Cirminiello On The Sugar - A Special Sugar
Posted Jan 3, 2012

Rich Cirminiello on a special Sugar Bowl in an overtime classic.

Richard Cirminiello

Repeat after me. You do not need 96 points and a million broken records to stage a fantastic and memorable football game.

As fans and observers of this game, we've been conditioned over the years to believe that offensive fireworks automatically equal a classic matchup. It's an utterly ridiculous notion that gets perpetuated with each passing year.

Deny yourself the temptation to follow this lazy line of thinking. Does no one appreciate snot-knocking defense any longer? If you do, then you have to agree that, despite what you might hear tomorrow, Michigan and Virginia Tech just delivered a dynamite Sugar Bowl, and one of the best postseason games to date.

Yeah, the Alamo Bowl was a track meet, but why is that any more entertaining than what just ended in New Orleans? The Sugar Bowl was a football game in the purest sense of the words, complete with bone-jarring hits, critical stops and a pulsating finish. It was reminiscent of the Nov. 5 meeting between Alabama and LSU, which also got panned in myriad circles for not producing enough points. Hogwash. Both defenses played a fantastic game.

The battle between the coordinators, Greg Mattison and Bud Foster? Epic.

Michigan's young D? Transformational. Virginia Tech's ability to hem in Denard Robinson on the ground all game? Improbable.

The controversial reversal of Danny Coale's overtime touchdown catch? A topic that'll be hotly debated and scrutinized long after the postseason has ended.

Sure, there were some sloppy moments, particularly on special teams, but that had a lot to do with the physicality of this game.

I have a sneaking suspicion that I'll be in the minority here, but I adored this Sugar Bowl from the opening kickoff to Brendan Gibbons' game-winning field goal. I don't need a shootout to be satisfied. Nor should you. In fact, far too many high-scoring games are vastly overrated because the defenses just don't show up.

Michigan over Virginia Tech in thrilling fashion provided enough storylines to rank it right there with the Rose Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl for pure entertainment value, giving the BCS three sensational offerings over the last 24 hours or so.

You might be told otherwise over the next couple of days, but the 2012 Sugar Bowl exceeded most expectations, with Michigan and Virginia Tech, fueled by assertive defenses, proving to skeptics that they belonged in a marquee bowl game.

Tune out the noise about this game—it was an absolute show-stopper, even if neither of the quarterbacks threw for 600 yards and seven touchdowns.