Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Michigan - Virgina Tech/Sugar Bowl Preview

Location: Super Dome, New Orleans
Time: 8:00 EST
Weather: Indoors
Line:  Michigan -3

Will Brady put the Hoke in Hokies?  or Will Bud Foster stop Denard and Company?

I haven't watched one minute of tape on Va Tech this year.  When you play a month between games does it really matter?  Va Tech got blown out in the ACC Championship and Michigan beat Illinois, Nebraska and Ohio State.  That might as well been a season ago.

Bowl games are which teams what to be there and which teams that don't.  Michigan is hungry for success and Va Tech is lucky to be here as an ACC at large bid.   But tonight, the past doesn't matter it's all about the teams that show up at 8:00 Eastern.  Last year Michigan didn't show up for their bowl game and got blown out, will tonight be different?  Yes, it will.

There are two things that win bowl games, good defense and no mistakes.   Both teams have great defensive coordinators in Greg Mattison and Bud Foster.  Maybe the two best DC's in the country.    They will do their best jobs in trying to stop each others running game.   Which is the #1 key to this game: Stop the run!

Both offenses will try to run the ball into 8-9 man fronts which will open the passing game down field, who can execute those plays will win this game. 

Tale of the Tape

Greg Mattison vs Bud Foster = Push
Michigan OLine vs VA Tech Dline =  Molk and Lewan
Michigan DLine vs VA Tech OLine =  Martin and Van Burgen
Michigan Secondary vs VA Passing Game = Logan Thomas
Denard vs Open Space = Speed skills

If you ask old time football guys they will say you win football games on both lines.  Michigan has the advantage on both lines in this game.  VA Tech has always recruited athletes and they will have plenty have on the field.   They will try to use their team speed to help the deficit up front.    So look for a lot of blitzing from the corners and linebackers to try to slow down Denard and Michigan's passing game.

Sing Hail to the Victors if.......................
  • Denard and Fitz control this game on the ground
  • Denard throws accurate and hits his WR's
  • The Michigan secondary learned something from the OSU game
  • The Michigan Dline and LB's can stop VA Tech's running game
  • If Michigan plays like this game was played the week after the OSU game
Say, "I hate Def Leopards Pour Some Sugar on Me" if..........................
  • Michigan can't stop the run
  • We can't get pressure on Logan Thomas
  • Denard gets flustered by the VA Tech's pressure
  • The Wolverines flash back to 1/1/2011
Don't buy into the fact that VA Tech got blown out in their last game.  They will be ready to play tonight.  Michigan will be as well.   I think Michigan is playing for something to prove, while VA tech is out of kickers.   Which will make them play very aggressively for touchdowns instead of field goals.   So expect lots of "going for it" on 4th downs.  Both teams will play to win, which means there will be a ton of points scored, which leads me back to the chess match between Mattison and Foster.   I like Mattison in this one.   Michigan 31 VA Tech 21



Joe said...

Well Bob, I admit that I stole your sugar bowl picture, but honestly, I hadn't read your preview until after I had completed mine. They are remarkably similar!


P.S. I doubt the picture is proprietary or copyrighted!

Voice of Reason said...

Isn't it amazing how the weaknesses of this team (defense and special teams) the past two years under RR turned out to be the strength this year and especially in this bowl game? It seems to be that this is a reflection of coaching.

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