I don't really like to hear all this new (old) debate on the new version of the game...and I did not know that Norbert was gone (that is very disheartening). However, the common theme that I have heard for the last few years that I have been playing is this:
How many "upsets" are acceptable in the game?
For those who end up on the losing side of the upset, then its bad. For those on the winning side, its good. Gameplanning advocates generally believe that upsets should happen if they do a really good job of gameplanning (and I do not like the word "trick"). Talent advocates generally believe that if their team is more "talented" by some margin, then they should never lose that game. IMO, neither one is fully correct.
Actually the current engine provides me with an example of both of the above philosophies. Recently completed Heisman season, D1AA. I have a reasonably talented team, and this was my 5th season at a minor rebuild. I made it to the NC game and lost 10-7. I NEVER CHANGED MY DEFENSIVE SETTINGS the entire season, until the semifinal game. At that point I made many, many changes in hopes of beating a much more talented (#1 GUESS) team. I did the same thing in the NC game against a somewhat more talented team. I came within a fumble into the endzone of winning the NC with a team that overachieved in the playoffs.
Personally, I think the outcome of my specific team was probably appropriate. I don't think the team was really good enough to have won the NC. However, I have solid gameplans that have won me many games and my major changes to defense when needed, clearly helped me win that semifinal game.
In my 2+ years of playing I don't think I have an example of a game that I could not explain the outcome. I might not have liked the outcome, but I could explain it. Yes, the engine has "streaks". Yes, there are things that should be changed (I want to throw from the Gun with my passing QB...and run out of the Gun with my running QB). But, UNTIL WE SOLVE THE DEBATE OVER HOW MANY UPSETS ARE APPROPRIATE, all of this back and forth banter will continue and will confuse the developers regarding what we want and what is best for a good/great football simulation.