record, made even more notable that one of the wins was a huge upset vs. Michigan! (Two losses were vs. NIU and Ole Miss) One of the keys to the team was a 3* QB I recruited in year 1. His name was Donnie Ferguson (the pic was even a redhead!) and he was a 6'3" 263 lbs. QB with decent speed and good throwing power. I gotta admit I only put him on my board because the stocky Irishman amused me. Well, when I see his stats, he's the sleeper of the draft. 81 OVR as a true freshman, he's become the lynchpin of the Buffalo offense right now. Hard to bring down, fast enough to snare a few yards and tough enough to run over corners. And while he's not the most accurate arm, there's plenty of power behind it. And I've got him for 3 more years!
# 18 Lhawk @ 11/10/11 04:53 AM
I started off with kent st. at oc went to a bowl game my first two years then left for nc state. now I'm head coach at Syracuse. Last year I played 15 years with North texas truned them in to a 5 star team could never get in the championship game
# 19 Kcordloh @ 11/10/11 05:08 PM
If it's a true sim style dynasty where wins are hard to get, New Mexico in the new MWC has been insanely hard for me to get wins with (losses to AF, BSU, TCU, SDSU, Arkansas, Texas Tech, and Wyoming). 5-7

Year #2 was worse, with losses to Texas, Texas Tech, BSU, Nevada, Hawaii, Wyoming, Fresno State, and Air Force. (4-8)

Year #3 was better, with a few 2/3* recruits the year before, I managed to finish 6-6, missed going bowling though. Lost to TCU, BYU, Texas, BSU, Nevada, Fresno State.
# 20 ngw411 @ 11/23/11 08:24 PM
http://www.4shared.com/account/dir/k4F70Vz7/_online.html?rnd=41#dir=122818927 STADIUM SOUND

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