The 78th Annual Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic will feature the University of Michigan, from the Big Ten Conference, against Virginia Tech, from the Atlantic Coast Conference, on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012. The game is scheduled to kick off at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome at 7:30 p.m. and will be televised by ESPN. This will be the first meeting between the two programs.
"We are very excited to welcome two outstanding college football programs to New Orleans for the Allstate Sugar Bowl," said Sugar Bowl President Lance Africk. "The opportunity to match up teams from the Big Ten Conference and the Atlantic Coast Conference is a wonderful scenario for the Allstate Sugar Bowl, and we cannot wait to welcome both teams and their fans to New Orleans to show off the hospitality for which our city and bowl have become famous.
This will be the second Sugar Bowl appearance by the Wolverines. Their only other trip to New Orleans was a 9-7 loss to Auburn in the 1983 season Sugar Bowl.
Virginia Tech will be making its fourth trip to the Sugar Bowl; it made its first appearance in 1995, followed by trips in the 1999 and 2004 seasons. The 1999 appearance was also the BCS National Championship as the Hokies fell 46-29 to Florida State in one of the most exciting BCS bowls of all-time. Virginia Tech defeated Texas, 28-10, in 1995 and lost to Auburn, 16-13, in 2004.
Schools that are currently in the Big Ten have posted a 2-7 all-time mark in Sugar Bowl action, while ACC teams have registered a 14-10 mark.
"We're very excited to welcome two programs with such great tradition to this year's Allstate Sugar Bowl," Sugar Bowl Chief Executive Officer Paul Hoolahan said. "Coach Hoke has done an outstanding job in his first year with the Wolverines and Coach Beamer continues to prove himself to be one of the all-time greats. The Sugar Bowl Committee has worked hard over the years to present outstanding match-ups that produce competitive games. With Michigan and Virginia Tech, I'm sure the 78th edition will be another memorable Sugar Bowl."
The winningest program in NCAA FBS history, Michigan was not ranked in the preseason polls, but slowly began to move up as their resurgent defense complemented a potent offense, reaching a high-point of No. 11. Currently, ranked No. 13, the Wolverines have posted nine wins over teams with .500 or better records this year. Overall, the Wolverines have made 40 bowl appearances, recording 19 wins.
After being ranked No. 13 in the preseason polls, Virginia Tech went on to win the ACC's Coastal Division, climbing as high as No. 5 in the nation. Despite losing in the ACC title game, the Hokies still hold the No. 11 spot in the final BCS Standings. Virginia Tech is the only team in the country with 10 wins in each of the last eight seasons - it also has 14 straight years with eight or more wins, also best in the nation. The Allstate Sugar Bowl will mark the Hokies' 25th bowl appearance, including each of the last 19 years.
While this is the first meeting between Michigan and Virginia Tech, the Wolverines have played six ACC foes, posting an 18-3 record (6-0 vs. Duke, 1-1 vs. Florida State, 3-0 vs. Maryland, 1-1 vs. Miami, 1-2 vs. North Carolina, 1-0 vs. N.C. State, 3-0 vs. Virginia, 2-0 vs. Wake Forest). Virginia Tech has only played four games against teams currently in the Big Ten (2-1 vs. Nebraska, 1-0 vs. Indiana).
This year's game marks the first time an SEC team has not appeared in the Sugar Bowl since the BCS Championship between the Hokies and Florida State at the end of the '99 season.
The Congrove Computer Rankings at CollegeFootballPoll.com project Michigan as the winner by a margin of 3.16 points.