We have ourselves a dandy of a ballgame tonight, when the 2012 edition of the Allstate Sugar Bowl kicks off. Two teams that got to New Orleans with a little bit of controversy will try to end their season on a high note with a BCS victory.
More: See the other bowl games
No. 11 Virginia Tech Hokies (11-2, 7-1 ACC) vs. No. 13 Michigan Wolverines (10-2, 6-2 Big Ten), 8:30 p.m. [ESPN]
Allstate’s “Mayhem” guy that is frequently seen in their commercials must have made an appearance on BCS Selection Sunday since both of these teams were sent to New Orleans to play in a BCS bowl game. The argument could be made that Michigan State or even Boise State were more deserving of a spot in this game than the Wolverines and Hokies, but the BCS has spoken and this is the matchup we get tonight.
On one side, you have Michigan — a team that didn’t win their own division or beat rival Michigan State (who, unlike Michigan actually did win their own division). Michigan got the nod. Then, you have Virginia Tech, who had two shots at a fading Clemson squad and fell both times. These two seem to be putting the “Easy” in “Big Easy.”
Here’s why I think the Wolverines are in this game: both of their losses came on the road, and they beat Notre Dame as well as three straight opponents to finish their season. Is that better than the schedule Boise State played? Perhaps. But I think the BCS liked the fact that Michigan held serve at home, going a perfect 8-0 at The Big House.
And why is Virginia Tech in this game? Probably because the Sugar Bowl couldn’t have a Michigan-Michigan State rematch. The Hokies’ seven-game winning streak in between the two Clemson losses was great, and it might have gotten them paid in the bowl season.
I think this kind of game benefits Michigan more than VT because I don’t think the Hokies will have an answer for quarterback Denard Robinson. Don’t get me wrong, they’ve had a great year on defense — seventh in the nation in points allowed (17.2 per game) is a very good accomplishment, but what quarterback have the Hokies seen this year that compares to Robinson?
Tajh Boyd. And he beat them twice.
If VT wins this game, it will be because of running back David Wilson. The ACC Player of the Year averaged 125.2 rushing yards per game in the regular season, No. 6 in the nation. But he needs to rebound from an awful ACC Championship game in which he only ran for 32 yards against Clemson, a season-low.
VT would be well served to establish the run tonight. Michigan allowed 120 rush YPG in its 10 wins...177 in its 2 losses.—
Josh Parcell (@JoshParcell) January 03, 2012
So we’ll see if the Hokies can get the run going against Michigan. One thing’s for sure — both of these programs need a bowl victory in the worst way.
The Wolverines are coming off a 52-14 blowout in the 2010 Gator Bowl against Mississippi State (my goodness, what happened to that MSU team?), and the Hokies are trying to win just the third BCS bowl game for the ACC … ever. The conference hasn’t had any luck in BCS bowls, but they’ll get two chances to win one this season (Clemson will play in the Orange Bowl Wednesday night).
Something has to give. And if I’m correct, the Hokies will need Clemson to win the Orange Bowl to get this evil monkey off the backs of the ACC.
My prediction: Michigan 31, Virginia Tech 24