The Gus Malzahn era at Arkansas State officially, unofficially began here Tuesday night at midnight when EA Sports released their 2013 Edition of NCAA College Football Video game.
A lot of ASU gamers, including a few current Arkansas State players anxiously awaited it's arrival at local retail stores.
AStateNation wanted to get a first hand look at what the computer experts at EA Sports felt about this year's Red Wolf team.
We simulated each game in Dynasty mode without adjusting any of the settings to see how Malzahn's first season would come out.
The entire AStateNation fan base has high expectations in Malzahn's first season as head coach, rightfully so coming off an undefeated Sun Belt run and a 10-3 overall record.
Good news ASU fans, your Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year, No. 16 didn't disappoint. He led the Red Wolves to their second straight Sun Belt Conference Championship but it wasn't quite as easy as last season.
Everyone knows that Arkansas State is a big underdog to Oregon, even as much as 37 points by some early predictors.
That didn't happen.
While Oregon came out victorious, Malzahn's opening debut as a head coach was an offensive showdown in Eugene. The Ducks won, but it wasn't without a fight as ASU lost a 10 point game, 41-31 to Oregon.
ASU bounced back in their home opener as the Red Wolves defeated their rival Memphis Tigers 38-7.
Here is where the surprise comes in, for ASU's next game. Many Red Wolves feel that Nebraska will be an easier opponent than Oregon, not according to the experts at EA Sports.
The Cornhuskers roll over ASU 42-7, I still don't believe our offense will be held to only seven points by anyone this fall. We shall see how this one works out.
Arkansas State bounces back when they host Alcorn State and destroyed their FCS opponent by a score of 52-10.
Now it's time to get into Sun Belt action. Last season on the field, the Red Wolves ran the tables in the Sun Belt to go undefeated in league play.
Arkansas State opens conference play at home against Western Kentucky. While it was a tough game, the Red Wolves pulled out a 16-7 victory. All I can say on this one, good luck Hilltoppers holding ASU to just 16 points this season.
Everyone realizes that the Red Wolves have two tough conference road games this fall, the first when ASU travels to Miami to take on FIU.
While this was a Sun Belt Classic, the Panthers handed ASU their first conference loss in two years by the score of 22-23.
Next up for ASU was South Alabama, but EA Sports hasn't created a Jaguar team yet and just referred to them as a FCS Southeast team. No matter what they were called, ASU handled them without too much trouble, winning 55-7.
The Red Wolves other expected tough road game this fall is when ASU travels to ULL. Good news AStateNation, Malzahn's troops marched into Lafayette and came away with a 37-31 win.
Back to back road games in the Sun Belt Conference isn't new for Arkansas State, it occurred on their schedule last year against Western Kentucky and Louisiana Monroe. This season it's against ULL and North Texas.
While some expect North Texas to be better this fall, it didn't happen last night on the first run of this video game simulation.
ASU demolished North Texas 48-10 to improve their record on the season to 6-3 on the year.
Every year when ASU plays Louisiana Monroe it's a tough game, the same occurred this season according to the folks at EA Sports. The Warhawks shocked Arkansas State 42-40 in an offensive shootout.
A three way tie for first place in the Sun Belt Conference standings, allowed ASU to win the tie breaker and take home their second straight conference championship, one for real and one in this first simulated season of NCAA Football 2013.
The Red Wolves was the New Orleans Bowl representative where they were matched up with Conference USA opponent UCF.
Malzahn won his first bowl game as a head coach at ASU, defeated UCF 31-17 to finish the year 9-4.
While in years past Arkansas State fans would take a conference championship and a 9-4 record and be very, very happy.
For some reason, this writer feels that AStateNation fans have higher expectations in Malzahn's first real season at the Red Wolves Head Coach.
My personal prediction this fall is that the Red Wolves will go 9-3 in the regular season, losing one road game either to FIU or ULL and winning their bowl game in New Orleans. for a 10-3 overall record for the second straight year.
Wow, how nice would back to back 10 win seasons be for Arkansas State?
Oh before I forget, No. 16 on the game, yes they can't use player's names but they do use their numbers, finished the year with over 3,200 yards passing and 31 touchdowns through the air. He also added 731 yards on the ground and another three touchdowns to his career totals.
No. 6, the starting tailback for the Red Wolves finished the year with 169 carries for 843 yards and six touchdowns.
No. 27 ended the year with 122 carries for 587 yards.
No. 3 led the wideouts with 1.049 yards and 14 touchdowns.
No. 6 was number two on the team in receiving with 40 catches for 535 yards and four scores.
No. 85 had 32 catches for 509 yards and six touchdowns.
No. 2 had 29 catches for 440 yards and five touchdowns.
Isn't it fun to play college football in the summer, if you want to join the groves of football fans and gamers around the nation, go to your favorite retail store and get your copy today. They officially went on sell at Midnight this morning.