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January 3, 2012

College Football Report - 2011 Bowl Picks - Allstate Sugar Bowl:

Allstate Sugar Bowl

#13 Michigan (10-2) vs. #11 Virginia Tech (11-2)

V S.

8:30 PM, ESPN, Tuesday, Jan. 3, New Orleans, LA

Why Watch: It’s Michigan’s first trip to a BCS Bowl since the 2006 Rose Bowl against USC. The Wolverines turned the program around in just one year under head coach Brady Hoke. It’s the Hokies fourth BCS game in the last five years under head coach Frank Beamer, but the Hokies are just 9-15 all-time in bowl games.

Who to Watch: Both teams have electric playmakers on the offensive side of the ball; in Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson and Tech running back David Wilson. It’s the defensive stars that will be counted upon the most, however. Senior Michigan defensive tackle Mike Martin is a disruptor who often doesn’t get the credit he deserves. With 54 tackles on the season and three sacks, half of Martin’s production lies outside the stat sheet. Robinson has thrown 25 interceptions over the last two season, many of them momentum changing plays. Hokies cornerback Jayron Hosley has made a name for himself on momentum changing plays, especially interceptions. The junior has 12 in his career, with three this season and nine last year.

How it’s Going Down: The Hokies have lost just twice on the season, but both came against ACC Champ Clemson. In those games, Tech quarterback Logan Thomas was harassed by the Tigers front four. Thomas combined for one touchdown and three interceptions in those contest, but most importantly was held to just 10 yards on 24 rushing attempts. Michigan’s front will need to pressure, and contain, Thomas to have a chance. Robinson has been one of college football’s biggest playmakers for two years now, and it’s not often he’s completely shut down in a game. The Hokies haven’t played consistent football on offense throughout the season, as a near loss to Duke is proof to that. With Greg Mattison leading the defense now for the Wolverines, Michigan’s No. 7 ranked scoring defense should be able to hold Tech out of the endzone enough for Robinson and the offense to pull off their usual big plays. Pick: Michigan 30 – Virginia Tech 23

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