Russell Westbrook’s Triple-Double Season, Better Than The Big O’s?

Averaging a triple-double is no small feat. Oscar Robertson is known for being the only player in NBA history to average a triple-double for an entire season. Russell Westbrook is trying to make history by becoming the second player ever to do it this season. Both are great players and deserve recognition, but Westbrook’s season is more impressive than Robertson’s. Here are the reasons why:

Minutes Per Game

The minutes played per game shows a huge gap between the two players. Robertson averaged a staggering 44.3 minutes per game during his triple-double season in 1961-1962. Westbrook is averaging about 10 less minutes per game at 34.6.

Russell Westbrook (Photo courtesy:thebiglead.com)

Scoring isn’t an issue for either player, as both could get to 10 points with ease in their allotted time (Robertson averaged 30.8 points, Westbrook averages 30.6 points). These extra minutes allowed Robertson to rack up his assist and rebound numbers that Westbrook doesn’t have the opportunity to (Robertson averaged 12.5 rebounds and 11.4 assists, Westbrook is averaging 10.6 rebounds and 10.4 assists). Give credit to Robertson for being able to play that much, but overall he produces less stats per minute than Westbrook (including turnovers sometimes).

NBA stat gurus look at what players can do per 36 minutes on the floor. Westbrook’s stats would go up and still be a triple-double with the extra time to get to 36 minutes. Robertson would have come up just short of a triple-double had he played 36 minutes per game. The Big O would have grabbed just enough boards at 10.1 rebounds per 36 minutes, but would have fallen short in his assist numbers with 9.2.

Now, from what the average fan knows about Russ, he would play all 48 minutes if allowed to, but that isn’t how the NBA works anymore. If they played the same amount of time on the floor, so far, Westbrook has Robertson beat.

Shots Attempted Per Game

This stat is surprising. Shortly after the shot clock era started (1954), in the 1961-1962 season, more shots were attempted per game than are now. In that season there was a league average of 107.7 field goal attempts per game, per team. This season, teams are averaging 85.4 field goal attempts per game.

Oscar Robertson (Photo courtesy: cincinnati.com)

As mentioned, this doesn’t really matter in terms of their scoring, but again this gives Robertson more access to assists and rebounds. With over 20 more attempts per game, Robertson has more chances to have teammates make shots off of his passes and has a better chance to rebound more.

In Robertson’s era, he made a rebound on 5.8% of shots attempted per game (average shots per team attempted x2, rebound average per game divided by the first number). Westbrook has done better, rebounding on 6.2% of shots attempted per game, while playing less minutes (giving him less opportunity to rebound the complete number of shots attempted in a game).

For assists, Robertson’s Cincinnati Royals averaged 105.2 shot attempts per game, while he averaged 11.4 assists per game. He assisted on 10.8% of the Royals shot attempts. Westbrook on the other hand has 10.4 assists per game, with the Thunder averaging 86.3 shot attempts per game. His number comes out to 12.1% of assists out of the Thunder’s shot attempts. Considering the field goal percentages of the teams are very similar at around 45%, Westbrook again is outperforming Robertson.

The more shots per game affect how many possessions a team has. Once again Robertson would fall short of a triple-double if his team had 100 possessions per game with 9.9 assists averaged per game, while Westbrook’s stats would improve.

Average Height and Weight

It is really tough for guards to average more than 10 rebounds per game. Players’ heights and weights haven’t changed as drastically as a lot of people would think, but they have changed. The average height has gone up about two inches from the time Robertson had his magnificent season to now. As for average weight, it has gone up around 16 pounds in that same period. 

Robertson was listed at 6’5″ and 205 pounds during his playing days. Taking the average height in inches from the graph above (1961), the average height of an NBA player was 6’4″. He actually had an edge on most players in the league rebounding-wise. His 205 pounds was also above the league average, giving him an advantage.

Westbrook stands at 6’3″ and 200 pounds. With the average height of the league being around 6’6″ tall, he has to fight for his rebounds. He is also well below the average weight of NBA players in today’s game, meaning he has to rely on his freakish athletic ability to jump and fight for rebounds.

With Westbrook battling among the trees for rebounds and Robertson being taller than the average height of his era, Westbrook’s rebounding numbers, though smaller in number, are more impressive.

