Steve Barnes

Hoke's Notre Dame Comments Hypocritical

Created on May. 29, 2013 2:25 AM EST

I am writing about what most would believe would be the last thing I’d ever consider. I am going to defend Notre Dame.

Yes, that Notre Dame. The one for which I have never had any love or wanted to have it. The one I cheered against in January as Alabama rolled all over it. The one I regurgitated the jokes about: “Alabama beat Notre Dame so bad, the Pope quit,” and “Manti Te’o had the same view of the Bama running game as Michelangelo had painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel — on his back.”

By the way, that shaking you now feel below your feet is my parents spinning in their graves.

I have never understood the people who would speak ill of someone else’s actions when they have done either the same thing or something comparable.

Cue “Hail to the Victors.” Yes, Brady Hoke, I am talking about you.

Recently, the Michigan coach spoke to the West Michigan Sports Commission in Grand Rapids and he did not hide his dismay at Notre Dame halting its rivalry with the Wolverines after the 2014 contest. It seems the Irish, who will be playing a mini Atlantic Coast Conference schedule in 2015, would like a more user-friendly slate. That prompted this comment from Hoke:

“We have unbelievable rivalry games at Michigan,” he said. “Notre Dame, that rivalry, which they are chickening out of … they’re still going to play Michigan State, they’ll play Purdue; they don’t want to play Michigan.”

Is Notre Dame greedy? Yep. Is Notre Dame smart about making money? You bet. Is Notre Dame looking out for its best interests? Absolutely. Is Notre Dame chickening out? Not hardly.

The Irish sort of joined the ACC and they realized something — they are going to get a steady taste of Southern football. They got a snoot-full of it from the Crimson Tide in the BCS title game and Alabama recruits many of the same players as the Virginia Techs, Miamis and Florida States of the football world. No one can blame Notre Dame for looking for some softer games.

That's nothing new. Many teams do that. Including Michigan.

In the past, the Wolverines have played Central Michigan, Akron, Western Michigan, Toledo and Bowling Green. Were there no BCS-conference schools that would come to Ann Arbor or did Michigan simply chicken out and play mid-major school? Hey, save some time guys, just join the MAC and get it over with.

The Michigan scheduling trend is not a flash in the pan. Miami (Ohio), Ball State, Central Michigan and Akron are all back on the slate in the next few seasons.

The Wolverines also have dipped into the pool of FCS teams to play. Again, there must have been no FBS teams available to play. Michigan decided to get real cute for its season-opener in 2007, inviting Appalachian State for a tune-up. How’d that work out for the Wolverines? Probably the most embarrassing upset in recent college football history as the Mountaineers won 34-32. App State will make a return visit in 2014.

I have a friend who is a big Michigan fan. He says the only reason for the game is for the Wolverines to win 100-3. That doesn’t take away from the loss six years ago.

This is the bully who likes to pick on the little kid and one day the runt landed a punch and the bully ran home to mommy. Now instead of picking on someone his own size, the bully ‘roided up and he wants another shot at the half pint.

Not exactly Sgt. York material is it? Then again Maize is a shade of yellow.

Yet Hoke made his statement.

By the way, this season besides playing Michigan and other Big Ten members Michigan State and Purdue, the Irish will take on Oklahoma, USC and Stanford. In the next two years Notre Dame’s “non-conference” schedule includes Arizona State, Syracuse and Texas. Meanwhile the ACC’s Boston College and Georgia Tech head to South Bend. Notre Dame and BC have always had a competitive rivalry and no one wants to face the option attack of the Yellow Jackets. The Irish also travel to Virginia and Clemson in ’15.

In years to come, Notre Dame will have to face perennial powers in Florida State and Miami. Plus, teams like North Carolina, Pitt and N.C. State are capable of beating just about any team in the country.

Actually, the Irish might want to rethink their decision to not join the Big Ten. With the exception of the current incarnation of Ohio State and possibly Wisconsin, Notre Dame would definitely be a team that could win the league title.

What all this means is simple, Coach Hoke. People in glass houses should not throw rocks. Even if it’s the Big House.

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