Michigan Football: Why Wolverines Are Rose Bowl-Bound

Richard LangfordCorrespondent IAugust 19, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 03:  Head coach Brady Hoke of the Michigan Wolverines applauds his teams play against the Virginia Tech Hokies during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 3, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Head coach Brady Hoke is going to lead his Michigan Wolverines back to their first Rose Bowl since 2007. 

Brady Hoke did an amazing job turning around this team. They finished the season at 11-2 and ended on big positive with a 23-20 overtime win over Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl.

Nowhere was their turnaround more apparent than on defense.

In 2010, Michigan ended the season ranked 110th in overall defense and 107th in scoring defense. In 2011, Hoke's first year, they were 17th in total defense and 6th in scoring defense, and there is every reason to think they will continue to perform at a similarly elite level in 2012.

With defensive end Craig Roh and nose tackle William Campbell anchoring the defensive line, this team is going to be tough in the trenches. They are also set at linebacker with Kenny Demens and Jake Ryan leading the way. 

The front seven will have an experienced and solid secondary, which makes this one of the more complete defenses in the country. 

Offensively, Michigan has the running game to control most of their games. 

With dual threat quarterback Denard Robinson under center, the Wolverines had a dominant running game in 2011. At just over 221 rushing yards per game, Michigan was ranked 13th in the nation. 

Robinson, who was Michigan's leading rusher last year, is back, as is Fitzgerald Toussaint, who gained 1,041 rushing yards last season to lead all Wolverine running backs. 

These guys are going to benefit from the blocking of junior left tackle Taylor Lewan. He is going to be one of the nation's elite tackles in 2012. 

However, other than Lewan and right guard Patrick Omameh the Wolverines will not enjoy much starting continuity, but they have enough talent there that this should be a position of strength. 

Michigan has all the tools to be an elite team.

With Ohio State being postseason ineligible and Michigan State and Wisconsin having to replace elite quarterbacks, there is not a team in the Big Ten that can keep them from the Rose Bowl.