Conclusion

Westbrook has a long way to go, 38 games to be exact, but as his stats stand now, his season is more impressive than Robertson’s. If he can finish out the year healthy, he will go down in history as having the best all-around individual season of all time.

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2017 College Basketball Bracketology January 18

The NCAA Tournament is just two months away, which means teams are starting to make their final push to be invited. There is still a lot of basketball left to be played, but as it stands now, here is the latest college basketball bracketology:

College Basketball Bracketology

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2017 NFL Mock Draft January 12

2017 NFL Mock Draft

1. Cleveland Browns- Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M

The Browns reportedly have a very high grade on Garrett and are not targeting a quarterback with their first pick. Garrett is the premier pass rusher in college football, but has also proven to be a good run defender as well. Cleveland has to acquire talent all over their roster, so they need to take the best player available, who is Garrett.

2. San Francisco 49ers- DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame

San Francisco has a lot of needs, including a new coach. Kizer has the size and arm strength to be a franchise quarterback. He has some issues with being consistent with the accuracy of his passes, but for the most part is decent. If he wants to be successful he should work on putting passes in areas for wide receivers to run after the catch.

3. Chicago Bears- Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina

Matt Barkley has played better than expected, but the Bears will still need a new quarterback. Trubisky has protected the football very well, with the exception of a couple of games. Issues that scouts will find with him are that he has only started one season of college football and a lot of his stats come from screen passes where receivers run after the catch.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars- Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama

Allen is the best prospect available and fills a need. Malik Jackson was the only defensive lineman who played well for the Jaguars. At six feet three inches tall and 291 pounds, Allen can play any position on the defensive line and can fit into any system.

5. Tennessee Titans- Mike Williams, WR, Clemson

In the National Championship Game, Mike Williams was the difference maker for Clemson. Williams is the best red zone threat in college football from the wide receiver position. He is tall and lanky, but athletic enough to make great catches. Mariota needs a go to receiver to throw to and the Titans ma have to take one earlier than expected.

6. New York Jets- Tim Williams, DE/OLB, Alabama

The Jets finished the season with just 29 sacks. Their secondary needs improvement, but improving the pass rush will help the secondary. Williams will fit in great in the Jets’ 3-4 defense. He has played better against the pass this season too, which will make him more desirable.

7. San Diego Chargers- Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama

Phillip Rivers deserves the most credit in the league for keeping his team competitive with all of his skill position players hurt and a bad offensive line. Robinson can slide right in and start protecting the aging Rivers and give him more time to make plays.

8. Carolina Panthers- Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU

Cam Newton and Leonard Fournette in the same backfield may be too much, but Jonathan Stewart is wearing down. Fournette can do everything required as a running back and help take some carries away from Newton. Their offense can be dynamic with the combination of the two.

9. Cincinnati Bengals- Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee

When Cincinnati was at their best, they rushed the passer well. Michael Johnson no longer does that well, so he needs to be upgraded. Barnett is one of the best pass rushers in the class and can also help stop the run at an average level.

10. Buffalo Bills- Jamal Adams, S, LSU

Adams is the most complete safety in the class. He stops the run, covers well and even hits hard. Against Ole Miss he showed he can cover tight ends when he was matched up against Evan Engram. The Bills have a lot of uncertainty at safety with Aaron Williams, but Adams could be the pick anyways.

11. New Orleans Saints- Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford

The Saints need defensive help wherever they can get it. Improving the pass rush will be an easy decision if they see Solomon Thomas on the board. Thomas is a well rounded defensive end, who is as good at stopping the run as he is rushing the passer.

12. Cleveland Browns- Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama

While Mike Williams was the best player for Clemson, Foster was the best player for Alabama in the National Championship Game. He was all over the field and showed great closing speed on ball carriers. In addition to that, he was a very effective when blitzing, knocking down Deshaun Watson plenty of times. He is also good in coverage, which doesn’t leave many holes in his game.

13. Arizona Cardinals- Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama

This is a great value pick for the Cardinals, as Humphrey is a top ten talent. The pick also fills a need with Arizona’s secondary not playing as well as in previous seasons.

14. Indianapolis Colts- Adoree’ Jackson, CB, USC

Indianapolis needs to start playing better defense to give Andrew Luck a chance to win games. Jackson is one of the fastest players in the entire class and almost qualified for the track and field team in the Olympics this summer. He is a shut down corner, who plays like Deion Sanders. The most impressive thing he does is slow down to bait the quarterback into throwing a pass and then speed up to intercept it.

