Free College Football Bowl Picks and Spreads: Michigan vs Virginia Tech 2012 Sugar Bowl Game Vegas Odds, Free Picks, and Expert Predictions on ESPN 1/3/12: For the BCS critics, Tuesday’s Allstate Sugar Bowl will only add more fuel to the fire. The 13th-ranked Michigan Wolverines (10-2) will meet the 11th-ranked Virginia Tech Hokies (11-2), and both teams can thank the rule book and there tradition-rich programs. After all, South Carolina and Arkansas are both ranked higher, but BCS rules prohibit three teams from the same conference being selected. Boise State and Kansas State are ranked higher as well, but neither school has the fan base to attract as many fans as Michigan and Virginia Tech. Worthy or not, the Wolverines and Hokies will meet, with the Wolverines giving three points.
On the field, the game could turn into a battle of stars. Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson has carried the Wolverines’ offense all season, while Virginia Tech running back David Wilson has played the same role for the Hokies. Both players are capable of controlling and winning the game for their team, but given the fact that Robinson has the ball in his hands on almost every snap, he will have the better opportunity.
After a breakout season in 2010-11 when he led the Big Ten in rushing, Robinson continued to excel this year despite changing offensive systems with new coach Brady Hoke. He threw for more than 2,000 yards and 18 touchdowns, and he added 16 more scores on the ground to go along with nearly 1,200 yards. Robinson’s ability to make explosive plays outside of the pocket sets him apart from most other QBs in the country, and he could terrorize the Hokies with his versatility.
Wilson doesn’t attack defenses in the same way as Robinson, but he did lead the ACC in rushing with more than 1,600 yards. He also averaged more than six yards per carry, and he has a combination of power and speed that allows him to pound defenses between the tackles and stretch them on the outside. If Wilson finds a rhythm early, Virginia Tech could control the tempo from start to finish.
Defensively, both teams had plenty of success this season but will be challenged Tuesday. The Hokies are always among the tougher units in the country, but with a player like Robinson, even a small mistake can turn into a long touchdown. The Wolverines actually enjoyed their best season on defense in several years, but the unit struggled in big games, giving up more than 30 points against Notre Dame and Ohio State. Virginia Tech doesn’t exactly have an explosive offense, but neither did the Buckeyes.
The X-factor in the game could be Hokies’ quarterback Logan Thomas. In his first year as starter, Thomas threw 19 touchdowns, but he completed less than 60 percent of his passes. On the plus side, he made major improvements as the season progressed, throwing seven touchdowns and no interceptions during the final three regular season games, while running for four scores. Thomas is coming off a two-interception performance in a loss to Clemson in the ACC Championship, but he is definitely a better player than he was at the start of the year. If he avoids turnovers and can make enough plays to keep the Michigan defense honest, Wilson and the ground game should take care of the rest.
In the end, the Hokies could be a bit overwhelmed on both sides of the football by the Wolverines. Virginia Tech’s only elite opponent this year was the Clemson Tigers, and in the two meetings between the teams, the Hokies were outscored 61-13. With Robinson’s playmaking ability, the Wolverines should be able to pile up some points as well. An improving but still questionable Michigan defense will likely give up some points of its own, but Robinson and company are simply the more dangerous offense.
Prediction: Michigan Wolverines (-2.5) Cover the Spread
Free College Football Picks and NCAAF Predictions: Michigan -2.5 to cover the spread
|2012 Sugar Bowl: Michigan vs Virginia Tech
Time: 8:30 PM EST on ESPN
Vegas Odds – Favorite: Michigan -2.5 Total: Over/Under 52
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