Sugar Bowl 2012: Michigan Wolverines vs. Virginia Tech Hokies

No. 13 Michigan Wolverines vs. No. 11 Virginia Tech Hokies
Tuesday, 1/3/11, 8:30 PM EST, TV:  ESPN
Opening Point Spread:  Michigan -1
Current Betting Line:  Michigan -3
Opening Total:  51
Current Total:  51.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Michigan Wolverines QB Denard Robinson will be the most talked about player in tonight's Sugar Bowl

Michigan is making its 41st all-time bowl appearance and will look to improve upon its 19-21 record.  The Wolverines will be making their 35th January bowl appearance and will look to win their 11th game of the year.  “We felt we deserved this spot,” commented Wolverines defensive end Ryan Van Bergen.  “It establishes national relevance for Michigan as a program.”  The team has enjoyed great success when taking on ACC opponents historically, registering an 18-3 record in such contests.  Michigan is 5-15 ATS when playing a team with a winning record.

The Wolverines offense averaged 34.2 points and 423.1 yards per game during the regular season, which broke down to 235.7 rushing and 187.4 passing yards.  Junior quarterback Denard Robinson is the star of the show, ranking eighth in school history with 4,814 passing yards and 3,216 rushing yards.  Michigan’s defense did a great job of creating turnovers all season, finishing the regular season tied for 20th nationally in posting a +6 turnover margin.  The unit allowed just 17.2 points per game, which was dramatically better than the 35.2 points surrendered per contest a year ago.

Virginia Tech will need to get over its 38-10 blowout loss to the Clemson Tigers in the ACC championship game in order to have a chance in this prime-time showdown.  “The Sugar Bowl has put great confidence in us, and I know our fans are going to respond,” commented Hokies head coach Frank Beamer.  “We need to show up and show up big.”  The program is 2-3 all-time when playing inside the Mercedes-Benz Super Bome, including a 28-10 victory over the Texas Longhorns in the 1995 Sugar Bowl.  Virginia Tech is 22-18 ATS over the last two-plus seasons.

The Hokies are the only school in major college football to win 10 games in each of the past eight seasons, as Beamer ranks first among active coaches with 251 career victories.  Virginia Tech brings in a solid defense, ranking 13th nationally in allowing 313.9 yards per game.  It’s still important to note that the schedule the unit faced this season wasn’t exactly upper tier, as it struggled against the Tigers in both meeting this season.  Running back David Wilson figures to get the ball a lot, averaging 125.2 rushing yards per game, but comes off a dismal 32-yard performance in the conference championship.

Bettors will likely back the Hokies due to their 14-6 ATS mark as an underdog, while the Wolverines are 1-7 ATS as a favorite of three points or less.

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