15. Philadelphia Eagles- Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida

The Eagles defense was a lot better this season, but could still use some help at the corner position. Florida has plenty of good defensive players, but Wilson is the one who has risen up draft boards the most.

16. Baltimore Ravens- Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State

If Cook falls to Baltimore, which he may not, the Ravens will be all over him. They need a good running back to help make that offense more dynamic. Cook and Fournette are really close in terms of who is the better running back. Joe Flacco will have an extra receiving target, while the running game should see a huge boost too.

17. Washington Redskins- Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State

Washington has other needs, but McDowell could really bolster their defensive line and be a great value pick. McDowell can rush the passer, but his main impact will be helping out a bad Washington run defense.

18. Tennessee Titans- Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State

The Titans already have a great receiver drafted to help Mariota, now they need to help their secondary. Lattimore was the best corner back in the Big Ten this season and can start immediately to help Tennessee’s horrid pass defense.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State

Secondary play is where the Bucs fall short, especially at safety. Fortunately for them this class has a lot of good safeties. Hooker is a ball-hawk who has great coverage skills, but needs to provide more run support.

20. Denver Broncos- Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

John Elway has to find a new right tackle as Donald Stephenson isn’t the answer. McGlinchey played left tackle this season, but was more successful as a right tackle during his college career.

21. Detroit Lions- Chris Wormley, DE/DT, Michigan

Detroit defied the odds to make the playoffs, but their defense needs a lot of work. Interior defensive line play was bad. Wormley can play defensive tackle in their scheme and be an absolute force in the middle of the defensive line.

22. Miami Dolphins- Jalen Tabor, CB, Florida

Tabor has fallen down draft boards, which may have come at the expense of teammate Quincy Wilson’s improved stock. Lock down coverage is Tabor’s best asset, but he also has good ball skills once passes come his way. The Dolphins need to spend some picks on their secondary and their defensive line this year and Tabor can compete for a starting job.

23. New York Giants- Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt

It seems like every year the Giants need linebackers, but they hardly address those issues. Cunningham is tall and lanky, but makes plays. He is a tackle machine that can vastly improve the run defense.

24. Oakland Raiders- Jabrill Peppers, CB/LB/S, Michigan

The Raiders’ defense wasn’t good this season. They have to get better to help Derek Carr and the high-powered offense win games. Peppers can be successful at any position in the back seven of the defense and will give the Raiders a lot of flexibility and a good player behind Khalil Mack.

25. Houston Texans- Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin

Quarterback play has been an issue, so they may go for one here, but the offensive line hasn’t performed either. If they want to build a good offense, it starts in the trenches. Ramczyk is a good run blocker, but needs to improve his pass blocking. He can fit in at right tackle for the Texans.

26. Seattle Seahawks- Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame

It is the same story, but a different day for Seattle. Their offensive line is atrocious. Quenton Nelson is a solid prospect who can help out on the interior of the offensive line. He will be the selection if there aren’t any tackles good enough to get drafted in this range.

27. Green Bay Packers- Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford

McCaffrey sat out his bowl game and will now have to see if his draft stock falls. As of now, he could be a great fit for the Packers, who are playing Ty Montgomery, a wide receiver, at running back. Even when Eddie Lacy comes back, he hasn’t performed enough to keep his job. McCaffrey can run in between the tackles, but Aaron Rodgers will love his ability as a receiver.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers- Charles Harris, DE/OLB, Missouri

The Steeler pass rush hasn’t been the same recently. Jarvis Jones is a bust and James Harrison can’t play forever. Harris is a good edge rusher that can, at the very least, push the veterans with some competition and provide depth.

29. Atlanta Falcons- O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama

Jacob Tamme is a decent tight end, but he isn’t great. Levine Toilolo hasn’t proven that he can be the starter. Matt Ryan would love the addition of Howard, who would just add to the number of targets he has. The Falcons could, and probably should go defense here, but Howard may be too good to pass up.

30. Kansas City Chiefs- Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan

Davis is a premier talent at wide receiver. He is big, at 6 feet 3 inches, but his skills match that of a smaller receiver, making him a unique prospect. The Chiefs can draft the receivers, but ultimately Alex Smith has to throw it to them to make this pick worthwhile.

