Under The Tree: EA Sports NCAA Football 14

While doing some research for this post I came to realize something. I should have kept my video games sealed. Games I once had and originally cost $50 now sell for thousands. Then again, if I and everyone else had done that they probably wouldn’t have gone up in price.

Sports related video games aren’t the most in-demand when it comes to video game collecting. That’s not to say there aren’t any hidden gems out in the wild. Certain sports games command insane prices, but its not the genre collectors flock to right away.

A current diamond in the rough is EA Sports NCAA Football 14. Released on July 9, 2013 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, this is the last game in their NCAA Football series. The main reasons for this are legal issues based on the game using player likenesses, and the players not being compensated for them. NCAA players getting paid for their likeness remains an ongoing debate. Because of this, no sequels have been made. As of this writing, it doesn’t look like a new game is coming anytime soon.

Denard Robinson on the cover.

Even though the game is out of print, college football fans continue to play it. Fans can edit the team rosters to a certain extent in order to reflect up-to-date players. Watching people play this game on Twitch has become very popular too.

Completely sealed copies easily sell for over $200. I would expect the price to drop if a new version of the game was ever released.

Pin Highlight: 2015 NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four Press Pin

Whether its pure laziness or just an effort to pinch pennies, pins handed out to the press for specific sporting events many times look quite similar to the ones you’d purchase at the souvenir stands.  This can result in mass-produced pins being sold as their much harder to come by press pin counterparts.  A good example of this can be seen when it comes to the 2015 NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four pin.

Press pin

Mass-produced pin

At a quick glance you can see how someone might mistake one version for another.  The NCAA logo on the mass-produced pin has silver coloring around the letters “NCAA”.  The press pin does not have this, just white lettering.  A solid silver-colored ring also circles the entire blue NCAA logo on the mass-produced pin.  The silver-colored ring fades out near the top of the circle on the pin issued to the press.  Looking at the font used for “2015” and “INDIANAPOLIS” you’ll see some major differences.  The mass-produced pin’s is thicker and plain white whereas the press pin font is thinner and a shiny metal color.  Those spikes on the left-side are a bit sharper on the mass-produced pin as well.

When it comes to press pins its important to know what you’re buying.  The price difference can be significant.

Product Highlight: NCAA College Basketball 2K3 for Nintendo GameCube

When an athlete doesn’t live up to the expected hype, their cards and memorabilia take a hit in price.  Its the natural law.  Unless that individual goes on to do something historically spectacular outside of their sport, prices will remain in the gutter.  But every now and then we’ll come across a crazy anomaly that defies this way of thinking.  Enter NCAA 2K3 College Basketball for the Nintendo GameCube.

I can imagine that in 2002 cards of Jay Williams carried some weight.  The Duke point guard was drafted second in the first round by the Chicago Bulls.  Right after the Houston Rockets drafted Yao Ming.  He did alright during his first year in the NBA, but nothing mind blowing.  In June of 2003, he suffered a severe motorcycle crash in Illinois.  He wasn’t wearing a helmet, didn’t have a license to drive a motorcycle in that state, and was in violation of the terms of his contract with the Bulls by riding a motorcycle to begin with.  Its safe to say that smarter decisions could have been made.  When he finally recuperated, attempts were made to get back into professional basketball.  None were that successful.  Jay Williams now works for ESPN as a college basketball analyst.

Today you can’t giveaway cards of Jay Williams.  The only cards that carry any real value are ones which have him teamed-up with stars like Michael Jordan, Yao Ming, or Kobe Bryant.  Trust me.  Collectors aren’t buying them for the Jay Williams part of the card.  In fact, they’re probably getting a good deal on a star relic and/or autograph.  Dual relics and/or autographs featuring stars and dud rookies tend not to sell for as much compared to if that star was pictured alone.

Its not uncommon for a popular rookie to be pictured on the cover of a video game.  Jay Williams received this honor with the release of NCAA 2K3 College Basketball in December, 2002.  The game was released for PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube platforms.  Copies of this game for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox are readily available.  The GameCube version is a completely different story.  The general consensus is that Sega decided they didn’t want to release sports games for the Nintendo GameCube anymore.  NCAA 2K3 College Basketball just barely made it out.  What copies made it to the stores didn’t sell very well.  This led to the game becoming rare.

While copies of this game for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox can be bought for next to nothing, complete GameCube examples have been known to reach $200.  Although Jay Williams isn’t the driving factor, its interesting to see him attached to something that continues to sell for so much.

Card of the Day: Christian Laettner 2014-15 Upper Deck NCAA March Madness Collection Auto

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Card of the Day: Ben Tate 2010 Upper Deck NCAA Sweet Spot Signatures

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2010 Upper Deck Sweet Spot NCAA Football Box Break


  • Josh Freeman
  • LeSean McCoy
  • Albert Haynesworth
  • A.J. Hawk
  • Knowshon Moreno
  • Ed Dickson Sweet Spot Signatures #’ed/150
  • Paul Hornung Sweet Spot Signatures #’ed/25

The only thing that turns me off about this product is the fact they used college photos, but inserted pieces of pro jerseys.  I don’t like when they mix stuff like that.

