Home College Football 25’s lightest touch — a ticket — is its most sentimental

College Football 25’s lightest touch — a ticket — is its most sentimental


  • EA Sports College Football 25 lets players choose their favorite school, customizing the game experience.
  • One unique feature, "The Ticket," displays memorable games from each school, adding depth to the game's immersion.
  • Producer Ben Haumiller meticulously researched and selected these iconic moments, enhancing player engagement and nostalgia.

When players return to EA Sports College Football 25 this July, they’ll make a familiar choice when they first boot into the game: Pick your favorite school. From there, they’ll get a main screen customized to that college, with its colors, logos, and pictures of the team in action.

But there’s one tiny little feature that had me changing the favorite school setting repeatedly in my hands-on-time with College Football 25 at a preview event EA Sports hosted last week in Orlando. And that’s The Ticket.

In the lower right corner of the screen, amongst the other visual checks to the university’s football tradition, is a mock ticket stub mentioning the school’s home stadium. Look a little closer, and you’ll see this is a reference to its greatest, or at least its most memorable, game played there.

The tickets are the brainchild of producer Ben Haumiller, and I remember him talking about this with me almost two years ago. Ben was almost giddy, blue-skying some of the all-timers and no-brainers that these tickets would reference. (“I gave Miami a Wide Right,” Haumiller said, referencing one of two infamous games Florida State lost to the Hurricanes on a missed field goal.) However small it may seem, its another nod that, taken together, adds up to a huge affirmation of a player’s fandom, if not their own collegiate experience.

Texas quarterback Quinn Evers draws back to throw a pass, looking left down the field, as an Alabama defensive end rushes from the blind side to tackle him, in EA Sports College Football 25

For N.C. State, where I graduated in 1995, Ben actually selected a game we both attended: a thundering 2012 upset of Florida State, where Ben graduated. We were at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, N.C., where Ben was showing me how EA Sports collected crowd audio for the NCAA Football series it published at the time.

State beat the No. 3 Seminoles 17-16, coming back from a 16-0 halftime deficit to shut out FSU in the second half and mount another inexorable Wolfpack comeback. The upset win resulted in one exuberant State fan getting memed into the stratosphere:

a rather large football fan grabs a flagpole, waving the shirt he has just removed, to celebrate an exhilirating NC State victory in 2012
Image via StateFansNation.com

The ticket Ben used for State’s home screen is that guy’s seat. It’s so perfect, it damn near brings tears to my eye.

Among the other big games I saw, California, of course, seemed to be the oldest — 1982’s “The Play” against rival Stanford. Ben gave his alma mater “The Choke at Doak,” That was the 1994 game, in the last year when it was possible to have a tie, when the No. 7 Seminoles behind Danny Kanell and Warrick Dunn, scored 28 points in the fourth quarter to claim a draw with their despised rivals, the No. 4 Florida Gators.

Much as Ben would prefer to give his team an outright victory, if there’s a “Harvard Beats Yale 29-29” moment in major college football, this is it. “We know we’re going to hear in forums, ‘Hey, why didn’t you use this game, it’s a better one,’” Haumiller said. “And if so, we’ll look at it, and we can change it.”

I gave him one immediately. In the build I saw, Navy’s “ticket” was against rival Army, a game that has been played on a neutral field all but five times in 130 years. But in 1984, at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, a going-nowhere 3-5-1 Midshipmen crew stunned undefeated and No. 2 South Carolina 38-21, erasing the Gamecocks from the national championship picture with just one game left. The pall of that loss still hangs over Sakerlina’s frustrated football program to this day.

A Michigan football player, with the football tucked in his right elbow, runs ahead of the Ohio State defense at Michigan Stadium in EA Sports College Football 25

How were College Football 25’s ‘Ticket’ games determined?

Haumiller could only guess at the hours he put into researching this, but as a through-and-through college football fan, he considered it time well spent, personally. “For some of the teams, especially the ones newer to FBS [Football Bowl Subdivision, the top tier] it was a little tough,” Haumiller said. “So I would look for close scores in rivalry games and use those.”

Another limiting factor is it has to be a home win; shocking upsets recorded by Appalachian State in 2007 against Michigan, and Georgia Southern against Florida in 2013, both came on the road (making them even more shocking). And Boise State’s electrifying, kitchen-sink playbook victory over Oklahoma in 2007, which landed quarterback Jared Zabransky on the cover of NCAA Football 08, was a bowl game played in Arizona.

Still, when College Football 25 arrives July 19 for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, take a few minutes to change your favorite team, and just look at some of the tickets that are presented on their main screens. It’s a worthwhile trip deep into the record book, whether or not you’re a fan of the team.

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The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Owen Good
Gaming Editor (US)

Owen Good is a 15-year veteran of video games writing, also covering pop culture and entertainment subjects for the likes of Kotaku and Polygon. He is a Gaming Editor for ReadWrite working from his home in North Carolina, the United States, joining this publication in April, 2024. Good is a 1995 graduate of North Carolina State University and a 2000 graduate of The Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University, in New York. A second-generation newspaperman, Good's career before covering video games included daily newspaper stints in North Carolina; in upstate New York; in Washington, D.C., with the Associated Press; and…

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