31. Dallas Cowboys- John Ross, WR, Washington

The Cowboys’ defense needs to be addressed, but they could also find a good target to go on the opposite side of the field of Dez Bryant. Terrance Williams could be upgraded and has yet to sign a deal for next season. Ross is really fast and can stretch the field for the offense.

32. New England Patriots- Dawuane Smoot, DE, Illinois

New England’s front seven has been depleted the past couple of seasons. They will need to make up for players traded and ones that are still on the team, but aging. Smoot can provide good depth at defensive end.

 

For more mock drafts: DC Pro Sports Report

 

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2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Preview

It all comes down to this game. A rematch of last year’s National Championship. The Alabama Crimson Tide will take on the Clemson Tigers in the biggest game of the season in Tampa Bay, Florida.

There are so many talented players making this match-up great. Alabama has a lot of defensive NFL prospects, while Clemson has prospects on both sides of the ball.

This game will be a clash of the titans.

Alabama Crimson Tide

Alabama’s team was more thoroughly reviewed before the Peach Bowl.

Jalen Hurts is going to have to complete passes in this game for Alabama to win. In the win over Washington Hurts threw for just 57 yards. Lane Kiffin didn’t have a great game plan and is now off to Florida Atlantic, but Hurts is also to blame. Having Steve Sarkisian calling plays won’t likely help that much, as he is very similar to Kiffin.

National Championship

Reuben Foster (Photo courtesy: Profootballfocus.com)

Alabama has great play-makers as targets for Hurts in Calvin Ridley, ArDarius Stewart and O.J.Howard. That doesn’t matter if he can’t get the ball to them. Hurts is the key to the Alabama offense, because if he can’t complete passes, Clemson’s defense can focus on just stopping the run.

The Crimson Tide rode the hot hand in the Peach Bowl. Damien Harris, along with Hurts, had been the best at running the ball for Alabama. Against the Huskies, big Bo Scarborough rumbled for 180 yards on just 19 carries for two touchdowns. He doesn’t have great vision, but if the holes are there, is tough to bring down at 235 pounds. Between the two of them, either Harris or Scarborough need to produce in this game.

The defense has been dominant for Alabama all season long. They scored ten touchdowns this season and don’t show any signs of stopping. The front seven is great and led by Jonathan Allen. He had a sack, two tackles for loss and one fumble recovery against Washington. Reuben Foster is one of the best inside linebacker prospects in a while. With pass rushing help from Tim Williams, the front seven is stacked with great players.

Eddie Jackson, the safety, will be out for this game, but the secondary has done well without him in the past few games. Minkah Fitzpatrick and Marlon Humphrey will be the ones making plays for Alabama in the secondary. Both have plenty of experience and should feel a sense of pride after allowing Clemson to score 40 points in last years National Championship Game.

Clemson Tigers

Clemson was more thoroughly reviewed before the Fiesta Bowl.

The Tigers have one of the best quarterbacks in the country in Deshaun Watson. He is dynamic with his legs and pretty good with his arm. He will have to use both effectively to beat Alabama. Watson only rushed or 57 yards against Ohio State, but had two rushing touchdowns. With Ohio State playing so poorly, he didn’t need to run much more. He did, however, throw two interceptions. This has been a big theme all season long, as his decision making has been questionable at best. With 17 interceptions thrown on the year, his main priority has to be protecting the football against a good Alabama secondary.

National Championship

Mike Williams (Photo courtesy: si.com)

Mike Williams is the good news for Watson. He is the top NFL Draft prospect at the wide receiver position and creates match-up problems for opposing teams. With other productive players like Hunter Renfrow, Jordan Leggett and Artavis Scott on the team, opponents can’t really double team Williams much either. If Watson makes a bad decision, these guys have to turn into defenders and knock the ball down to keep possession of the football.

There are a lot of good running backs in college football, but Wayne Gallman might be the most underrated of all of them. He did decently in the Fiesta Bowl with 85 rushing yards and a touchdown. Going up against that Crimson Tide front seven will be tough, but if Gallman can keep chipping away early with four and five yard runs, he should be able to bust one loose late in the game.

Clemson’s defense haven’t scored as much as Alabama’s, but they are coming off one of the best performances of the season, holding Ohio State to no points.

The Tigers also had a great defensive line this season, which is led by Carlos Watkins. He has 10.5 sacks with two coming against Ohio State. Watkins is one of the best interior pass rushers in college football.

