Update: Thursday, May 16
Per mlive.com, Brady Hoke appeared on the “Mike and Mike in the Morning” radio show and tried to clarify his "chickening out" comments.
Hoke started the conversation light-heartedly saying that he “almost didn’t call,” but he decided he “didn’t want to chicken out” on the appearance.
He went on to clarify his comments about the end of the annual rivalry with Notre Dame:
Maybe there's a different word you could use, but being a guy from the Midwest and growing up watching the rivalry, and obviously being a part of it as a coach, we had 115,000 people in Michigan Stadium at night two years ago.
College football is changing -- for the better, I don't know," he told the show. "But we're going to nine games in our league, and we got 14 teams now, and all those things. So, this thing is going to continue to change probably -- how much, I don't know. I just thought that was one of the great things of playing at Michigan, and coaching at Michigan, was the three rivalries that we play, when you look at it from a national standpoint with Notre Dame, and in state with Michigan State, and obviously the Ohio (State) game at the end of the year is as big as anything.
He may have cleared up his thoughts about the loss of the rivalry and the changing landscape in college football, but he never backed down from his “chickening out” comments.
He did however say that "we have great respect for Notre Dame" and that he could have shared his thoughts in a more eloquent way.
Stand by for a response out of South Bend.
You can catch the full interview here.
Update: Tuesday, May 14
A day after Brady Hoke called Notre Dame “chickens” for cancelling the Michigan rivalry on future schedules, Irish DT Louis Nix responded via Twitter:
Bruce Feldman pointed out the tweet early Tuesday morning.
So does this end here, or do the equipment managers start chiming in?
End of Update
Brady Hoke doesn’t sugarcoat his thoughts often, and the straight-line talk hit a new level this week.
Kyle Meinke of Mlive.com broke the news on his Twitter account that Hoke called out Notre Dame for its schedule change that doesn’t include the Wolverines:
Hoke says Notre Dame is "chickening out" of its series with Michigan. Notes ND is still playing Michigan State.— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) May 13, 2013
Yes, Hoke said that the school was “chickening out.” He called out the Fighting Irish for cutting out a longstanding rivalry against Michigan, and saving its matchup with Michigan State and Purdue in the process.
Hoke had this to say during the Michigan Sports Commission Annual Luncheon (h/t Mlive.com):
The Notre Dame game, that rivalry, which they're chickening out of. They're still gonna play Michigan State, they're gonna play Purdue, but they don't want to play Michigan. I don't know how they made that decision ... I really do ... But anyway, that's a great national rivalry game. It's a great game.
While the Irish have a tradition-rich rivalry against the Spartans, the first football game in Notre Dame history came against the Wolverines. There have been fewer games played overall, but the nostalgia associated with the Michigan rivalry is too much to give up.
Is Notre Dame "chickening out" or moving on?
Michigan and Notre Dame have met 40 times, while the Spartans have played the Irish 75 times.
Another rivalry that was preserved is the Purdue game. While this is another tradition-rich game—84 total meetings—the Michigan rivalry would carry more weight on the national stage. It would also add more clout to the Irish schedule.
Of all the games to drop, the Michigan matchup made the least amount of sense. It is a premier contest that captures the country’s attention. Last year, it was highest-rated showdown televised during the prime-time slot on the fourth Saturday of September (h/t Zap2it.com). It beat out Clemson vs. Florida State and the Kansas State vs. Oklahoma game.
While the call-out may be a bit blunt, the fact that the Irish dumped the Michigan game in favor of others is certainly intriguing. No matter which team lost the draw, there would have been complaints.
Thankfully, it was Michigan because Hoke’s comments are priceless offseason fodder.