Back when I was a kid, Score was the brand you bought when you didnt have enough allowance left to buy Upper Deck or Topps. To me, it was an inferior brand back then, and its an inferior brand now. Doesnt help that some of the ugliest cards of the modern era have come from this set. That hasnt stopped Panini from trotting it out year after year, like its some event to have ugly cards with a brand name that should have been axed back in 2005.
Some of the cards are live already, potentially retail:
Nothing can touch last year’s awful format, which might have been the worst idea Panini has ever come up with. They released Score in a retail only format, and stamped foil onto the score cards (literally) for a new hobby set called Hot Rookies. I cant make this shit up. They took the score design, and literally printed foil on top of it with a new logo, except for the fact that you could still see that it was a re-purposed card. For reference, Hot Rookies is now selling at about 30% of dealer cost, and even that is a rip off.
This year, Score is back to being a hobby and retail release, and uses Panini's new NCAA exclusive to the fullest. In fact, this is about the best thing they could have done, as it actually serves the product well to have action shots from College instead of the HORRENDOUS airbrushed sideline shots from last year. This is where the NCAA exclusive actually pays off.
That doesnt change the fact that Score is still a piece of shit set. Panini once marketed the product as a way to get kids back in the game, which only further shows how delusional they are. Kids are long gone, and the money it would take to get them back isnt worth even thinking about spending. Using Score football as a half assed attempt to attract children back to the hobby is like trying to use tofu as a vehicle to get people to stop eating meat.
In terms of the design of the set, it isnt a horrible one. The base design isnt actually that bad, especially considering how bad it has been in the past. What is truly horrible are the inserts, which bear the signature Panini GIANT text in spades. Its laughable how bad these cards are. Im starting to believe there is a meeting where the people present designs, and someone at the table rates the design on how big the text is. If its not big, the design is rejected. That is literally the only explanation I can muster for cards of this sort.
I think that if you are going to spend the money on this crap, save it for later in the year when you can get boxes at half price. This will stand up about as well as a piece of paper in a light wind.