Ben Boulware leads the linebacking core. The senior had 81 total tackles in the 2015 season and has 110 this season. He only had three total tackles in last year’s National Championship, but will have to do more to help stop the Alabama rushing attack in this game.

In the secondary Jadar Johnson is a safety that covers the whole field and has five interceptions on the season. The corners, specifically Cordrea Tankersley, shut down opposing wide receivers.

Prediction

Both teams have distractions going into this game. A new offensive coordinator for Alabama. A mini-scandal for Clemson’s defense after Christian Wilkins violated Ohio State’s Curtis Samuel during the Fiesta Bowl. Keeping that stuff out of their minds and focusing on the game is imperative.

The quarterbacks will be the key in this game. Can Hurts complete passes? Can Watson make good decisions and protect the football? Both have tall orders, as they go up against great defenses.

Alabama’s rush defense is the best in the country and holds opposing teams to just 62 yards per game. That is 61 yards better than what Clemson’s good run defense holds opponents to. The last time a team held a team to below that number of rushing yards was 2008.

All of Nick Saban’s national title teams with the Crimson Tide have been featured the top rush defense, besides the 2009 season, when they placed second to National Runner-up Texas. In the years since 2009 that they didn’t win it all, Alabama didn’t finish as the top rush defense in the country (once finished second in 2014 in that span).

National Championship

Nick Saban (Photo courtesy: sltrib.com)

That classic Alabama rush defense will save the day and be the difference-maker. Gallman will be shut down by Alabama. Watson will probably have a good rushing performance, but it won’t be enough.

When the run game is shut down by Alabama’s run defense, Watson will throw and be intercepted in a key situation. The Crimson Tide will run the clock out and be champions once again in another close game against Clemson.

 

Alabama Crimson Tide 38 Clemson Tigers 33

 

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NFL Draft Prospects to Watch in the 2017 Sugar Bowl

WAuburn and Oklahoma both have a lot of players in the NFL and they meet up in the Sugar Bowl. With different styles going at it, a lot will be shown from these prospects. Here are the top prospects to watch in this game:

Auburn Tigers

Carl Lawson, DE

Projected Draft Range: First round-second round

Lawson is a bit undersized as a defensive end standing six feet two inches tall and 253 pounds. He uses his speed and good moves to get around offensive linemen and to the quarterback. His production has been good with 9.5 sacks this season. Lawson is also decent at stopping the run, which will help him get drafted in the first rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Daniel Carlson, K

Projected Draft Range: Third round-fifth round

Sugar Bowl

Daniel Carlson (Photo courtesy: flywareagle.com)

Carlson is a good athlete who played multiple sports in high school. He hasn’t missed an extra point in his career. His missed kicks usually come on field goals of over 50 yards. Of his four missed kicks, three were of that nature. Carlson is still a junior so may elect to come back to school, but can’t really do too much to help his value by doing so.

Braden Smith, OG

Projected Draft Range: Fourth round-sixth round

Smith has good size at six feet six inches tall and 300 pounds. He has had a lot of time to prove his ability at run blocking. In order to move up draft boards, he has to prove that he can pass block better. He will likely have a good game against a weak Oklahoma defense.

Johnathan Ford, S

Projected Draft Range: Fourth round-sixth round

Ford is a unique case, as he really helped his draft stock based on his performance in 2015. He had 118 total tackles, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries that season. He has been banged up this season, but is expected to play in the Sugar Bowl.

Oklahoma Sooners

Dede Westbrook, WR

Projected Draft Range: Second round-third round

Rose Bowl

Dede Westbrook (Photo courtesy: fansided.com)

No one has better production than Westbrook. He has 1,465 receiving yards and 16 touchdown catches. He comes up with a lot of big plays for Baker Mayfield. Westbrook is six feet tall and 175 pounds and can play on the outside. His main test will be durability, as he needs to add strength and weight to be durable at the next level.

Samaje Perine, RB

Projected Draft Range: Second round-fourth round

Perine has been injured at times this season. He also shares carries with Joe Mixon, making this his least productive year of his career. Perine is one of the most productive power runners in college football. At five feet ten inches tall and 235 pounds, his body is ready to take on an NFL schedule.

 

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2017 Sugar Bowl Preview

Auburn and Oklahoma will face off in a titanic clash in the 2017 Sugar Bowl.

