Along with a great match-up against Virginia Tech (11-2), we get to watch the "Urban Meyer" bowl. I think we all remember the last time Ohio State went to the Gator Bowl. A certain coach (Woody Hayes) ended up punching a player on the opposing team and getting fired. I think we can all remember last year's trip to the Gator Bowl and be thankful it is our rival and not us headed there.
Now, to address the big issue of the day. Michigan (10-2) gets selected for an at-large bid to the Sugar Bowl, but Michigan State (10-3) gets passed over, even though they won the regular season game. Frankly, when analyzed, there isn't a whole lot of difference between the two teams. Michigan State played some tough teams and in some tough environments, but when they fell, they fell pretty hard (Blowout losses to Notre Dame and Nebraska). Michigan may have had a slightly easier schedule, but the current BCS system is set-up to favor end of the season play, not 1 single game back in October. Michigan State had its chance to go to the Rose Bowl, but made a vital error at the end of the game that cost them their bid.
Along with this, it's not as if Michigan was a bad team with a horrible record and schedule. In fact, Michigan was the ONLY team in the nation that played 10 bowl teams. Granted, some of them barely crossed the 6 win requirement to be eligible for a bowl, but it still means that Michigan didn't have any cupcakes on the schedule. Bowl teams typically have at least one decent win on the schedule. The bottom line is that Michigan was playing better than Michigan State at the end of the season. It seems odd that a team is "punished" for playing in a conference championship game, but the team playing also has a chance to win the B1G and go to the Rose Bowl, something I think almost any Michigan fan would want.
Of course, we should also point out the LSU v. Alabama debacle. I don't want to get too much into the debate regarding the rematch, but it just becomes more obvious by the year that Michigan truly got the "short end of the stick" in 2006 when they lost on the road to #1 Ohio State by 3 points and were not allowed to play in the championship game even though they were ranked #2 at the time. Obviously there are some significant flaws in the BCS system, but I guess it's the one we use so we just have to get used to it.
Now, we'll have a full preview for the Sugar Bowl later on, but I did get to watch a few Virginia Tech games this year. At first glance they looked like a pretty well-rounded team, but after some quick analysis, this seems to be a facade. They faced two ranked teams this season (Clemson twice) and suffered blow-out losses. Now, anything can happen in this game, but I think my early prediction has Michigan winning by a significant margin.
Congratulations once again to the coaches and players on Team 132. Should be a great bowl, game, and trip for you all and the fans going down to New Orleans. We here at Hoke's Mad Magicians are ecstatic for Michigan to be heading to the Sugar Bowl and are looking forward to more coverage of the team in the weeks to come.
Photo Credit: ESPN