Blog Entry

This Sugar Bowl was a bit sour

Posted on: January 4, 2012 1:12 am
Edited on: January 4, 2012 1:59 am

Posted by Tom Fornelli

NEW ORLEANS -- Before you read this column on the Sugar Bowl, I must implore you to watch this video, for you cannot understand what this Sugar Bowl was without seeing it.

Did you see the way that puppy fell down the stairs? It made you laugh, sure, but at the same time it was something adorable that failed. The puppy just wasn't big enough for the stage it was on, and although it got to the bottom of the stairs as it intended to, it didn't do so in the prettiest of ways.

That was the 2012 Sugar Bowl.

Two teams that probably weren't ready to tread down this flight of stairs did so anyway, with the rest of us waiting to see which team tumbled to the bottom first. Turns out it was Michigan, even if you were sure the Wolverines had broken 30 bones on the way down, there they stood at the end celebrating.

From the second this matchup was announced there were people complaining about the selection of both Michigan and Virginia Tech. There were teams more deserving of this chance, teams like Boise State and Kansas State. Unfortunately for those two schools, they don't carry the same national cache or brand that Michigan and Virginia Tech do. So this is what we were stuck with, and judging by all the empty seats at the Superdome on Tuesday night, that commercial appeal didn't do much to sell tickets.

There were also the stories about how each team was going to prove that it belonged in New Orleans and in a BCS bowl game. Virginia Tech would show us all, as would the Wolverines. Instead what we saw were two teams that ingested a bit too much sugar and suffered some kind of diabetic seizure on the field.

Lofting up wounded ducks that turned into 45-yard touchdowns, or running fake field goals that were botched entirely yet still somehow managed to work.

The Michigan Wolverines won this game despite being outgained by Virginia Tech nearly two to one. The Hokies had 377 yards of total offense in this game compared to Michigan's 184, yet it was the Wolverines who emerged victorious. While the Hokies routinely fell down to the bottom step and were on the precipice of winning this contest, they continually decided to take a step back every time victory was in reach. Meanwhile Michigan threw all caution to the wind and just flung itself down the stairs headfirst.

Had this game been an iPhone app, it would have been called Fiesta Bowl Lite and been available to download for free. Think about it, Virginia Tech jumped out to an early lead with two scores, but instead of touchdowns like Stanford had against Oklahoma State, the Hokies had to settle for field goals.

Then there was the second quarter comeback for the Wolverines just when you thought they had no chance.

In the end, much like Stanford before it, Virginia Tech managed to lose a game in which it seemingly dominated its opponent for most of the night, and on a missed field goal in overtime to boot. Of course, this was the lite version of the Fiesta Bowl, so Virginia Tech missed only one field goal, not two. Then, like Oklahoma State, Michigan rode a couple of touchdown catches by a wide receiver in Junior Hemingway and took advantage of Virginia Tech's overtime failure to win the game on a field goal.

The only difference was that the Fiesta Bowl was entertaining because it was an excellent story written with deep characters portrayed by great actors like Andrew Luck and Justin Blackmon.

The Sugar Bowl was essentially the movie "New Year's Eve." You assemble a big name cast and then hurriedly write a mediocre script and wing it while on the set. Then you hope enough people show up to see it before the word gets out about how terrible it is.

And in the end, the only thing either team convinced me of on Tuesday night was that this movie would have been a hell of a lot more entertaining had it starred Boise State and Kansas State.

Since: Jan 16, 2011
Posted on: January 6, 2012 9:05 am

This Sugar Bowl was a bit sour

Boblottie, because Tom Fornelli wants to bring out the negative in everything.  I heard someone say that Michigan played the most bowl eligible teams so of course they are deserving.  They lost to a good Michigan State team at MSU and lost to a decent Iowa team at Iowa.  No, we didn't play Wisconsin or Penn State but we also didn't play a horrible Indiana team.  I'm so tired of all the negativity on  When opening my computer, I left this blog up and then refreshed the home page and some writer is bashing Penn State for their hiring process.  Go figure.  An article next to it is praising LSU for their secondary.  Go figure.  I can't wait until a positive article is written about the Big 10..

Since: Oct 23, 2006
Posted on: January 5, 2012 1:20 am

This Sugar Bowl was a bit sour

Tom Fornelli check your stats 64,000 tixs sold about 10,000 from sell out. That is not bad, doubt boise and ksu sells that many tixs. VT played a good game and Michigan fought  and hung in there and won. Why not talk about the vast improvement of the Michigan defense or the rough 4 or 5 years these seniors have went through. They stayed true to their school and teammates, stuck it out and was victorious. Way to many positive stories to write about than this trash. Michigan was not expected to win 11 games but they did, be proud and happy for these kids. Michigan played 11 bowl teams and beat 9 of them, I do believe they played the most bowl eligible teams from their schedule in the nation. So why are they not deserving of a BCS bowl game?