Auburn Tigers

The Tigers had a six game win streak in the middle of their schedule to help them reach 8-4. They only lost to bowl teams, with two of their losses coming to the two teams playing in the National Championship. They have five wins over bowl eligible teams with their victories over: Arkansas State, LSU, Mississippi State, Arkansas and Vanderbilt.

Sugar Bowl

Carl Lawson (Photo courtesy: cbssports.com)

Auburn has had to play multiple quarterbacks this season due to inconsistency and injury. Sean White has taken the most snaps and has been effective. He has thrown for 1,644 yards, nine touchdowns and three interceptions. His 65% completion percentage works well because of the rushing attack of Auburn.

Because the pass offense isn’t great, there is only one player who does a lot of damage as a receiver. Tony Stevens has 466 receiving yards and three touchdowns.

The run game is where the Tigers are able to do the most damage. Kamryn Pettway has been the leading rusher with 1,123 yards and seven touchdowns. Kerryon Johnson has added 866 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns.

The Tiger defense is good at stopping the run and allow just 125 rushing yards per game. The pass defense is average and gives up 224 yards per game.

Carl Lawson has had a great season rushing the passer with nine sacks. He will have to get pressure to slow down Baker Mayfield and the Oklahoma offense.

Oklahoma Sooners

Oklahoma is on a nine game winning streak and has a record of 10-2. They have beaten five bowl eligible teams in TCU, Kansas State, Baylor, West Virginia and Oklahoma State. Their losses came to Houston and Ohio State.

Sugar Bowl

Baker Mayfield (Photo courtesy: usatoday.com)

Baker Mayfield has been great ever since he took the field for Oklahoma. This season he earned a spot as a Heisman Finalist with 3,669 passing yards, 38 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He has also completed an impressive 71% of his passes.

Dede Westbrook also got an invite to the Heisman ceremony as Mayfield’s best receiver. He finished the season with 1,465 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns. Westbrook creates big plays at 20 yards per reception.

Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine have split ball carrying duties with a smash and dash approach. Mixon is the speed back and has rushed for 1,183 yards and even missed a game with suspension. He also is a good receiver out of the backfield. Perine is the power back, who has picked up 974 rushing yards and 11 rushing touchdowns.

The run defense is above average for the Sooners and allows 161 rushing yards per game. The pass defense is one of the worst in the country as Oklahoma gives up 279 yards per game.

Ogbonnia Okronkwo has been one of the bright spots on defense for Oklahoma with nine sacks this season. Jordan Evans has helped out with his four interceptions.

Prediction

Oklahoma will move the football through the air and Auburn won’t be able to keep up. Baker Mayfield will elude pressure to make great plays and pick up the win.

 

Oklahoma Sooners 35 Auburn Tigers 25

 

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NFL Draft Prospects to Watch in the 2017 Rose Bowl

The USC Trojans will play Penn State in a game of storied powers in the 2017 Rose Bowl. Both teams have been great at producing NFL talent. There may not be as many prospects as they are used to, but there are some good ones to watch out for. Here are the top prospects in the Rose Bowl:

USC Trojans

Adoree’ Jackson, CB

Projected Draft Range: First round

Jackson almost qualified for the Olympics in track, so speed is one of his main assets. He can keep up with any receiver. His ball skills are great . Jackson is the closest thing to Deion Sanders as he even slows down to bait quarterbacks to throw passes and then speeds up to pick them off. His added value comes in the return game and as a situational offensive player.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR

Projected Draft Range: First round-second round

Rose Bowl

JuJu Smith-Schuster (Photo courtesy: ocregister.com)

Smith-Schuster has good size at six feet two inches tall and 220 pounds. His production wasn’t as good as it should have been this season, but quarterback Sam Darnold had to get his feet wet at the collegiate level. One thing he needs to improve for the NFL is his route running.

Chad Wheeler, OG

Projected Draft Range: Fourth round-sixth round

Wheeler fits the prototypical size of a guard in the NFL at six feet six inches and 310 pounds. His run blocking is good and his pass blocking is average. Wheeler’s athletic ability and mobility will be questioned and he needs to prove he has those traits at the NFL combine and the Rose Bowl.

