Tuesday, January 3, 2012

College Football Bowl Preview- Sugar Bowl- Michigan vs. Virginia Tech

by John Huffstetler

Tuesday 01/03- 8:30 PM EST- Michigan (10-2) (-3) vs. Virginia Tech (11-2) O/U 51- The most similar team to this Michigan attack that the Hokies played all year is Clemson, a team that destroyed them for their two losses this year by 20 and 28. The rest of VaTech's schedule was pedestrian, playing no one out of conference and avoiding Florida St. in the ACC. Their most impressive wins this year were Miami, a tight home victory, and Georgia Tech, a convincing road win. Michigan, on the other hand, played a more difficult schedule with the same success. A remarkable (and somewhat lucky) comeback against a tough Notre Dame squad, a blowout home victory against Nebraska, and a home win against Ohio St. highlight the Wolverine's turn-around season. Their two losses this year were on the road against legitimate competition, losing at Michigan St. and Iowa. From a YPP perspective, the best unit on the field tonight will be the Wolverines offense, who under QB Denard Robinson finished 13th in the nation in YPP.

Prediction- Michigan's speed and running game prove too much for a Virginia Tech team who played one legitimate team all year and lost to them twice. There is a distinct special teams advantage here for the Wolverines, as well, with VaTech missing both their starting kicker and punter for this game. Most likely, WR Danny Coale will take over punting duties as he did in the ACC championship game. Will effective at times, he lacked consistency on his punting efforts. Score- Michigan 38 VaTech 27.

Gambling Perspective- Play Michigan -3. VaTech has shown me nothing this year that says they will win this game. Their ATS record is atrocious this year, constantly underachieving against weak opponents. Strong lean over 51. This total seems low for an offense in Michigan ranked in the top 15 nationally who averages 34.2 ppg. They should be right around their season average, while VaTech should at least get into the 20's.

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