Since: Dec 1, 2007
Posted on: January 4, 2012 4:25 pm

This Sugar Bowl was a bit sour

I disagree with Fornelli about 90% of the time... That being said, this is one he got right.  Neither team deserved to be there and neither team deserved to get the win.  But, both were there and thankfully the Woverines did win to give the BIG10 a decent bowl record (4-6).  It will be curious to see how the voters feel about the win and how much a of boost UofM will get in "earning" the victory. 

Since: Dec 3, 2006
Posted on: January 4, 2012 3:34 pm

This Sugar Bowl was a bit sour

WOW! What a truly piece of trash article. I can totally see that SEC bias has completely clouded sports media today.  Had these teams been SEC teams this article does'nt exist. What I saw last night was a stelar michigan D in the especially in the red zone and against the run last night , as it has been all year long. Mattison is no dummy he knows how to coach a physically undersized D and make them good. Michigan won the game with 3 out 4 aspects of the game every team needs to play in order to win. They won the game with great D, better coaching, better special teams play and a QB/receiver who made the plays when they mattered and they took advantages of the opportunities that were presented to them. And throw in some luck. And if anyone on this board thinks that there teams are above winning a game like this then I suggest you back in the archives, because EVERY team on the planet has one a game similar to this! It happens, its COLLEGE FOOTBALL! And why does'nt michigan belong here? they won 11 games and bad call away from winning 12? Played 10 teams that were against bowl teams, was it the toughest schedule in the country? no. but it certainly was'nt the easiest (See Alabama). Who did Boise play to earn this trip? I think u can argue k-state belongs, but why not michigan? M. State fans are bitter b/c they did not get an invite, I get it, but u played one hell of game and beat a great georgia team, be proud of your season and I cant wait till next year to finally till we get one more monkey of our back. Is Michigan back? not all the way back, yet. But this only the beginning, and I'll take it! If you would have told me at the beginning of the season we win 12 games, beat OSU, NEB, ND, and won the sugar bowl i would told u NO WAY IN HELL THAT HAPPENS! People don't realize we are playing with a team that are physically undersized, and with not that much talent, and if you can win 12 games with that talent level, I don't care in what conference your playing in, thats impressive. You have to give credit to Hoke and especially Mattison, and I see only a bright future once we get back to the talent level we are used to having. But man this was a great start! But somehow over that past 6-7 years since a COUPLE of SEC teams have dominated, the media (ESPN, CBS, DODD!) have put on there SEC glasses and cannot see beyond that fact that there are quality teams outside the SEC, and that football is much more than a COUPLE of great teams in the SEC. IF you put in LSU vs Bama and play the same exact game, as last night then all of sudden this was the best game of the century! and the media (ESPN, CBS, DODD!) puts a positive spin on the game. And to all SEC fans, just because a COUPLE of your teams are doing great, does'nt mean that all of sudden that makes you an official "expert" of the game, as is if all of sudden you know everything about the game that has existed over 100 years, and everyone elses opinion is somehow inferior. Empty seats who gives a crap, a Tues. night game, after the holidays, and at Michigan kids actually go to class, not surprised or embarassed by that at all! Someone posted this earlier article of the game which was positive, real journalism, not this DODD tabloid crap. This article (DODD"S) is a fine example of an article that is lazy, uninformed, totally bias, and worthless journalism as I have ever read. Great win last night Blue! its a great start! everyone else get over it, move on! There have been better games, and certainly been worse games (see LSU VS BAMA, game 1). 

Since: Jan 16, 2011
Posted on: January 4, 2012 3:21 pm

This Sugar Bowl was a bit sour

By the way Fornelli, you should know that by writing an article, you're going to have tons of Michigan fans bashing you bruh.  We run like thousands deep on websites especially when an article is as poorly written as the one you've presented.

Since: Jan 16, 2011
Posted on: January 4, 2012 3:18 pm

This Sugar Bowl was a bit sour

To the writer, you realize that the Suga Bowl is played in New Orleans?  Do you realize that New Orleans is in Louisiana?  Do you know that LSU stands for Louisiana State University?  Do you know that 6 days from yesterday, the BCS National Championship Bowl will be played in New Orleans at the same stadium Michigan played Virginia Tech?  Do you see what I'm getting at?

All the locals are going to save their money and watch LSU take on Alabama.  I'm sure some people will be going to both but most people will choose the Nat'l Championship game over the Sugar Bowl featuring two non-SEC schools. Hence the reason for 12,000 empty seats.  Also, the game is on a Tuesday night after most people just had the previous week off work.  It's not easy to take extra time off after that.  Now I know you had pre-determined thoughts about this game stating that you didn't like the match-up between U of M and VT from the get-go but it was a good game starring two good defenses.  I hope you can now write a positive blog after writing two horrible negative ones so that people don't have biased opinions because an amatuer author thinks he knows what he's talking about..