Zach Banner, OT

Projected Draft Range: Fourth round-sixth round

Banner has the necessary athletic ability to plat in the NFL. He formerly played basketball at USC and has also proven that he is athletic on the football field. He also has elite size at six feet nine inches tall. Banner has the making of a good left tackle, but still needs to develop his blocking to have his talent match his size.

Penn State Nittany Lions

Chris Godwin, WR

Projected Draft Range: Fourth round-sixth round

Rose Bowl

Chris Godwin (Photo courtesy: pennlive.com)

Godwin is a junior who may elect to stay in school, but will get drafted if he decides to leave Penn State. He has decent size to be an outside receiver at six feet one inch tall. His production is mostly shown by his ability to catch touchdown passes, with nine on the season. Other than scoring touchdowns Godwin is more of a possession receiver with a yards per catch average of 13.

Brandon Bell, LB

Projected Draft Range: Sixth round-undrafted free agent

Bell is a tackling machine when healthy. He had 18 total tackles against Ohio State and was one of the main reasons they won. He has good range and seems to always take down ball carriers once he reaches them. Bell is a good blitzer with four sacks in 13 games.

 

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2017 Rose Bowl Preview

The Big Ten Champion, Penn State Nittany Lions, match-up with the USC Trojans in the 2017 Rose Bowl.

USC Trojans

USC is one of the hottest teams in the country right now after winning eight straight to end the season and finished at 9-3. Their losses were all to good teams. Despite their record, they have only won two games against bowl eligible teams on the season.

Rose Bowl

Adoree’ Jackson (Photo courtesy: ocregister.com)

The Trojans started winning games after Sam Darnold took over. He has thrown for 2,633 yards, 26 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Darnold has done all this while completing 68% of his passes. He adds some mobility with 236 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns.

JuJu Smith-Schuster and Dareus Rogers are the two best receivers for Darnold. Smith-Schuster is a good NFL prospect, but only has 781 receiving yards on the season. The good news is that he has nine touchdowns on the season. Rogers has 654 yards and three touchdowns.

Running back Ronald Jones has had a fantastic season with 1,027 yards rushing and 11 scores. Other running backs have helped the Trojans rush for a total of 2,487 yards, but Jones will see most of the carries.

The Trojans gives up an average amount of passing yards per game at 225. The rush defense is good and gives up 134 yards per game.

Adoree’ Jackson is one of the best athletes in college football and has four interceptions this year. He won’t just have an impact on defense as he is great at returning kicks and punts, as well as lining up on offense occasionally.

Penn State Nittany Lions

The Nittany Lions are also on a hot streak and have won nine straight games to sit at 11-2 for the Rose Bowl. Their losses came to Michigan and Pittsburgh. They have key wins over Ohio State, Temple, Minnesota, Maryland, Indiana and Wisconsin.

Rose Bowl

Saquon Barkley (Photo courtesy: mcall.com)

Trace McSorley’s emergence has been amazing and has led to Penn State being good. McSorley has thrown for 3,360 yards and 25 touchdowns on the season. He has only thrown five interceptions on the season. His completion percentage of 58% isn’t great, but it doesn’t hurt as bad as turning the ball over would.

There are a lot of receivers that McSorley can go to, but Chris Godwin is his best target. Godwin has 795 yards receiving and nine touchdowns this season. They have a lot of big play threats with nine receivers with a long reception of 40 yards of above.

At running back, Penn State has one of the best players in the country Saquon Barkley. He has 1,302 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns. At 5.3 yards per carry Penn State can lean on him to pick up tough yards.

Penn State has an above average rush defense that allows 154 rushing yards per game. The pass defense is good and gives up just 199 passing yards per game.

Linebacker Brandon Bell has fought injury this season, but has stepped up when healthy. He had 18 total tackles twice this season, once coming in their big game against Ohio State.

Prediction

USC has too many play-makers on both sides of the ball. Adoree’ Jackson will make plays on defense and in the return game to help the Troans get the win.

 

USC Trojans 34 Penn State Nittany Lions 25

 

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NFL Draft Prospects to Watch in the 2017 Outback Bowl

The Outback Bowl doesn’t have the most prospects, but there are a lot of players that will go in the first rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft. Both teams specialize in defense and have the prospects to back that up. These are the best prospects in the Outback Bowl:

Florida Gators

Jalen Tabor, CB

Projected Draft Range: First round

Some believe that Tabor is better than former teammate Vernon Hargreaves III, who was drafted by the Buccaneers in the first round of the 2016 NFL draft. Tabor is a shut down corner, but has good ball skills when the ball is thrown his way. He is well built at six feet and 201 pounds.

