GBMWolverine: Michigan Football — Michigan vs. Virginia Tech — Sugar Bowl — Predictions
2012 AllState Sugar Bowl
SuperDome — New Orleans, Louisiana
Michigan vs. Virginia Tech
DirecTV Channel 206
7:00pm – 7:50pm
College Football Pre-Game Studio Show
7:50pm — 8:20pm
Nissan Pre-Game Shift
8:20pm – 8:30
2012 AllState Sugar Bowl
8:30pm – 12:00am
Sugar Bowl Postgame
12:00am – 12:08am
Sugar Bowl Postgame
12:15am – 1:15am
DirecTV Channel 208
GBMWolverine Staff has put together their picks for the Michigan vs. Virginia Tech Sugar Bowl. After reading our picks, come to the message board and make your prediction and commentary.
This is an interesting match up and tough call.
Virginia Tech’s aggressive defense will present a challenge that Michigan has not seen this year.
If this game had been played first weekend in December would of taken Michigan by 10 points, because they were playing that well.
How team will react to long period off is tough to read.
Said after Nebraska game this team has made believer out of me.
Virginia Tech 27
I still see this game as a toss-up and the coaches on both sides may play a bigger role than usual. Virginia Tech has so many weapons and Michigan gave up plenty of points to an Ohio State team that let it all hang out after being in a shell most of the year. Greg Mattison has had five weeks to prepare and so has the Virginia Tech defense. This game really has all the makings of a classic. The spread of two and a half seems about right and Michigan is probably favored only because Clemson took VT to the woodshed in the conference championship game.
The most troubling match-up is VT’s offensive line against Michigan’s defensive line. VT likes to go deep on the double move and Michigan bit early and often against Ohio State. VT’s receivers always seem open on the quick outs and will take this pattern all day if the opposition chooses to give the yardage. I expect Coach Mattison to have the corners play aggressive and hope that the group does not get toasted as in the OSU game. Wilson must absolutely be contained enough so that he does not run all over the field.
Even though both defenses have had weeks to prepare, there are so many offensive weapons that either defense may do well to hold the other under 24 points.
If I had to bet, I would bet VT, but I am not starting the year off picking an opposing team.
Virginia Tech 24
ErocWolverine:Well the Sugar Bowl is finely here. Here is hoping everybody had a very good holiday and getting ready for tonight’s Sugar Bowl.
Think this game is going to be a lot tougher than most Michigan fans believe. Virginia Tech is a very good team who relies on great special teams, good defense, and a diverse offense. To many people are just looking at the two games that Virgina Tech loss against one team — Clemson who won the ACC Championship Game. Virginia Tech is coming into the game with a 10-2 record and probably a little chip on their shoulder wanting something to prove since knowing that most of the media/fans believe they shouldn’t be in the Sugar Bowl.
Michigan needs to get their running game going early and often and that means more than just Denard. Fitz has came on at the end of the season and needs to keep that rolling. They need to be prepared for Virginia Tech and the pressure they are likely to bring. They will once again do like most of Michigan opponents and try and stack the line and force Denard to beat them with his arm.
Michigan passing game needs to show they can go down field and get everybody involved. If that happens Michigan could be unstoppable and will loosen up the defense to make the running game more effective. Would really like to see Michigan get everybody in the passing game which includes Kevin Koger who is playing in his final game and could be a big target against the Hokies defense. Think with the pressure they will bring Koger could be a big factor going against either a linebacker or safety in the passing game down the field. Need to get all the receivers (Hemingway, Roundtree, Gallon, Odoms, and Dileo) into the game early so the Hokie defense doesn’t concentrate on one receiver.
Michigan defense will have it’s hands full with David Wilson. He was once a Michigan recruit and a very good running back. Also their quarterback Logan Thomas will remind Michigan fans of a “Devin Gardner/Terrell Pryor” type of quarterback who is a big, athletic, and a good passer.
With Michigan having depth issues on the defensive line it will be interesting to see how Michigan plays it. Do they try and blitz and create a pass rush or do they sit back and hope the front four bring enough heat to create pressure to make them decide on doing something with the ball before they want too.
Think special teams could be a huge factor and hoping Michigan has really worked on this part of the game.
In the end a close, hard fought game, but Michigan wins in the end.
Virginia Tech 24
No prediction this week.