Since: Jan 4, 2012
Posted on: January 4, 2012 2:56 pm

This Sugar Bowl was a bit sour

I'm sure Forneli's favorite game was the Offense Bowl they played in Pasadena.  MI or VA Tech would have beaten either one of those joker's defenses. 

Boise St. doesn't play tough teams all year.  End of story, it goes no further.  They CAN NOT win every week if their opponenets were in any of the top 4 conferences.  They would have more injuries, and less wins.

Who is Kansas St.?  Seriously....

MI finishes 11-2 - Won the Sugar Bowl in a display of 2 Good Defenses.

JUST WAIT UNTIL NEXT SEASON - MI vs AL in the Cowboys Stadium - Beginning of the year - After MI (who has a winning record against the SEC) will prevail and remind eveyone why MI IS THE WINNINGEST PROGRAM IN THE HISTORY OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL!

Peace Out - Yo



Since: Aug 15, 2008
Posted on: January 4, 2012 2:41 pm

This Sugar Bowl was a bit sour

Perhaps we should just do away with defenses all together.  Two really good defenses playing against eachother is horrible to watch, but two terrible defenses is exciting?  A goal line stand is hard to watch, but a continuous series of receivers (exluding blackmon, none of which will even see a nfl training camp)blowing by high school varsity d-backs is mind blowing?  what are you going to say when lsu and alabama play to a 9-6 decision again?  Oh wait, that will be an SEC match up, so its not only ok but amazing as well.  I am not trying to contend that this was the game of the century or anything remotely close to that, but this was a match up where the defenses were the stars and were the ones making the big plays.  Both Denard Robinson and David Wilson are awesome offensive weapons, but both were shut down or had their impact minimized by the other teams defense.  I thought the twists and turns of the game were exciting.  Especially the swing in special teams play during the game.  Special teams is VT's bread and butter, and to see UM turn the tables on VT, i thougt was good football.   its sad that a competetive game is considered a flop because a bowl record for points and/or yards wasnt set, and it is even more sad that Tom Fornelli believes and wrote this piece of garbage.  I am assuming CBS already had most of the artice written for him ahead of time, kind of like a mad libs where Fornelli just filled in the appropriate players names and stats.  The best part was the comment about Boise playing Kansas State instead.  I can tell you that alot more people would of read your article on that game because no one would of watched.  BSU & KSU are like te backup quarterback on a bad team, every body loves you, everybody wants you to play, but then when they do see you play, they realize there was a reason why youre the back up.  No offense to BSU & KSU fans, and i realize that both teams were passed over in favor of this match up, but i dont think that game overly wows anyone, and if anything its another game where at least one qb throw for 500 yards, and the other runs for 250.  

Since: Dec 17, 2006
Posted on: January 4, 2012 1:39 pm

This Sugar Bowl was a bit sour

vranger, Thanks for that explanation. Movement of the ball after touching the ground apparently negates both hands on the ball, feet inbounds, left elbow hits ground before ball. I think the elbow hitting the ground first was what inspired Todd Blackledge to comment, "That's a touchdown!" Thought he had a point, and so did many others, but the very technical ruling prevails.

Since: Jan 3, 2007
Posted on: January 4, 2012 1:26 pm

This Sugar Bowl was a bit sour

According to the current rule as I understand it, the revered TD was not a good catch. I've heard it explained many times, and the rule seems to be that the receiver must demonstrate control throughout the catch, including contact with the ground. If the ball hits the ground and moves independently of the receiver's control, it is considered the ground assisted, which means "no catch".

That's what the replay officials saw. The receiver did not have a tight grip on the ball, and the ball hit the ground and moved upwards into his control. That, by rule, is an incomplete pass. One thing that gets fans really heated up over a call like this is when the announcers talk themselves into one thing, and then the call does not bear out their discussion. I saw the ball move on the very first replay from the appropriate angle, and doubted that it would be confirmed as a touchdown. At the same time the announcers were working each other into a frenzy of "That's a touchdown!" Still, I thought the call could go either way, but I was hardly surprised to see it called incomplete. The receiver did have a hand under the upper half of the ball, but the lower half of the ball hit the ground and pushed the ball up into more firm control. It was a VERY technical call, but if you are going to have replay decisions, you are going to get very technical calls. Before the replay era that's just a touchdown, period ... just like all these running plays that in the last few years get marked inside the one after the play appeared to be a touchdown, and would have been in all the decades prior to instant replay.

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