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Monday, December 05, 2011

MZone Autopsy: Bowl Selection Edition

Michigan got rewarded for its big turnaround in 2011 (and, let's be honest, for being Michigan, fergodssake) with a Sugar Bowl invite.  The Wolverines will take on the Virginia Tech Hokies on January 3rd in the first ever meeting between the two schools.

Let's take a quick look at the Sugar and a couple other bowl matters.

MZone Autopsy: Bowl Selection Edition

* The early line from the Wynn in Las Vegas has Virginia Tech as a 2.5 point favorite.

*  This is Michigan's second appearance in the Sugar Bowl.  The Wolverines lost to Auburn 9-7 in 1984.  Michigan's last BCS game was a 32-18 loss to USC in the 2007 Rose Bowl.  U-M's last BCS victory was 35-34 over 'Bama in the 2000 Orange Bowl. 

*  While I'm obviously thrilled to be in any BCS bowl after wandering in the football wilderness the previous three seasons, I would have much rather played Boise or K-State. 

* V-Tech is 11-2 with both losses being beat downs at the hands of Clemson

*  To those saying that Michigan didn't deserve a BCS bid: if there were a 16-team playoff, Michigan would have made it.  If there were a 4-team playoff, the teams folks are bitching the most about for getting left out -- namely KSU and Boise -- would still have been left out.  So really, the argument that Michigan shouldn't have gotten an at-large berth and a "more deserving" team should have is just an argument about which playoff format one favors, then trying to overlay their "rage" on top of the selections made.  Because outside the top 2, the system is basically about the teams that would have made a 16-team playoff forced to play musical chairs.  That's it. 

*  Best thing about Michigan's BCS bid: it pissed off MSU and Drew Sharp.  Sweeeeet!

*  Michigan is tied for the 17th toughest schedule (the other team tied at 17?  VA Tech).  K-State's schedule was 23rd, Boise's was 40th.  Michigan played 10 -- yes, 10! -- bowl-bound teams this season. 

* Dear Spartan fans: Stop bitching.  Michigan didn't "take" anything from you.  After losing the B1G title game, you dropped to #17 in the BCS rankings.  You weren't even eligible to go to a BCS game.  Yes, you beat Michigan during the season.  Congrats.  You also got smoked by ND and Nebraska, two teams U-M beat.  In both of Michigan's losses, the Wolverines had a chance in the fourth quarter.  If you should be pissed at anybody, it's the two DBs who somehow were right next to the Badger receiver but gakked during Wisco's 4th and 6 conversion that ultimately led to their winning TD.  Be mad at your coach who called for a punt block when you were about to get the ball back with just over 1:30 left in the game.  Get upset with the player who ran into the kicker.  Don't blame Michigan for having the Rose Bowl in your grasp then letting it slip through your fingers.

Then again, life is unfair.  Like when a player punches a dude in the face but doesn't get kicked out of the game.  #Karma

Actually, I'm guessing even you guys can see the irony in a team that bragged about their goal of playing "60 minutes of unnecessary roughness" each game losing the B1G title and Rose Bowl bid on a roughing the kicker call.  Doh!

* Things that are "cute" now but that you are going to get tired over over the next month until the game comes: "Geaux Blue!" and "Hoke vs. the Hokies."

*  Worst bowl match up: 6-6 Illinois (riding a 6 game losing streak and having fired its coach) vs. 6-7 UCLA (having also fired its coach) in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.  Even hunger is embarrassed. 

* Amazing how an LSU/Bama rematch is okay to the SEC now, but they were up in arms about the possibility when Michigan's only loss in 2006 was by also by just three points to the #1 team in the country...but on the road instead of at home...and less than 24 hours after the most iconic coach in school history had passed away.

*  Finally, our pal Andy, who did the "Sparty No!" pic above has put together a Sugar Bowl wallpaper for your download pleasure.  Enjoy!


Dennis said...

Congrats on a BCS bowl. More money for us. :) And you.

Seriously, good luck, it will be a nice matchup and New Orleans is always a good time (when not under water.)

Given our new coach (who is not supposed to coach, only recruit) our game is an interesting matchup.

Mikoyan said...

If you want to be technical, it would be Allez Bleu!

surrounded in columbus said...

sorry, but if Sparty fans wanted to be respected, have stature in their community, and the "gravitas" that goes w/ being a part of a reknowned institution? they should have gone to Michigan.

bowl match ups have always been about money, name recognition, and public interest/sex appeal. Sparty offers none of that. we offer all of that.

same goes for Va Tech. while they don't have our history, over the last 2 decades they've been a hugely successful program w/ an extremely loyal fan base. they'll flood NOLa w/ supporters.

personally, i'm really looking forward to the match up. i love Beamer Ball, and my kid sister is a Hokie grad.

should be a great holiday season.

Jim said...

A couple of good years doesn't make you suddenly relevant...just like a couple of bad years doesn't make you suddenly irrelevant. Bemoaning the lack of fairness in the BCS just makes you sound like a 10 year old.

Looking at the match-ups...K-State and Ark got a decent game in a decent bowl with no competition for viewers. Cotton Bowl has always been sort of the BCS-lite.

Who I feel bad for is Baylor and Boise...two good seasons and fun teams to watch who got buried in crappy bowls. They deserved better.

Ramona said...

Hahaha!! I didn't realize MSU lost only after roughing the kicker. Oh, Sparty, no!!! Karma.

beast in 'bama said...

Hopkins Horn, a moderator over at Burnt Orange Nation, summed this up beautifully, I thought:

"This really shouldn't be a debate.

If Texas or Oklahoma had identical seasons to the one Oklahoma State just completed, there's no doubt the Big 12 champion would be advancing to New Orleans instead of the SEC West runner-up.

And if Mississippi State or Ole Miss were sitting in the place Alabama now resides in, there's little question that the runner-up of the SEC West would not be in contention for a rematch with the SEC Champion in place of the one-loss champion of the deepest conference in the nation, circa 2011.

Unfortunately, pedigree matters. A lot. How good your program was in 1992 or 1978 or 1966 seems to be just as relevant to determining which team advances to New Orleans as how good your program is in 2011.

(And I write this as a Texas alum who knows full well that it benefits from this unspoken preference for the blue bloods of the sport.)"

VictoryForMSU said...

I've been away since the b1g title game, so I'm not too familiar with all the blah blah going on. Losers of championship games always get punished, so it shouldn't be a surprise for MSU. Go big or go home.. looks like they're going back to Florida. UM was fortunate to be in the position they are in and made enough plays down the stretch to earn a BCS bid. No hard feelings.

Personally, I'm hoping that MSU finally wins a bowl game. After that I'll show greater concern over who they play. MSU vs. Oregon? That would have been ugly. Hell, if the B1G has a decent bowl season I'll probably be happy. The only game that really matters is the BCS NC and I would like to see any b1g team competing for it again.

Some of the comments on here are accurate: pedigree does matter in bowl selections, but it takes time and consistency to build. MSU is coming out of the dark ages of bobby and JLS. It is slow going, but it is in progress. Other comments, well..

Scottito said...

Doesn't hurt your chances when Loyd Carr is on the BCS board as well!! POLITICS!!

Yost said...

Uh, what "BCS board?"

Andy said...

I am a little late to the party, but I am loving all the green tears and hate coming from East Lansing.

Brandon and Hoke are too professional to say it... so I will: F them. F their smug coach. F their classless players. and F their retarded fans. Enjoy Florida losers. It sucks to suck.

My new laptop has a different resolution than my standard 1200x800 wallpaper. Here is a wider and larger version of the Sugar Bowl wallpaper for download.

Geaux Blue!