Ingram to grace cover of NCAA Football 12

Tuesday, EA Sports unveiled its NCAA Football 12 cover athlete. The winner, selected by the fans, was former Alabama running back Mark Ingram, who won the Heisman Trophy in 2009.

Ingram is the second straight SEC player to grace the cover of one of EA’s most popular video games. Florida’s Tim Tebow was the 2011 cover athlete.

Ingram, who finished the 2010 season with 875 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns on 158 carries, beat out former Washington quarterback Jake Locker, Oklahoma running back DeMarco Murray and Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley.

Outside of Fairley, who won the Lombardi Award last season, this isn’t the most glamorous of lineups.

Ingram won the Heisman in 2009, but fought injury and consistency in 2010. He rushed for more than 100 yards just twice.

It was a fan vote, so you can’t argue the choice. Ingram deserves a congratulations and he had a great career at Alabama. Besides, Tebow won last year with a not-so-impressive senior season, too.

However, there are a few other names left off the ballot that certainly would have given Ingram a run for his cover.

Two that immediately come to mind are former SEC stars: Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green and LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson.

You could even argue that Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus or wide receiver Julio Jones should have been in the running.

Why didn’t they make it? Not sure. But I have my suspicions on a couple.

The NCAA trouble Green got into that caused him to miss the first four games of the season might have been a factor. He ended up leading the Bulldogs with 57 receptions for 848 yards and nine touchdowns.

All Newton did was win the Heisman in 2010 and lead the Tigers to a national championship. He was Auburn’s team, accumulating 50 total touchdowns and even led the SEC in rushing with 1,473 yards.

Of course, EA might have been a little hesitant to put his name on the ballot with the NCAA investigation of Newton and his father.

As for Peterson, he wasn’t involved in off-the-field wrong doings this fall and could be a top-five pick in this month’s NFL Draft. He’s the top corner prospect and is extremely exciting to watch in the return game.

Green paid his dues and the NCAA hasn’t found Newton guilty of anything, but his investigation likely isn’t over.

Yes, having either might look bad for EA, but they were deserving of a shot. Let the fans decide from there.

Would having either Newton or Green on the cover really hurt sales of a game that wouldn’t even feature either athlete? Would it force the normal fan of the franchise to put the box back on the shelf?

The NCAA certainly wants EA to represent its product in the most positive light, but if the game sold more copies with Newton on the cover, do you think either side would be upset?

I don’t think so.

Unfortunately, a few of the country’s best college football player was shut out and we’ll never know the excitement that might have ensued if Newton, Fairley and Ingram battled for EA supremacy.