Satellite Camps Back On

Last week I was up in arms after hearing that the NCAA voted to ban satellite camps. Now a week later my hope has been restored. The NCAA board of directors met Thursday and decided to rescind the original April 8 vote.

The original ruling was upsetting for I knew the consequences it would have on football players hoping to play at the collegiate level. I don’t know this because I was a player myself. I know this because I grew up with brothers — three brothers by blood and a whole lot more by association. I have witnessed time and time again the hardships families go through trying to help their sons reach their goals. When it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter where in the country you are from. The biggest obstacle for players trying to reach the collegiate level is money.

When one camp costing upward of $200, not including travel and the expenses for family members that need to tag along, the idea of attending more than one camp can become impossible.

Players at satellite camps have the opportunity to be seen by multiple college coaches and recruiters in one visit and often for less money. Without satellite camps, I saw the dreams of hundreds of players become more out of reach. Luckily with Thursday’s decision, players and parents can rest easy. This year will run like years past.

Along with Thursday’s ruling, the NCAA “hopes for initial recommendations for improving the football recruiting environment.” So NCAA, here are some of my recommendations.


My first suggestion would be to limit the number of camps that college coaches are allowed to attend or host. The banning of satellite camps would hurt the non-power five conferences the most. These programs — including schools on the NCAA Division II and III and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics level — benefit the most from the ability to attend camps at other universities or third-party camps.

With that being said, I think putting a cap could help the recruiting circuit. The need for satellite camps aren’t as vital for power five conferences. Clearly the SEC and Atlantic Coast Conference didn’t think they were important at all when they put their own conference bans on it previously. So perhaps the cap should be the lowest for the power five schools.


Imagine the players who really want to play at Florida State. They figure out how to pull together a tuition fee of $350. But then they realize that they need an additional $400 because they aren’t from Florida. And then they learn being 15 years old mean a guardian needs to come.

I understand that these players are staying in dorms where they are using electricity and air conditioning. These players need to be fed and campus workers need to be working to make things run smoothly. I understand that coaches need to be paid for being away from their families for an additional four days. But the reality is these camps don’t need $400 a head to run. And for universities like Alabama, Michigan, Florida State, most of the money is going to paying their head coach’s already ridiculously large paycheck.

If the reason behind rescinding the April 8 vote was because the NCAA saw how the decision would hurt athletes and hinder scholarship opportunities, camp tuition fees should be lowered for the exact same reason.


Satellite ban to hurt athletes most

“The National Collegiate Athletic Association is a membership-driven organization dedicated to safeguarding the well-being of student-athletes and equipping them with the skills to succeed on the playing field, in the classroom and throughout life.”

That is the mission statement of the NCAA, and with its newest ruling that statement has been thrown out the window once again.

The NCAA Division I council met April 8 to vote on an issue that has been of pressing concern through this school year: satellite football camps. A representative from each of the 10 Division I conferences met to vote on whether the camps should be allowed or banned. The verdict — satellite camps will be no more.

This ruling isn’t shutting down third-party camps such as The Manning Passing Academy, but it is forbidding college coaches from attending. The ruling also forbids universities from hosting camps off campus grounds.

Satellite camps are nothing new on the college recruiting circuit, but came under criticism as the University of Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh set up camps throughout the south in his first year as head coach of the Wolverines.

The criticism came from one direction only though, the SEC. The SEC and the Atlantic Coast Conference have implemented their own satellite bans in years past to make sure they weren’t stepping on each others toes. Now feeling threatened by Harbaugh and the potential of other coaches coming into their region, they felt the need to try and enforce their rule on everyone, and they got their way.

The NCAA has been receiving a ton of backlash in regards to the issue, and it should, but it is also not 100 percent at fault. In this case the NCAA is the universities that make it up. The ACC, Big 12, Mountain West, Pacfic-12, SEC, and Sunbelt voted for the camp ban, while the American Conference, Big 10, Conference USA and Mid-American voted against it.

The criticism of satellite camps is that they allow coaches to grab recruits from regions other than their own, but the benefits of them are triple fold.

First off, we all know the top recruits in the country. We know the five-star and the four-star players. Coaches know about them without having to visit their home states and are offering scholarships whether they came to their camp or not. These kids have the ability to go anywhere in the country they choose, whether that’s close-to-home University of Alabama or across-the-country University of Oregon. This ruling doesn’t affect them.

This ruling affects the football players on that three-star level and lower — the players that maybe never even got ranked and the players that can’t afford to visit multiple university camps every year in hopes of being a match.

In years past, when a school like Ohio State hosted a summer camp, Buckeye coaches weren’t the only ones in attendance. There were coaches from the state’s smaller schools such as Toledo and Bowling Green. Out of the hundreds of players that attend an Ohio State camp, maybe a handful are considered future Buckeyes. The ones that aren’t just might be what the MAC programs are looking for. Satellite camps allow these kids to get noticed and to have a chance at a free college education and the opportunity to continue playing the sport they love.

College camps are expensive. If a player wants the chance to be seen by Nick Saban, he’s headed to the University of Alabama football camp, where an overnight tuition is $400. If a player wants the opportunity to become a University of Southern California Trojan, parents are looking at a tuition fee of $350. For a player from out of state, that’s a huge fee for the chance to be seen by one coaching staff.

Third-party camps broke the mold with coaches from multiple institutions in attendance. These third-party camps aren’t much cheaper, some are even more expensive, but they hold a greater possibility for players with coaches from different conferences and divisions taking note.

The ruling isn’t set in stone just yet. On April 28, the NCAA board of directors can adopt or rescind. The board is mainly made up of university presidents and chancellors, allowing each program to place its own vote.

I hope for the sake of football players everywhere that this ruling gets rescinded. I also hope it gets rescinded for the sake of the NCAA, which has continued to lose credibility over the years, and if not I call for a new mission statement:

“The National Collegiate Athletic Association is a membership-driven organization dedicated to money and keeping the money within the universities and coaches’ pockets. The well-being of the athlete only goes as far as making sure they are able to supply that income.”

Small Changes Big Impact?


War Memorial Stadium at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyo.

Growing up in Hawaii the high schools sport and those played at University of Hawaii at Manoa always took center stage. That is something my home state and Wyoming have in common — despite a plethora of differences.

Similar to Hawaii, Wyoming only has one university. Everyone is cheering for the same team. It’s not like where I went to school in Michigan where neighbors may not speak to each other due to the college flag hanging off their front porch.

University of Wyoming football is coming off a tough season. The Cowboys went 2-10 finishing sixth in the Mountain Division. In the Mountain West Conference, only the University of Hawaii played worse having zero wins, and UNLV and Fresno State in the West Division had the same conference record.

I went to four UW games this past season, all of which they lost, and the thing I noticed as time went on was that attendance went down and the stadium started clearing out earlier and earlier.

The 2016 college football season starts up in seven months and the Cowboys will have a lot to prove. Head coach Craig Bohl enters his third season with the Cowboys and he’s got a lot riding on this season. Everyone would like to see improvement.

There are several things that go into making a program successful. One of those is the strength and conditioning staff.

On Thursday, UW announced the hiring of a new Director of Sports Performance Russell Dennison. Dennison comes from the University of Oklahoma where he has been the assistant strength and conditioning coach for the past five years. A former Sooner football player himself, a fullback from 2002-2005, he brings a lot to the table.

Dennison was responsible for designing speed, strength and conditioning programs for the OU football team. A friend of mine who recently graduated from the University of Oklahoma and used to train with Sooner football had nothing but praise for Dennison, but did mention his focus on running. The Big 12 Conference is known for its speed, known for its offense, so it will be interesting to see the different dynamics Dennison can bring to the table.

I want to highlight and focus in on the “CAN” and not necessarily the “WILL.” The reason I say “CAN” is because much of Dennison’s success lies on the football coaching staff’s shoulders. Will they allow him to run the type of program that he thinks will be best? Is a speed-focused program what will be best for the Cowboys? Will Dennison and Bohl see eye to eye?

I’m sure Dennison has done his research and has an idea for the program and I’m excited to see if he will remain speed focused or take a more weight-room approach.

“Tell your brother to get ready for a lot of running and not so much weight lifting,” said my friend.

Sizewise Oklahoma is bigger than Wyoming. The Sooners’ have fewer players standing under 6 feet and more players standing over 6 foot, 5 inches. Oklahoma’s roster weighs an average of 65 pounds more than Wyoming’s. So my question becomes do smaller teams need more speed or more size? Sacrificing speed for size is never the answer.

I’m excited to see what Dennison can add to the program and I look forward to seeing an improved Cowboy team come August. The question is, just how much of an impact can a change in the strength and conditioning staff have?

Disclaimer: I am the sister of University of Wyoming sophomore linebacker/nickel Tim Kamana.

Tigers vs. Tide: Fighting an inner battle to predict a winner

And yet another college football bowl season is almost behind us. There is one game standing between today and a long seven month wait: the college football national championship.

After extremely one-sided semifinal match ups on New Year’s Eve, we were presented with the two contenders, the Tigers out of Clemson University and the Crimson Tide of the University of Alabama.

I was beyond excited for the semifinal matchups. I predicted one high scoring extremely offensive game, Clemson vs. Oklahoma; and one low-scoring defensive heavy game, Alabama vs. Michigan State; and, well, I got neither. And above all, both teams I predicted to win fell and fell ugly.

Sometimes I catch myself being that sports fan who loses all interest when my team loses, and currently I am walking the tightrope with that issue.

The only way I have learned to snap out of this mindset is to pick a new team, go all in. Unfortunately that has presented another issue for me. I am not an SEC fan; never have been, and that makes me want to march straight to the Clemson sidelines. But comparing the two teams and having watched them play all year, I just don’t think the Tigers have what it takes to stop the Roll Tide in their tracks.

Despite the fact that Clemson is undefeated, entering the championship game at 14-0, the Tigers are still the underdogs. It comes down to can Clemson’s Deshaun Watson and the rest of the offense get past Alabama’s intense defensive line and then also stop Heisman trophy winner Derrick Henry?

Clemson will be the strongest offensive opponent the Tide will face to this date, but Bama displayed against Michigan State that it has the toughest defensive line in the country. Its front seven also all come in with more than one season of experience.

While you can’t say the Tigers don’t have a defense, we can say that they are young. Clemson had the top defensive line in the country in 2014, but then its entire front seven went and graduated. If Alabama’s Jake Coker shows up and completes at least 75 percent of his passes like he did against Michigan State, the Tigers will have a lot more to stop than just Henry.

No. 1 Clemson and No. 2 Alabama will meet on the gridiron Monday at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The winner will go down as the best team in the 2015-16 season, the loser a strong second, but as my dad always told me, second place is first loser.

With a 40 bowl game postseason, minus the only game that matters, I am 23-17 with predictions. Fifty-seven percent is not the greatest but definitely not the worst either. At least I am above even.

I’m not predicting a blowout by any means, but I think betting against Bama is the wrong decision here. As much as I dislike the SEC and would love for Clemson to win it all, 15-0, Roll Tide whatever the rest of it is.

Prediction: Alabama

Bowl Seaon: Week 2

With Week 1 of bowl games wrapped up, we venture into Week 2. This next week brings some bigger name bowl games along with some bigger name teams into the lineup. Greatest of all, we end this rundown with the college football playoffs semifinal games.

I am currently 5-5 on predictions, not counting Christmas Eve games.

DEC. 26


The Huskies’ Jamar Summers is third in the nation with seven interceptions, helping his team rank in at No. 17 for FBS scoring defense. UConn allows 10.8 points per game, but while its defense is tight, the offense is where the team will struggle.

Offensively the Huskies are averaging just 13 points per game. If you thought UConn’s defense was strong, Marshall’s is even better, ranking it at No. 14.

Prediction: Marshall


Washington State hasn’t won a bowl game since 2003 but is hoping quarterback Luke Falk can help change that. The Cougars went 6-7 with Falk as their starting quarterback with their only loss coming to Stanford. Falk has thrown for 4,266 yards and 36 touchdowns this season.

Falk went down with an injury half way through the season but is expected to be ready to go against the Canes. Miami hasn’t won a bowl game since 2006 and has made five postseason appearances since. Former Georgia head coach Mark Richt will take over in the 2016 season.

Prediction: Washington State


Washington has the best defense in the Pac-12 and should be able to slow down Southern Mississippi’s offense led by Nick Mullens. He connected with the end zone for 36 touchdowns this season.

The Huskies’ rookie quarterback should be able to continue his successful campaign against a weaker defense. Jake Browning completed 62.9 percent of passes for 2,671 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Prediction: Washington


Both teams struggled down the final stretch, but overall Indiana had a tougher schedule. Two of the Hoosiers losses came from two of the nation’s best teams: Michigan State and Ohio State. Indiana lost by only one score in both matchups.

All-Big Ten Indiana running back Jordan Howard also looks to return after missing the regular season finale. Howard ran for 1,213 yards and scored nine touchdowns.

Prediction: Indiana


There is no better way for the Hokies to send head coach Frank Beamer into retirement than with a bowl win over Tulsa. Tulsa has a stronger looking quarterback than Virginia Tech with Dane Evans calling the plays, but the VT’s special team units will make all the difference. All of Tulsa’s losses have been by more than 13 points this season.

Prediction: Virginia Tech


Nebraska is another one of those teams that is not deserving of a bowl opportunity, but the 5-7 Cornhuskers are being underestimated because of it. Nebraska almost pulled off wins against Wisconsin, Northwestern and Iowa. It beat Michigan State.

UCLA came out strong with wins over BYU and Arizona, but in September the Bruins couldn’t seem to pull it off. A surprising loss to USC kept UCLA out of the Pac-12 championship game against Stanford.

Prediction: Nebraska

DEC. 28


Pitt has one of the best run defenses in the country but it is going to have some trouble stopping Navy’s triple option offense. The Midshipmen averaged 319.2 yards per game with quarterback Keenan Reynolds at the helm. Reynolds broke the NCAA Division I career record this season with 85 rushing touchdowns. He also has 1,229 yards and 21 touchdowns in the season.

Some other things Navy has going for them: home-field advantage and a shorter break due to the Army vs. Navy game.

Prediction: Navy


Central Michigan has won five of its last six games to finish the season 8-5 after a 2-4 start. Minnesota is on a seven-game losing streak. The matchup pits the Chippewas’ No. 21 defense against the Gophers’ No. 105 offense.

Minnesota is the third and final team to play in a bowl game with a losing record this season.

Prediction: Central Michigan

Dec. 29


California looks to potential top QB draft pick Jared Goff to lead it to a win. Goff has 4,252 yards and 37 touchdowns in the season. Air Force is coming off two tough losses to New Mexico and San Diego State.

Prediction: California


These two teams are expected to deliver a high-scoring game to viewers. Both teams have top-rated spread offenses. Baylor has the No. 1 offense in the country but injuries at multiple positions looks to be deathly. The Bears averaged 48 points and 605 yards a game, but in their last two games scored a grand total of 31 points.

The Bears announced that they will be playing without three key offensive components: wide receiver and Biletnikoff Award winner Corey Coleman, running back Shock Linwood and QB Jarett Stidham.

Prediction: North Carolina


The Arizona Bowl brings up a Mountain West Conference matchup. Due to different divisions, this will be the first meeting this season for the two teams. It’s almost like a second conference championship. Colorado State enters the game with a higher-ranked defense and offense.

Prediction: Colorado State


Texas Tech will have some difficulties trying to slow down LSU’s Leonard Fournette. He averaged 271.8 rushing yards per game and needs just 259 more yards to reach a season total of 2,000.

The Red Raiders allowed 271.8 rushing yards per game. In their worst loss of the season, 63-27 defeat at the hands of Oklahoma, they allowed 405.

Prediction: LSU

DEC. 30


It’s the attack of the Tigers as this game features one of the seasons’ biggest disappointments, Auburn, and one of the seasons’ biggest surprises, Memphis. With Will Muschamp leaving Auburn for South Carolina, the Tigers will attempt the win without a defensive coordinator. Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch is another QB looking to go high in the draft, and with 3,670 yards, 28 touchdowns and three interceptions, that may just happen.

This is Memphis interim coach Darrell Dickey’s big opportunity to prove himself.

Prediction: Memphis


It will be a battle of quarterbacks between Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott and NC State’s Jacoby Brissett. Prescott had 3,413 yards, 25 touchdowns and four interceptions this season. Brissett had 2,448 yards, 19 touchdowns and four interceptions.

Prescott is the bigger asset. He was also the Bulldogs’ leading rusher with 541 yards and 10 end-zone appearances.

Prediction: Mississippi State


The Aggies are dealing with some issues as quarterback sophomore Kyle Allen has already left and now rumors are flying that freshman Kyler Murray is considering transferring.

Aggies receiver Christian Kirk is one of the country’s top freshmen, leading the team with 70 catches for 925 yards and six touchdowns, but without a QB, Kirk won’t be seeing success.

Prediction: Louisville


USC has had a strong second half of the season with losses only to top-15 opponents. The Trojans also won impressively against city rivals UCLA and Utah. Wisconsin has no wins against top-ranked opponents, making me think it won’t be able to outscore Cody Kessler and the rest of the Trojan offense.

Prediction: USC

DEC. 31


Florida State’s Dalvin Cook ran for 1,658 yards and 18 touchdowns. He had more than 100 yards in eight games, four of which closed out the regular season. Houston is 12-1 under first season coach Tom Herman. If the Cougars win, it will be their first 13-game winning season since 2011. Can wins against Navy and Temple sway you enough to bet against the 2013 national champions and last year’s playoff finalist? Herman did work under Urban Meyer; I’m going with the upset.

Prediction: Houston


With a win in the college football playoff semifinals, the Tigers will be a stunning 14-0. Clemson is lead by sophomore quarterback and Heisman finalist Deshaun Watson. He had a completion percentage of 69.5 and passed for 3,512 yards with 30 touchdown and 11 interceptions. He also ran for 887 yards for 11 scores.

But Oklahoma is coming in with a strong offensive attack as well. Since their loss to Texas, the Sooners have won out and beat all but one opponent, TCU, by more than 10 points. October proved that the Big 12 Conference was tougher than the ACC.

Prediction: Oklahoma


The key to shutting down Alabama in the college football playoff semifinals will be shutting down Heisman winner and Alabama running back Derrick Henry. He set an SEC record this season with 1,986 rushing yards. Michigan State enters the game with the seventh ranked run defense in the nation, allowing only 113.1 yards per game.

Michigan State will have to try and force the Tide to put the ball in quarterback Jake Coker’s hands. Coker has only had one game where he’s thrown for more than 250 yards. If the Spartans can shut down Bama’s offense, there will be no stopping them. Michigan State’s Connor Cook is one of the top quarterbacks in the nation. Cook has thrown for 2,921 yards and 24 touchdowns this season, and is 34-4 as a starter.

Prediction: Michigan State

A Merry Bowl Season

Saturday kicks off the happiest time of the year — BOWL SEASON. 2015 brings a record-breaking 41 bowl games. With the high number of spots to fill, organizers had to welcome in three teams with losing records (5-7) — Minnesota, San Jose State and Nebraska.

The bowl schedule brings some great matchups, including ones that may turn out to be a bit surprising, cue teams with losing records pulling off the upset.

For the next three weeks I will be bringing you all of my hopefully correct predictions.

DEC. 19

New Mexico Bowl: Arizona (6-6) Vs. New Mexico (7-5)

These two teams come in with very similar playing styles. Both are run-heavy teams, rushing the ball more than 45 times per game and yet neither team has a running back that is averaging more than 15 carries per game.