Jarrad Davis, LB

Projected Draft Range: First round-second round

Davis has battled injuries this season, but is still one of the best linebacker prospects in the class. In nine games he had 60 total tackles with six for loss. He is good at stopping the run, but needs to work on his coverage skills to stay on the field for three downs in the NFL.

Caleb Brantley, DT

Projected Draft Range: First round-second round

Outback Bowl

Caleb Brantley (Photo courtesy: wuft.com)

If teams want a run stopping defensive tackle Brantley should be their choice. He sheds blockers with relative ease and gets to the ball carrier. Brantley is even able to take on double teams and still get the stop. The area of his game he needs to work on is his pass rushing. He has recorded just 1.5 sacks this season.

Iowa Hawkeyes

Desmond King, CB

Projected Draft Range: First round-second round

Outback Bowl

Desmond King (Photo courtesy: hawkcentral.com)

King has some of the best ball skills in the class and had eight interceptions in 2015. That season he even won the Jim Thorpe Award as the best defensive back. He has added value in the return game. King’s speed has come into question by some NFL teams. There is even rumblings of him moving to safety in the NFL.

Jaleel Johnson, DT

Projected Draft Range: Second round-fourth round

Johnson is a good run stopper as a defensive tackle, but is surprisingly a great pass rusher from the interior too. He has 7.5 sacks this season. Johnson has great size at six feet three inches and 310 pounds. His pass rushing ability may help him move up draft boards.

 

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NFL Draft Prospects to Watch in the 2017 Cotton Bowl

The New Year’s Six Bowl games all have a lot of NFL Draft Prospects, but the 2016 Cotton Bowl is the most interesting. Western Michigan hasn’t always had the most prospects, but P.J. Fleck has recruited and developed NFL level talent to Kalamazoo. Wisconsin has pro players come through their system more often.

Western Michigan Broncos

Corey Davis, WR

Projected Draft Range: First round-second round

Davis is a unique receiver prospect. He has great size at six feet three inches tall and 213 pounds. A lot of the things he does well are traits commonly founded in smaller prospects. He has great quickness and an ability to go over the middle. Davis makes plays once the ball gets in his hands. The team that takes him will get a well-balanced receiver.

Taylor Moton, OT

Projected Draft Range: Second round-fourth round

Cotton Bowl

Taylor Moton (Photo courtesy: freep.com)

Moton has been a big reason for the Broncos’ success, but not a lot of people give him the credit he deserves. He is a good pass and run blocker for Western Michigan. At six feet five inches tall and 325 pounds Moton has the necessary size to play in the NFL. His athletic ability and mobility will be questioned by NFL scouts.

Zach Terrell, QB

Projected Draft Range: Sixth round-undrated free agent

Terrell has had a great career for Western Michigan. This season has been particularly impressive with a 71% completion percentage. He has thrown for 3,376 yards and 32 touchdowns. What has also been extraordinary, is that he has only thrown three interceptions on the season. He doesn’t have great size or arm strength, but makes up for it with his accuracy and smarts.

Wisconsin Badgers

Ryan Ramczyk, OT

Projected Draft Range: First round-third round

Cotton Bowl

Ryan Ramczyk (Photo courtesy: wsaw.com)

Ramczyk is a tough, physical blocker for the Badgers. His specialty is run blocking, but he is also good at pass blocking. He has good size at six feet six inches and 313 pounds. Ramczyk can play his way into the first round with a good performance in the bowl game, as it is a weak tackle class.

Corey Clement, RB

Projected Draft Range: Third round-fifth round

After an injury-plagued season in 2015, Clement has stormed back in 2016. Clement has 1,304 yards and 14 touchdowns this season. He is known for his speed, but has started to add a little power running to his game. At five feet eleven inches and 227 pounds, Clement has the build to be an all-around back.

Vince Biegel, OLB

Projected Draft Range: Third round-fifth round

Biegel is a good edge rusher for Wisconsin. He is six feet four inches tall and 245 pounds, which is decent size for a pass rusher. Biegel missed two of the biggest games this season against Ohio State and Michigan. He hasn’t produced many sacks, with only three on the season. While he may have the look of an edge rusher, he actually is a great run defender.

 

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