D.J. Woods is really good on this game
The BECB PS3 Online Dynasty is underway already and I've had some time to run through the game in online and offline play. I've been playing the EA Sports NCAA football series for quite awhile now despite the flaws of the actual gameplay. I seem to remember enjoying the series back when I was in undergrad 2002-06 a lot more than I do now.
Having said that, let's get to what's going on with the game play in NCAA Football 12.
Passing Game: In order to scale back the passing, EA decided to do two things A) make the defense tougher in zone coverage, b) make the quarterback throw a greater variety of incomplete passes.
The zone coverage can be beaten, just not straight over the top unless something happens like your QB getting hit as he releases the ball and somehow dropping it in a bucket 40 yards downfield (which has also happened while I've been playing). You can also beat a zone by having a receiver run out of bounds and then come back in play along the sideline (no illegal touching called in this game!).
If you want to be able to pass on this game, you'll need to luck into the opponent using man coverage or learn how to use the sticks to lead passes to the receivers. If you don't you will find out just all of the different animations for incomplete passes. Throwing a skip pass to a wide open receiver, throwing a pass off the open receivers shoes or hitting an open receiver in the facemask are some of the ones I've seen. And, if you do complete a pass, make sure the defender isn't anywhere near him or you might run into the stupid incompletion animation where your guy makes a catch takes a hit and drops the ball after a couple steps (yes, it crept back into this build of the game and is never a fumble).
Running Game: Improved from last year when it was improved from the year before. Don't be afraid to run where the play is supposed go. In the past, you had to make your own luck as a running back. Now, if you venture away from where the play should go you might only end up with 5 yards instead of an 80 yard touchdown. Learn how to use the sticks here to make the most out of the guy who is running the ball. Power backs and scat backs have different animations when you move the sticks.
Defense: Depending on the team you use, you could end up with an interception bonanza in zone coverage or guys clapping their hands at what should have been an interception. The CPU offensive playcalling is supposed to be more intelligent this year but I haven't seen it yet. Man coverage has been very effective at stopping short passing on the game. Man coverage can also stop the running game pretty well. I've played whole games against the CPU in a man defense and had it stop everything.
The interception/pass breakup animations that everybody hated are still in the game. I'm talking about linebackers with rocket boosters up their backsides tipping passes that shouldn't be touched. Engaged defensive linemen leaning over and making one-handed interceptions. Defensive backs who know where your pass is going before you finish throwing it that run the route better than the receiver. And, so on.
However, unlike last year, you don't have to be good at offense to win games. BECB's Mengus won an online matchup 3-2. True story.
Returns: Punt returns were worthless to me last year as nobody would block for you. They are better this year but in one game the refs called back three punt returns in a row on me for holding when my blocking slider was set to conservative... Kick returns are much improved and perhaps are too easy. I've housed three kickoffs in less than 20 games. Not that I'm complaining about that, see above video.