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Sugar Bowl: VT vs. Michigan—For the BCS Decreed

Posted By Frank Sullivan On Jan 3 2012 @ 5:07 pm In Virginia Tech | 3 Comments

I know, okay?  I know no one wanted these two teams in this game.  Virginia Tech lost to Clemson, twice!  They didn’t win their conference or win any big, marquee games this season.  They fell backwards into the millions of dollars that come from a BCS Bowl bid, so don’t expect them to apologize for being selected; it’s not their fault, blame the damn BCS.

Michigan also didn’t win their conference.  They lost to Michigan State for the fourth straight time (something they won’t soon forget) and have relinquished their once firm grasp on the Big 10 to Wisconsin and the hated Spartans.  Sure, they have Denard Robinson who was RGIII before people knew where Baylor was, but is Robinson’s explosiveness enough to warrant a BCS Bowl bid?  I guess it is.  Don’t blame Michigan for accepting the bid, blame the damn BCS.

Now that I’ve gotten the necessary BCS-bashing out of the way, maybe can concentrate on the actual football game that is set to be played tonight (Jan. 3rd).  As noted above both of these teams didn’t do enough to be considered in the running for a BCS game at season’s end.  So when it was announced: In the 2012 Sugar Bowl the Michigan Wolverines (what?) will face the Virginia Tech Hokies! (Wait, what?  Are they serious?), everyone was up in arms about more deserving teams getting left out (Kansas State, Boise State, etc.).  But it’s happening, it’s game day, and when I think about the match up it’s a pretty compelling game.

Five Things to Watch For

Fan Bases: Michigan Football fans are one of kind.  One of the main reasons Michigan was selected to the Sugar Bowl was there fan bases’ ability to travel, and travel big.  Selling out Bowl games is important, it’s what keeps the Bowl games running (and the millions upon millions in TV money).  There have been questions raised about Virginia Techs’ fans ability to travel: they had to give remaining tickets (from the 17,500 allotment)  to charities just to fill the seats.  This may turn out to be a very Wolverine-friendly crowd come game time.

Frank Beamer & Co. vs Brady Hoke– The Michigan Man: Michigan has been looking for ‘their man’ for decades.  They’ve tried and failed over and over.  Frank Beamer is College Football’s winningest active head coach; he is VT football (Beamer Ball).  These two coaches will face off for the first time both of them hoping to legitimize their invitations and represent their school, and conference with a victory.

The Snubs: As you’re watching tonight’s game think about what you could be watching…By that I mean, would you rather watch Michigan/VT or KSU/Boise State?  Kansas State had a great season.  They finished the season 10-2, only losing to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.  Boise State, as always, won a bunch of games (12-1).  Their loss to TCU towards the end of he year will haunt them for a long time, had they won that game we might’ve seen them playing for a National Championship.  Now, they’re out of a BCS game while Michigan and VT play in prime time.

David Wilson vs. Fitzgerald Troussaint: This is your classic running back showdown.  David Wilson led the ACC in rushing and finished 6th nationally in yards per game.  Troussaint finished the season just over 1,000 yards, but his explosiveness compliments Robinson’s perfectly.  Wilson needs to have a big game to keep the Hokie offense on track.  If Troussaint gets going for the Wolverines it’ll spell disaster for the Hokie D.

Denard “Shoelace” Robinson vs. Logan “Man this guy’s big” Thomas: Only one of the above nicknames is real, can you guess which one?  Denard Robinson thrived under Rich Rodriguez, but Rich Rod is gone.  Denard may be the fastest QB I’ve ever laid eyes on.  He’s so dangerous in the open field you almost forget he can throw it 50-yards down the field.  If the Hokies plan to win, they’ll have to key on Robinson.  Otherwise, they’ll be down big early with no shot at coming back.

Logan Thomas came into his own as the season wore on.  He has his up’s and his down’s (down’s came against Clemson twice), but as a red shirt Sophomore he’s the best looking young passer in the ACC.  In the Hokies victories Thomas has played well, normally scoring through the air and on the ground.  Still, defenses have figured Thomas out in the past, getting in his head.  His ability to adjust to the big stage and execute the game plan will be under a microscope tonight.

All in all the Hokies and Wolverines should play a close, exciting game tonight.  I wish there wasn’t so much drama surrounding two good football teams, but that’s the nature of the beast.  These teams may not have deserved to play in this game, but no one should take away this moment from these kids. 

Bottom line: The Hokies last game ended in a dud as they got blown out for the 2nd time by Clemson.  Robinson and the Wolverines are hungry to put Michigan back on the map.  The game should be high scoring with the Hokies pulling it out in the end.

Prediction: VT 38 – Michigan 31

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