The last three years have been rough on the Michigan Wolverines. Under now Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez they made just one bowl game, a 38-point loss to the Mississippi State Bulldogs in the Gator Bowl last season. This year, the Wolverines are 10-2 under new head coach Brady Hoke and back amongst the better teams in the country, with a date against the Virginia Tech Hokies set for the 2012 Sugar Bowl. Senior defensive end Ryan Van Bergen said that this year's game is "huge" for the program.
"It kind of establishes national relevance for Michigan as a program," Van Bergen said. "It puts us back on the map, so to speak, as a national powerhouse. It will be great for recruiting, it will be great for the alumni and the fans, but the biggest thing for us: team 132 wants to play again. We've really grown close. We have great team chemistry, and the opportunity to play one more game on a stage as big as the Sugar Bowl is huge for us."
Tight end Kevin Koger echoed his teammate's sentiments.
"It'll be a great atmosphere. It'd be great for the team, but it'll just show everybody Michigan's back, and we're serious."
The Jan. 3rd meeting between Michigan and Virginia Tech will be the first ever between the two schools. The Wolverines have been tabbed as the early favorites over the Hokies.
For more on the Wolverines, be sure to head over to the SB Nation blog Maize 'N Brew. Check out Gobbler Country for everything Hokies. Head over to the official site of the Allstate Sugar Bowl for more info on this year's game.