This season, EA has announced that four different athletes will be on the cover of the game for four different platforms (XBOX 360, PlayStation 2 & 3, PSP), while the game launches for the first time on Nintendo's Wii, and that cover will go to the winner of a nationwide mascot online voting contest. You can go to the new site and vote once per day for any mascot of any FBS (which still needs clarification that we're talking about Division 1) school. Right now, Smokey's outside the Top 10 and voting closes on Friday. The folks at EA can't be happy about Wazzou's mascot - who I can't even name off the top of my head, unless he's just generically named "Cougar" (insert your Top Gun jokes here) - who's leading the polls right now.
It's become the in thing the last two years to print your own covers and slap them on the game - which is why in my video game drawer right now you'll find Arian Foster on NCAA 07 and Erik Ainge on NCAA 08 - but I'm sure all the winning athletes and their respective universities will take the honor.
NCAA09 features a new engine that touts breakaway ability in the open field, with greater individual control when you've got the ball. We'll see about that, because a feature like that has to be tested hands-on to get the final verdict. But as usual, for most folks including myself, they could just update the rosters and ship out the exact same game as last year, and we'll still be happily in line on July 15.
With all that said, feast your eyes on the first (and only) cover (that matters), the XBOX 360: