Happy New Year!
New Year's day is finally here, and that means the most anticipated bowl games are finally here.
This year's Outback Bowl features a match-up between two potent rushing attacks, and quite a few talented prospects on both sides of the ball.
The Badgers' best prospect, and probably the top prospect in the whole game, is running back Melvin Gordon. For a good portion of the season, there was a very healthy debate over who was the best running back in the nation: Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon or Georgia's Todd Gurley. That debate was put to rest, if not settled, when Gurley suffered a season-ending knee injury and Gordon went on to take the single game rushing record and become reach 2,000 yards in the fewest attempts in NCAA history. Gordon has become an all-around back, who can run outside, between the tackles, and a capable receiver. He runs with great vision, balance, and shows acceleration to be a home-run threat from almost anywhere on the field.
While Gordon will get all of the attention, Wisconsin has some other prospects to keep an eye on. Right tackle Rob Havenstein is a 6-foot-8, 330-pound road grader of an offensive lineman. What he lacks in lateral quickness he definitely makes up for in pure, mauling, power. He likely only fits a team that runs a man-power blocking scheme
On the other side of the field, Auburn has several interesting prospects.
Their best prospect is wide receiver Sammie Coats has a fantastic blend of size and speed. With a prototypical frame and -- reported -- 4.3 speed, he is a consistent big play threat. Coming from an offense that is most definitely not "Pro-Style" Coates' route running definitely leaves something to be desired from an NFL perspective.
Linebacker Kris Frost is a guy who could intrigue the New York Giants. He has decent size at 6-2, 235 pounds, and shows very solid athleticism, and some explosiveness when he makes a hit. He started out as a middle linebacker, but has looked much more comfortable when he moved to outside linebacker.
Odds: Auburn -6.5
TV: Jan. 1. Noon EST, ESPN-2