An Upper Deck Product Worth Opening

Its been a long time since I’ve opened an Upper Deck product.  To be honest, I don’t think they’ve issued a product worth busting.  The last time I busted an Upper Deck box was last fall which was 2010 NCAA Football.  Ironically 2011 NCAA Football might be the next Upper Deck product I open.  The 2011 version looks really good, and isn’t overloaded with plain colored jerseys.  There are (4) packs per box and an autograph inside each pack.  I absolutely love the signatures on those little mini-helmets.  Booklets are all the rage in The Hobby right now, so it would seem natural for them to make an appearance here.  Each case will yield an autographed booklet.  These books are going to have to be some of the thickest cards ever.

I miss Upper Deck having an MLB and NFL license.  They produce good looking college stuff, but its still not the same.  Its like putting a Ferrari engine in a Model T.  It can be done, but it doesn’t quite look right.



2010 Upper Deck Sweet Spot NCAA Box Break

Took a ride over to Sports Zone Memorabilia this afternoon and decided to bust a box of 2010 Upper Deck Sweet Spot NCAA football.  I really like the autographed mini helmet cards and the backgrounds look cool too.  Check out what I pulled.  I’ll give you a hint……………….. I got a Gator 🙂

UD Sweet Spot Gets An NCAA Twist + Draft Edition Info

Upper Deck unveiled its first two football products that take advantage of its exclusive NCAA license that goes into affect April 1 of this year.  These two products would be 2010 Draft Edition Football and 2010 NCAA Sweet Spot Football.

2010 Draft Edition Football – This product has been canceled!

This will be the third year Upper Deck has produced Draft Edition.  You can look for 5 autographs in each box on average.  This includes 2010 rookies and veterans pictured in their college uniforms.  New to this year are the box toppers that look like magazine covers.  As of right now, Draft Edition should be released in April.

I’ve busted a box of ’08 and ’09 Draft Edition, and they have each been ok.  Nothing too spectacular.


2010 NCAA Sweet Spot Football:

Due out in June, 2010 NCAA Sweet Spot Football is the first Sweet Spot brand based on college football.  Each box will contain 6 packs with an autograph or relic in each pack.  Upper Deck really plans to take advantage of their exclusive license by having multiple college football logo cards for each player.  It too will have rookies and veterans to collect.

I’m more excited about this product versus Draft Edition.  I’m a high-end pack ripper and enjoy a quick thrill without having a ton of base cards leftover.  After seeing these early pictures, I wish they wouldn’t have used silver ink on light colored backgrounds.  This can make the autographs hard to see.


You can see a lot more preview images of these two products over on Upper Deck’s Facebook Fan Page.

What does this mean for Press Pass?

Press Pass has been using college logos for years.  On March 31 they plan to release Draft Pick Football, which is their last product they can make using NCAA logos.  On their release calendar, Press Pass has two football releases for the summer – Portrait Edition and Legends.  I’m interested to see what these cards look like without logos.  Perhaps Press Pass will pull an Upper Deck like move and use logos anyway 🙂  With Upper Deck getting sued from everyone, maybe they don’t have enough money to sue Press Pass if they use NCAA logos.  Its going to be an interesting summer.

Response From Press Pass

After Upper Deck came out and said that they will have the exclusive rights to produce NCAA licensed cards starting in April 2010, I sent an e-mail to my contact at Press Pass, Inc to see what they plan to do with their popular line of college football cards.  Today I got the following response:

Press Pass will continue its line of rookie “draft pick” and Legends football products in 2010 and beyond. The Press Pass product team will strive to meet and exceed collector expectations with quality cards, designs, and innovation.  The Press Pass tradition of delivering the first on-card autographs of each new NFL rookie class will continue…

Press Pass will probably have to get “creative” with their card designs for awhile.  These exclusives really hurt the collectors and only give them one place to go for the cards they want to collect.  Its going to be fun to see if Upper Deck can produce something as good as Press Pass Legends Football.  Thats a product I really enjoy and its not very expensive.  I’ve seen some dealers selling mini boxes for around $30.00 to $45.00.  I think thats a great deal considering you get two hits per mini box.

This year’s Upper Deck Draft is similiar to Press Pass Legends because you can pull rookies and legends, but when I opened my box of Draft most of the hits were redemptions.  I will give Upper Deck credit because they filled both quickly, even though one needed to be replaced due to a conflict with the player.  I know the e-mail I received back doesn’t say much and is a general response the company has probably been throwing out to everyone that asks.  Its going to be interesting to see what happens next year when the “exclusive” goes into effect.

On the bright side, maybe Upper Deck can finally get Joe Paterno to sign some cards.  Topps was suppose to do that for Mayo, but they never made it in.