BCS Bowl Announcements
December 5, 2011 by staff
BCS Bowl Announcements, Michigan take by Big Ten blogger Adam Rittenberg: The Allstate Sugar Bowl matchup elicited some groans from around the country, but Michigan fans were all smiles. Michigan is back in a BCS bowl for the first time in five years as the program turns a page on one of its darkest periods.
A victory in New Orleans would give Michigan its first BCS bowl win since the 2000 Orange Bowl.
First-year coach Brady Hoke and his staff deserve much of the credit for Michigan’s turnaround, as the team not only improved its win total by three from 2010, but made significant strides on defense after historically poor results the previous three seasons. Michigan’s defense improved from 110th nationally last season to 18th this year, and it did so without any first-team All-Big Ten selections. Defensive linemen Mike Martin and Ryan Van Bergen lead the way for Michigan, which must contain Hokies junior running back David Wilson, the nation’s No. 7 rusher.
Virginia Tech take from ACC blogger Heather Dinich: This was easily the most shocking selection in the ACC — if not the country — as Virginia Tech is coming off its poorest performance of the year in a 38-10 loss to Clemson in the ACC championship game. It was the program’s worst margin of defeat since joining the ACC, but the Hokies still leapfrogged several other BCS bowl-worthy teams. This the first time the ACC has had two teams play in BCS bowls, but it’s going to be a difficult challenge for the Hokies, who struggled against Clemson’s offense and will have similar challenges defensively against Michigan.
The Wolverines have an even more athletic quarterback than Clemson in Denard Robinson. Offensively, the Hokies will have to get quarterback Logan Thomas back on track after he threw two picks and lost a fumble in the title game. The Hokies scored a combined 13 points in two losses to Clemson, and have no marquee wins on their nonconference schedule. They are also notorious for coming up short against nonconference opponents on the big stage. In three trips to the Orange Bowl in the past four years, Virginia Tech only has a win against Cincinnati.
Wisconsin take from Big Ten blogger Brian Bennett: The memory of last year’s 21-19 loss to TCU in the Rose Bowl helped motivate Wisconsin this offseason.
The Badgers made it their mission to get back to the BCS and change the outcome this year, a plan that was nearly derailed by two straight dispiriting October losses. But they battled back to clinch consecutive trips to Pasadena for the first time since the 1998-99 seasons. And the players say they’re not satisfied just to get there.
“We didn’t finish it right last year,” safety Aaron Henry said. “To have a chance to go out there and finish off something is a truly amazing, special feeling.”
It won’t be easy. Oregon is one of only three teams in the country that scored more points than Wisconsin this season, and the Ducks’ speed could cause major problems for a defense that struggled against swiftness in space at times this year.
Oregon take from Pac-12 blogger Ted Miller: Oregon is headed to its third consecutive BCS bowl game and second Rose Bowl in three years. That’s great, but the Ducks are 0-2 in those games, so the program is no longer just happy to be there. They need to win to climb another rung in the national pecking order.
The Ducks are not unlike previous varieties. They are again an offensive juggernaut, ranking third in the nation in scoring, fifth in rushing and sixth in total offense. Their relentless, up-tempo offense wears opposing defenses down and causes them to lose concentration and gap integrity. The perceived Achilles’ heel, however, that will be tested is this: Coach Chip Kelly has lost six times. In five of those losses, high-quality teams had extra time to prepare their defenses. Your turn Wisconsin.
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