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College football returns to video games — sort of — in Madden’s Superstar KO

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Face of the Franchise’s nationally ranked teams, and Nebraska, stage alumni games through September

Closeup of LSU player Jarvis Landry showing the name on the back of his jersey
Jarvis Landry, currently of the Cincinnati Bengals, back in action for the Bayou Bengals of Louisiana State.
Image: EA Tiburon/EA Sports

The 10 college football programs that have participated in Madden NFL’s last two Face of the Franchise career narratives will cross over with Madden NFL 22’s Superstar KO mode, beginning Tuesday and running until Sept. 27.

The crossover means this is the first game where players can take a college football team into an online match against a friend since the dear departed NCAA Football 14 eight years ago. Superstar KO, a part of the game since Madden NFL 20, is a cooperative/competitive mode supporting teams of up to three players each; the matches are designed to be quick, and players’ goal is to win four in a row, knocking out all the others. Players draft stars to their teams, and these players have buffs or special attributes to spice up the action.

Superstar KO with colleges means that current NFL players will be in uniform for their almas mater. The lineup features Clemson and Miami from the ACC; LSU and Florida from the SEC; USC and Oregon from the Pac-12; Michigan State from the Big Ten; and Big 12 apostates Texas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska.

EA Sports announced in February that a new college football video game — with the kind of licensing that its NCAA Football series had up to its cancellation — is in development at EA Tiburon, the studio responsible for Madden. The announcement did not say when EA expected to launch this game (other than not in 2021), but the NCAA’s change in policy, in July, which permits players to be compensated for the use of their likenesses, points to a date sooner rather than later.

Superstar KO-with-colleges is meant to celebrate the return of college football, EA Sports said. The publisher has a livestream planned for 7 p.m. EDT Tuesday (on the official Madden NFL Twitch channel, and the NFL’s YouTube channel) pitting USC’s Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart against Texas all-time great Vince Young, in a quasi-rematch of their 2006 Rose Bowl showdown, where Young’s Longhorns won the national championship.