Sugar Bowl 2012: Previewing Michigan vs. Virginia Tech

denard-robinson1Rich Rodriguez barely made a bowl game in three seasons at Michigan.

He’s probably sitting somewhere in Arizona saying how Brady Hoke took his players and beat Ohio State and made a BCS Bowl.

After a 10-2 season, the No. 13 Wolverines will get the SEC spot in the Sugar Bowl, since both SEC representatives are playing in the BCS National Championship.

Then there is Virginia Tech, which was blown out by Clemson in the ACC Championship, but still got an at-large bid as well. The Hokies (11-2) had to be a bit surprised to get the nod over Baylor, Boise State and Kansas State.

It appears the Sugar Bowl folks liked Virginia Tech’s better brand and fan support over more deserving programs. The Hokies’ history in BCS games is less than stellar as Beamer’s teams are 1-4. The lone victory came in the 2009 Orange Bowl against Cincinnati.

The Hokies have gone 11-0 when not playing a program coached by Dabo Swinney in 2011. So maybe Virginia Tech will get things going by Jan. 3.

Don’t overlook Virginia Tech’s offense, which is stacked with great athletes, including quarterback Logan Thomas and running back David Wilson. But if the Hokies want to get past Michigan they must be more consistent than they were against Clemson Saturday night.

Bud Foster’s defense is strong, but it has been exposed by more athletic offenses like Clemson and Miami.

That gets us to Michigan, which has dual-threat quarterback Denard Robinson, who could have a field day running and throwing against the Hokies in New Orleans. The Wolverines will also rely heavily on running back Fitzgerald Toussaint.

The Wolverines haven’t been to a BCS bowl since the 2007 Rose Bowl, which has to feel like an eternity for a big-time program like Michigan. The Wolverines haven’t fared too well in BCS bowls either with a 1-3 record.

While it seems most of the vitriol has been tossed Virginia Tech’s way, I have to think the Michigan State fans are furious. The Spartans beat their rival and made the Big Ten championship game. But the Wolverines get the better bowl game. What’s up with that?

An interesting note is the fact this will be the first meeting between these two programs.

Prediction: Michigan 31, Virginia Tech 28