The cover of the game breaks away from tradition by featuring Desmond Howard, a Heisman-winning player from the University of Michigan. He is the only cover athlete not to have played for his college team the season before their respective video game (as the cover usually features an NFL rookie); Howard last played at Michigan in 1991.
The use of Desmond Howard on the cover was a reflection of this game's most notable new gameplay feature, Race for the Heisman. In this game mode, you begin as a high school standout hoping to sign with a major college program. After choosing your position and your position-specific drill, you are offered three scholarships, or you can walk on to a school of your choice. The prestige of the offering schools depends on how you performed in your drill. After selecting what school to play for, the player is automatically placed in the starting line up. As the seasons go on, the player's attributes increase depending on performance, with the ultimate goal of winning the Heisman trophy.
Another new feature is the Impact Player. Each team has three impact players, usually the three highest rated players on the roster, but there is always at least one on offense and one on defense. It should be noted that some teams' impact players are kickers or punters, while offensive linemen are never bestowed the honor. During games, impact players are called upon to make big plays when "in the zone" (indicated by a pulsating white impact icon underneath the player). If they execute a big play, action pauses and the camera zooms in on the tackle, juke move, reception, interception, etc.
Still around from the previous version is The Top 25 Toughest Places to Play (The University of Florida's Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, or "The Swamp", remains #1 in 06). Other features that remain included the slightly modified Dynasty Mode (with a new In-Season Recruiting feature), all-time and historic teams, Create-a-School, and more.
Main Menu Highlight ReelEdit
NCAA Football 06 was the first game in the franchise to feature a highlight reel on the main menu with footage of plays made by some of the most famous players in college football history, including:
- Ricky Williams
- Bo Jackson
- Archie Griffin
- Charles Woodson
- Herschel Walker
- LaDainian Tomlinson
- Barry Sanders
- LaVar Arrington
- Warren Sapp
- Ray Lewis
- Tim Dwight
- Randy Moss
- Ron Dayne
- Warrick Dunn
- Lawrence Taylor
- Tim Brown
- Peyton Manning
Prior to the release of this installment, the only music featured in the franchise were the fight songs of several major colleges. These would play at random, with the fight song of the user-selected "favorite team" playing when the game was turned on. NCAA Football 06 was the first and last installment to include licensed music in an effort to keep the series in uniform with other EA Sports releases such as the Madden, NHL, and FIFA series. This format was dropped for NCAA Football 07, with the soundtrack returning to college fight songs. It should be noted that in NCAA Football 06, it was possible to turn off the licensed music and listen to the fight songs. Most of the soundtrack are punk or post-punk songs, with the exception of "Out All Night" and "Me Myself and I".
- Bad Religion - "Atomic Garden"
- The Clash - "Train in Vain (Stand by Me)"
- De La Soul - "Me Myself and I"
- Guided by Voices - "Teenage FBI"
- Jawbreaker - "Bad Scene, Everyone's Fault"
- Lagwagon - "Know It All"
- Lush - "Ladykillers"
- Mother Love Bone - "This Is Shangri-La"
- The Mr. T Experience - "More Than Toast"
- Ned's Atomic Dustbin - "Kill Your Television"
- NOFX - "Jeff Wears Birkenstocks?"
- Pixies - "Debaser"
- Superchunk - "Hyper Enough"
- The Pietasters - "Out All Night"
- Therapy? - "Nowhere"