Monday, January 2, 2012

PS Bowl-A-Thon 2011: Allstate Sugar Bowl

The Where and When:
Allstate Sugar Bowl, New Orleans, LA – January 3rd, 5:30 p.m. – ESPN/ESPN3

The Who:
Michigan Wolverines (10-2, 6-2 B1G) versus Virginia Tech Hokies (11-2, 7-2 ACC)

The Why:
Greed. Looking at this game from purely from the football perspective there were several teams more deserving of the Sugar Bowl, if you are a TCU, Boise State or Houston fan, tough luck. However, since the Sugar Bowl’s official tie-in is with the SEC and Alabama will be playing LSU they were free to pick whomever they thought would get them a sell-out and good television ratings.

Both teams come into the game having lost 2 games during the 2011 campaign. Virginia Tech lost both of its games to the Clemson Tigers and who are the ACC representatives in the ACC BCS tie-in game the Orange Bowl in Miami. Michigan on the other hand lost to a solid Michigan State team, but dropped a head-scratcher to Iowa. Michigan was clearly the better team, but things were just not clicking for them that Saturday.

What Smartypants Accounting Guy Would Tell You:
This is a pretty evenly matched game. Neither team brings in elite offenses with Michigan being ranked 35th nationally and Virginia Tech being 38th. However, both defenses are among the best in the country with Michigan being ranked 17th in total defense and Hokies being ranked 13th. The interesting matchup will be Michigan’s running game (12th nationally) versus the Hokie rushing defense which is ranked 17th nationally. If Virginia Tech can slow down the Wolverine running game then they can make Denard Robinson have to beat them through the air and that has not been a consistent component of the Michigan offense.

If this game comes down to quarterback play and getting some yards through the air, then the Hokies may have the advantage. Even with superstar quarterback Robinson the Wolverines were only able to complete a little over 55% of their passes this season, while the Hokies completed almost 60% of their pass plays.

Pool Prognosticators Pattern:
I have Virginia Tech in this game with a very high confidence factor. I think the Hokies may come into this game with the bigger chip on their shoulders after hearing over and over that they did not deserve to be in this game. If it were not for the Clemson Tigers we may be talking about Virginia Tech playing next week. The Hokies simply ran into a team that they did not match up well with and a lot of that had to do with Clemson’s potent air attack. They will not have to worry about that with the Wolverines.

Vegas Edge:
Michigan is currently favored by 3 points in this game and the over/under is 50.5. With two good defenses going at it the under may be the best way to play this game.

Sweatpants Verdict:
Even with the fact that the Productive Sweatpants Blog’s editor in chief is a big Michigan supporter (I am sure he will put his two cents in about this game as well), I am going to go with Virginia Tech to win in New Orleans along the lines of 24 – 13.

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