clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Hyundai Sun Bowl 2013 Preview: Virginia Tech Hokies vs. UCLA Bruins

The Hokies and the Bruins have similar records, but that's at least in part because of who they faced during the season

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Hyundai Sun Bowl, Tuesday, 2 p.m. ET, CBS

Suggested slogan: The only bowl game with a view of illegal immigration

The teams: Virginia Tech Hokies and UCLA Bruins

How Virginia Tech got here: You will likely recall that Virginia Tech, in a game that feels like it took place a couple of years ago, completely imploded in a 35-10 loss against Alabama to begin the season. The Hokies promptly recovered from that to reel off six straight wins, though wins at East Carolina and against Marshall were both too close for comfort, before losing three of its last five. But mostly, Virginia Tech got to the postseason the same way it always gets to the postseason -- with a defense ranked in the Top 10 statistically pretty much across the board and an offense that often did just enough to win. The one thing that's not very Beamerballesque is that the Hokies rank near rock bottom in the FBS in rushing offense. In any case, the only FBS team that Tech beat by more than ten points was Miami, which suggests that there might have been just a little bit of luck at play in their bowl berth.

How UCLA got here: As the fourth-best team in the Pac-12. The Bruins lost at Stanford, at Oregon and against Arizona State -- basically, the top three teams in the conference. UCLA won every other game it played. Much of that was due to Brett Hundley, who powered the Bruins by going 232-of-342 passing for 2,845 yards, 22 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He was also the team's leading rusher, with 587 yards and nine touchdowns on 150 carries. That's 286 yards a game of total offense from one player. On defense, there's the small matter of Anthony Barr, who has 10 sacks among his 20 tackles for loss. Barr has also forced five fumbles this year. Overall, the Bruins were a very good team in what happens to be a very good conference.

College football fans care because: There's officially one week left in the bowl season. Don't miss a game you don't have to.

SEC fans care because: This is your last chance to listen to Verne and Gary broadcast a game this year, and you wouldn't want to miss that.

Watch this game if...: You want to see what could -- emphasis on could -- be Hundley's last game at the college level. Or the first chapter in what could be a Heisman campaign in 2014.

Bottom line: Virginia Tech was not that impressive a team this year; it was just a team that managed to win games narrowly and ring up eight victories in the process. On the other hand, UCLA was a good team that managed to lose three games to even better teams, with only one of the losses being a true blowout. Assuming that the Bruins show up to play -- and that's never a sure bet in bowl season -- it should be an easy win. UCLA 34, Virginia Tech 13

Line: UCLA by 7.5