The Wildcats have had a hard time stopping the run this season ranking in at 89th in rushing yards allowed. The Lobos are even worse at 97th.

New Mexico enters the contest with a stronger passing game than the Wildcats which will be put to use if needed. The Lobos’ triple-option rushing attack will be too much for Arizona, like it was for other opponents not familiar with it this season.

Prediction: New Mexico

Las Vegas Bowl: BYU (9-3) Vs. Utah (9-3)

Utah began the season almost too impressively. I knew they weren’t going to hold on to their playoff spot but I also didn’t expect the Utes to drop all the way to No. 22. Utah has lost two of their last three games and lost starting running back, Devontae Booker — the momentum is in BYU’s favor. The in-state rivalry wasn’t supposed to be reprised for another year though, so either way it is bound to be a strong fight on both sides.

Prediction: BYU

Camellia Bowl: Ohio (8-4) Vs. Appalachian State (10-2)

Bowl Season say hello to Appalachian State who is making its first appearance ever. Appalachian State showed dominance against a fairly weak schedule but ranking 13th in scoring defense and 19th in scoring offense. Ohio has been blown out by three non-Power Five teams — Western Michigan, Buffalo and Bowling Green. Both teams are coming off three-game win streaks.

Prediction: Appalachian State

Cure Bowl: San Jose State (5-7) Vs. Georgia State (6-6)

Despite a losing record, San Jose State is the nation’s No. 2 pass defense and Georgia State’s No. 8 passing offense is going to have some trouble. Georgia State also comes in at No. 73 in yards allowed per carry leaving plenty of opportunity for San Jose State’s running back Tyler Ervin. Ervin has a total of 1,469-yards this season and averages 5.6 yards a carry.

Prediction: San Jose State

New Orleans Bowl: Arkansas State (9-3) Vs. Louisiana Tech (8-4)

Arkansas State lost their season opener against the USC Trojans but finished off the season with the better record. The Red Wolves have won eight straight scoring more than 40 points in all but one matchup. Louisiana Tech, with the help of running back Kenneth Dixon, should be able to move the ball. Dixon has scored 83 career touchdowns, 22 this season. I’m just not sure about Louisiana Tech’s defense and their ability to stop the Red Wolves offense — Arkansas State may be too much to handle.

Prediction: Arkansas State

Dec. 21

Miami Beach Bowl: Western Kentucky (11-2) vs. South Florida (8-4)

Like New Mexico, South Florida has what looks like home-field advantage. The Bulls had a rocky start but finished out its final eight games with only a loss to Navy to get that 8-4 record. Western Kentucky has a high-powered offense backed by sixth-year senior quarterback Brandon Doughty, who has passed for 45 touchdowns this season. The Hilltoppers are averaging 23 points a game against Power Five opponents, and 50.6 points against everyone else.

Prediction: Western Kentucky

Dec. 22

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Akron (7-5) vs. Utah State (6-6)

This is Akron’s first trip to a bowl game since 2005. Utah State has a slightly more difficult schedule than Akron which contributes to the difference in record (not much). The Akron offense I’ve seen throughout the season has been shaky at best. If they don’t show up at kick-off, Utah State will run circles. Plus, the Aggies are no stranger to the Potato Bowl, this is Utah State’s third appearance in five years.

Prediction: Utah State

Marmot Boca Raton Bowl: Temple (10-3) vs. Toledo (9-2)

Temple has put up some strong fights and some impressive wins this season. The Owls almost beat the Fighting Irish, held Houston to just 24 points and beat Penn State for the first time in 74 years. With Toledo players knowing head coach Matt Campbell is surely heading to Iowa State next season, there could be some emotions running on the field.

Prediction: Temple

Poinsettia Bowl: Boise State (8-4) vs. Northern Illinois (8-5)

Boise State, despite wins against Washington and Virginia, isn’t too happy with its performance this season. They are looking to end the season on a high note and their offense has the ability to deliver. Northern Illinois cornerback, Shawun Lurry, leads the nation with nine interceptions this season, so the Broncos will want to watch out for him. But the Huskies haven’t been the same since they lost starting quarterback Drew Hare to injury.

