There are many reasons to pick up NCAA Football the day it releases, and the next edition arrives on Tuesday. The rosters, however, are not one of them. For hardcore players, the first week is often spent tinkering with secondary modes while waiting for the roster editing community to complete a full and accurate naming of this year's players — something EA Sports is prohibited from doing by both the NCAA and, well, civil law.
For that reason, some put off starting a Dynasty, the game's multi-season team-management mode, until named rosters can be obtained through the Roster Share feature. For those who want to get started right away on a Dynasty, without really knowing or caring who's name is being omitted, I'd suggest enabling the auto-name rosters option and then picking one of these teams to tide you over — you probably don't care about any of the names on the roster anyway — until the goods arrive later in the week.
The King of the Have-Nots — In my recommendations, you'll see a bias here toward teams with strong quarterback and running back combinations. Arkansas State has both in NCAA 13 despite the fact the NCAA just ruled that
Michael Dyer HB#5 a transfer who set the freshman rushing record at Auburn, is ineligible to play immediately this season. Dyer HB#5 is still on the NCAA 13 roster (which finaled in late April) and will provide a nice complement to Ryan Aplin QB#16, a scrambler with solid accuracy ratings who will be gone after a year. Arkansas State provides a decent footing to begin a "Where did they come from?" dynasty after one year.
Now I Can Die in Peace — For years, I've often started my Dynasty or Road to Glory with Kansas, Indiana, or California, three of the longest-suffering "major" programs out there. KU went to the Orange Bowl in 2008; its last visit before that was 1969; Indiana went to the Rose in 1968; California last went to the Rose in 1959 and can't even fall back on saying "Well, we're a basketball school." This year, the best bet would be for either Kansas or Cal. The Jayhawks offer
Dayne Crist QB#10, a transfer from Notre Dame lured out to Lawrence by Charlie Weis. James Sims HB#29 provides solid running support. Kansas has three road games against preseason top 25 teams, though. Better to go with Cal, which does face USC in Los Angeles, but gets Stanford and Oregon in Berkeley. The Golden Bears have nothing for defence, but do offer a solid runner in Isi Sofele HB#20 and decent blocking for him, plus Allen Keenan WR#21, a sure all-Pac 12 receiver, and quarterback Zach Maynard QB#15 throwing the ball and handing off.
Run With the Pack — Look, I went to N.C. State, and I was shocked to find three skill position guys rated 90 or better for us in this game.
David Amerson CB#1, an all-American cornerback, is understandable. But Mike Glennon QB#8 at quarterback? James Washington HB#24 at running back? Hey, I'll take it. State plays at Clempson Clempson but gets the Seminoles at home. The Wolfpack last won the ACC in 1979 and didn't even go to a bowl that year (true fact). You can kiss all those tears goodbye in your first weekend.
Tulsa Doom: The Golden Hurricane have a solid quarterback/running back combination for those who want to give their coach a hot start out of Conference USA. For those who can't resist a challenge, Texas State looks to be the best of your teams rated D overall (the lowest combined score that NCAA Football will give.) For those who prefer to make things happen out of the backfield, SMU, Utah State and Fresno State offer nice running backs at bargain-basement programs.