On Oct. 6, North Carolina's Tobacco Road triumvirate of State, Duke and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill all played home games on the same day, and all of them won. Audio from all three games wil be in NCAA Football 14, on shelves in two weeks. Some of that may come from a microphone I held.
Eight months ago, EA Sports invited me along on a sound-gathering mission, to get a look at what goes into its efforts to put gameday realism into its college football title. The game's producer, Ben Haumiller, acknowledged to me that the 20-year-old series was suffering from a sameness problem—not only was the title indistinct year to year in its graphical presentation, but great games also sounded the same, whether you were playing at Michigan, USC, the Other USC, VPI or Clempson. Authentic crowd noise is one way to brighten the atmosphere.