Prediction: Boise State

GoDaddy Bowl: Georgia Southern (8-4) vs. Bowling Green (10-3)

Without their coach, Dino Babers (moving to Syracuse), it’s hard to pick Bowling Green. Georgia Southern is another school making history with its first-ever bowl appearance and they hope to continue making history with their first-ever bowl win.

Prediction: Georgia Southern

Dec. 24

Popeyes Bahamas Bowl: Middle Tennessee (7-5) vs. Western Michigan (7-5)

Western Michigan enters the game with two receivers totaling more than 1,100 yards in 2015, Corey Davis and Daniel Braverman. Middle Tennessee doesn’t stand a chance with a defense ranking in at No. 91.

Prediction: Western Michigan

Hawaii Bowl: San Diego State (10-3) vs. Cincinnati (7-5)

I grew up attending the Hawaii Bowl every Christmas Eve, at least if my grandma allowed it. It was always interesting to see which team brought in a stronger crowd, because more times than not, the team with the larger fan base pulled off the win.

Due to location, San Diego State most likely will be the winner in traveling fan base, they also have a few local players on the team to draw in the Hawaii crowd from the parking lot. But the Aztecs haven’t lost a game since Sept. 26 and are bringing the nation’s No. 15-ranked rushing offense.

Cincinnati’s biggest weakness is its rushing defense.

Overall, both teams win for having a destination Christmas.

Prediction: San Diego State Bowl

Things I have learned from the CFP Committee

College football made it relatively easy for the College Football Playoff Committee this year. Last weekend’s conference championship games pretty much all went as predicted leaving us with four teams for the playoff –four teams that I can’t exactly form an argument against.

We have the ACC champion, undefeated 13-0 Clemson at No. 1. We have the SEC champion, 12-1 Alabama at No. 2. We have the Big 10 champion, 12-1 Michigan State at No. 3. And lastly, the one without a conference championship, Big 12 champion Oklahoma at No. 4.

As much as I enjoyed not being in distress over the committee’s selections this year, part of me had been wishing for chaos. I needed chaos in order to get insight into how this committee decides which teams get to have their dreams come true.

Last year, we saw the committee shaft two Big 12 schools, the Baylor Bears and the TCU Horned Frogs. Prior to conference championship weekend, TCU was ranked No. 3. Even having played a game that weekend and winning, it wasn’t a conference championship, and the Horned Frogs dropped to No. 6.

I was in complete shock, confusion and slight anger over the committee’s decision to rank Ohio State above the two Big 12 universities. For a blog I started during my college career, I wrote a heated column explaining why the committee made a mistake.

The Buckeyes went on to prove that they may have been the right candidate after beating Alabama to become the National Champions, but I can still argue that if TCU or Baylor had been slotted at No. 4 they could have earned the title as well. It’s a huge “what if” at this point.

What I learned from last year’s selection is that the Big 12 may be hurting itself by not having a conference championship. With the 10-team round robin thing it has going on, TCU and Baylor were co-champions in 2014 and I can’t help but wonder if they had played each other for a second time, if the winner would have been a shoe-in for the playoff.

Bob Bowlsby, the Big 12 commissioner, didn’t let last year’s snubbing force them into making rash decisions. No new teams were added and there was no change in their model. This year, it didn’t seem to be an issue.

The one team we knew for sure would be granted a ticket to the playoff prior to conference championship weekend was Oklahoma. The Sooners got to sit idle while all other potential candidates battled one more time.

I don’t think two years is enough to say there is a trend one way or the other, but I definitely think the next few years will be strong signs in telling the Big 12 what they need to do.

Right now, I will say this, the Sooners are lucky the teams around them that needed to win in order to keep sanity won. There were really no teams that were able to put up a true fight against them. And, with Michigan State’s jump over the Big 12 candidate, No. 4 to No.3, I can’t help but think that the years ahead will lead to change within the conference.