These could be the two most evenly matched teams in any bowl game played thus far. Michigan ended the regular season on a high note with wins over two signature programs, which included bitter rival Ohio State. Virginia Tech, on the other hand, lost to Clemson in the ACC championship game by a large margin. That said, it was still a better than expected season for The Hokies. Both teams would like to start the New Year with a win, which would be a big confidence builder heading into winter workouts and spring practice. Both teams are superbly coached and will be prepared for this game.
Offensive Keys – Michigan must be able to control the line of scrimmage against a very aggressive Hokie front seven. Va. Tech has recorded 38 sacks, and an amazing 85 tackles for loss. If Va. Tech stays aggressive it could be a big day for Denard, as there should be plenty of running room if they don’t get to him quickly. Michigan should still seek balance in their attack. If Denard can hit some nice short to medium range passes early, and Fitz contributes, The Wolverines should be able to have success. Limiting the turnovers and mental mistakes is the key here.
Defensive Keys – Va Tech utilizes an offense that features the run as it’s bread and butter. What has made their attack even more dangerous is the evolution of the passing game, featuring Soph QB Logan Thomas and his big receiving corp. Thomas is not the threat running the ball that Denard is, but he is more than capable of picking up nice chunks of yardage, both by design, and when the play breaks down. His size (6′ 6″ – 255lbs) is also alarming when a defender has to square up and bring him down in open space. The real key against The Hokies in my opinion is limiting their outstanding running back, David Winters. Only a junior, he is the second leading rusher in the nation, and a sure first round pick if he decides to fore-go his senior season. Make no mistake about this, Winters drives this offense and opens up the passing game for Va. Tech. Limiting Winters, keeping Logan Thomas in the pocket, and forcing turnovers, will be the keys for an improving Michigan defense. This will also be a big test for the Wolverine corners, as they will be matched up against the biggest, and arguably the best receiving group they’ve seen this season.
Conclusion – I think this match-up should produce a game that has us sitting on the edge of our seats, and chewing our nails to the quick. As always though, I hope for a lopsided victory that will allow me to remain relaxed and calm in my lazy boy the entire evening. Probably wishful thinking though! I think the Wolverines will ring in the New Year with a well earned victory against a team, and coach, that I very much respect. Then we can relax this winter, basking in the glow of a much better than expected 2011 season. We can even start thinking about our next challenge, Alabama on Labor Day weekend. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.
Go Blue! Here’s to a great start in 2012.
Virginia Tech 27
Virginia Tech 28
The Maize and Blue are riding high after two consecutive victories over signature programs. A win over Virginia Tech will validate their BCS bid and send off a fine group of seniors.
VT is a hard program to finger. They have been a similar program like Michigan in that they always seem to be in the hunt for their conference and a solid bowl bid. They even played for the NC a few years back and fell. Their talent at the skilled positions has been NFL quality, although the big named kids like Vick have not made the impacts that were expected. Frank Beamer is a good X’s and O’s coach that features real good special teams. His biggest criticisms concern his bowl record and the fact that the ACC is not a football power. This season is a perfect example, as no team in the ACC except for an above average Clemson, made any noise (well, FSU just did beat Notre Dame, but they are frauds anyway.) Virginia Tech didn’t win their conference, but was highly ranked all season. Some feel that they didn’t deserve this opportunity, but frankly, I think this is a great matchup for both teams.
Michigan will have to be aware of the skilled positions. VT has a versatile QB and a terrific RB tandem. They have at least one go to receiver. Their defense is solid, not spectacular- similar to a good Big Ten team. Their biggest negative is that they struggled against poor teams and really didn’t play a strong schedule. Michigan can exploit them, offensively but that will depend on which Denard Robinson we witness. I think the defense will contain VT, but look for them to challenge Michigan’s secondary if given the time to do it.
I don’t know if their kicking situation will come into play since they had two of their three kickers sent home. It may be another area that Hoke & co can exploit.
Michigan didn’t play particularly well on the road, winning at NW and Illinois but losing at MSU and Iowa probably the most difficult of the road games. They are dinged up on the defensive line now, too without Heiniger at full health. Those are concerns.
In the end, I think the match-up and the confidence favors Michigan if and only if they can sustain the same offensive balance and defensive dominance they exhibited at the end of the season.
Virginia Tech 31
Please comment on our GBMWolverine Message Board about this article and read what others comment.
You can contact us at our e-mail address: GBMWolverine
Written by GBMWolverine Staff
Go Blue — Wear Maize!