Anticipation across the country is building for the re-introduction of EA Sports College Football later this summer. The official release date for the popular video game is July 19, but EA is taking advantage of this week to stir up the college football world.

Throughout the week, EA Sports will release a number of different lists. Monday included the top 25 toughest places to play in College Football 25 while other releases will include the top offenses and defenses in the game, a deep dive into the “sights and sounds” of CFB25 and a team power rankings list.

Traditionally, the idea of analyzing a video game would seem silly or trivial, but this is no ordinary game. It’s the first version of one of the most popular games in America that has not been produced in a decade.

So, why not take a deep dive ourselves into the toughest places to play list? (After all, training camp and media days are still down the road, so the summer is the perfect time for this endeavor.)

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Before we get into the breakdown, let’s at least admit on the outset that the rankings and breakdown to follow are a subjective process. There are undoubted objective factors we can include (win-loss record at home, obviously), but other factors depend on how a person weights each one.

How much value does a top-10 upset at home provide? Does losing at home to a higher ranked team detract from your value? And how many points do you get docked by getting upset by a lesser opponent at home?

Regardless of how you rate the factors that go into the process, it’s hard to imagine Texas A&M’s Kyle Field deserves the top spot in the list. Simply looking at a 2022 home loss to Appalachian State should remove the Aggies from contention, but we’ll leave any sort of breakdown to our friends at Saturday Down South.

For this piece, we’ll stick to the B1G venues that stand out as too high — or too low — in the ranking process. So with that in mind, let’s get to it.

Editor’s note: Home win-loss records listed are all post-COVID (beginning with the 2021 season and onward) to try and gauge a more recent criteria for the rankings.

Too Low: Oregon (No. 11)

Home record: 19-1

At the risk of entering into an argument centered on claims of bias, teams from the old Pac-12 did not fare well in EA Sports’ rankings. Oregon is the first team listed at No. 11 while Utah at No. 18 is the only other program listed.

Simply put, Autzen Stadium is too low outside of the top 10 no matter how you slice it, and that’s without getting into the fact that Washington’s Husky Stadium was left off the rankings altogether.

The other point to consider is that the Ducks have been mostly consistent at home regardless of the era or who the head coach is. The team was 7-0 inside Autzen during Mario Cristobal’s last season in 2021, and the Ducks lost just 2 games at home under Chip Kelly.

With Oregon heading to the B1G this fall, Autzen will likely get a bit more love in the future, but falling outside of the top 10 is just pure disrespect.

RELATED: The B1G will get its first taste of Autzen this fall, including Ohio State in an expected clash of titans between the Buckeyes and the Ducks. FanDuel currently has Ohio State as a 1.5-point favorite for Oct. 12, and fans can use Tradition’s FanDuel Ohio bonus code for the latest deals.

Too Low: Michigan (No. 16)

Home record: 22-0

It’s possible the reputation of the Big House is still suffering from the eras of Brady Hoke and Rich Rodriguez. However, the largest venue in the country has been restored to one of the most fearsome places to play under Jim Harbaugh.

Since the COVID season, the Wolverines have been undefeated at home, but that’s to be expected for a program with only 3 losses overall in the past 3 seasons.

If roster strength is taken into account, it’s possible Michigan will take a hit as the program reloads without Harbaugh and a wealth of talent that is off to the NFL. But if we’re purely rating venues alone, Michigan Stadium should be higher on this list.

Too Low: Iowa (No. 20)

Home record: 16-5

Iowa gets dinged up a bit after losing 3 games at home in a disappointing 2022 season that included losses to Iowa State, Michigan and Nebraska at home. But if we are truly talking toughest venues in America, there is no way the home of the Hawkeyes falls outside the top 15.

Maybe it’s being generous to the fact Iowa has achieved its reputation inside Kinnick Stadium without an effective offense in… ages. But the incoming Pac-12 schools will soon get a taste of life on the visiting sideline in Iowa City, and it’s far from easy.

Also, the all-pink locker room alone should boost the Hawkeyes a few spots on this list.

Too High: Michigan State (No. 22)

Home record: 13-6

It’s hard to see what the Spartans have done at home to make this list. Maybe it’s a throwback to Mark Dantonio’s time in East Lansing, but Spartan Stadium is far from a fearsome place to play in more recent history.

In fact, MSU is barely over .500 (7-6) at home the past 2 seasons and including MSU on this list is just a major head-scratcher.

Too High: Wisconsin (No. 7)

Home record: 13-8

Wisconsin landing on this list at all — much less as a top-10 venue — is surely a nod to some bygone era of Badger football. How else do you explain Camp Randall Stadium landing on this list after recent home losses to powerhouse programs such as Washington State, Illinois and Northwestern?

This isn’t a knock on the environment they produce in Madison. The history, “Jump Around” and everything that goes on is worth the trip.

But, if we’re talking tough places to play, it must be said this is no longer the fearsome home of Barry Alvarez’s Badgers. At least not until Luke Fickell returns the program to some level of prominence.

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