Brady Hoke Says Notre Dame is 'Chickening Out' of Rivalry with Michigan

By Jason Priestas on May 13, 2013 at 6:20p

Say what you will about Michigan coach Brady Hoke. When he speaks to boosters and supporters of the Wolverine football team, he usually gives them what they want to hear.

"The Notre Dame game, that rivalry, which they're chickening out of," Hoke said Monday during the West Michigan Sports Commission Annual Luncheon at the J.W. Marriott in Grand Rapids.

The remark drew thunderous applause from the crowd.

"They're still gonna play Michigan State, they're gonna play Purdue, but they don't want to play Michigan," Hoke continued. "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."

So conflicted. Battling urge to fact-check everything Hoke says with the joy of seeing Notre Dame called out.


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OSUinFl's picture

There been talk Purdue and Michigan  state are done . This will be the  first in years Michigan State haven't played ND. I read somewhere every road game at a big ten Stadium  in the last 4 years have been a prime time  game.

GoBucks713's picture


-The Aristocrats!

phxbuck's picture

Awesome burn Farva. 

ATXbucknut's picture

Awesome...and delicious.

FitzBuck's picture

Best opening scene to a movie ever.  "Do you boys like Mexico....Yeeeeehaaaa"

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

jestertcf's picture

best opening scene ever?? Then you must not have seen Lucky Number Slevin


~Because we couldn't go for three~

Gametime's picture


Between goals and achievement is discipline and consistency. That fire you have inside to do whatever you love is placed there by God. Now go claim it. ~ Denzel Washington

tussey's picture

I like both....

buckeyedude's picture

Bruce Willis and Morgan Freeman. Two of my favorite Hollywood actors. I can't believe I've never seen that movie. It's now on my list.



jestertcf's picture

Please do. The storytelling is wonderful in it. This is one i can watch again and again.
Also on a side note, It is (IMO) the sexiest Lucy Lui has been. So that's an added bonus.

~Because we couldn't go for three~

tdible2132's picture

I think he was just thinking about the chicken he had ready for dinner!

Hovenaut's picture

Must be wing night at the Golden Corral.

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

Every night is during Wing Fest!

Class of 2010.

Hovenaut's picture

Also known as "Wing Feast" in the A2 athletic department.

OSUinFl's picture

That reminds the Hole of Duffs smorgasbord in Kettering Ohio.

Poison nuts's picture

I gotta say, I like it...because IMHO, ND is chickening out.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

OSU_ALUM_05's picture

I usually look for a reason to make fun of Hoke, but I actually love that quote from him. I hope it's true.

Yeti's have feelings too.

BuckeyeChief's picture

I gotta go with Hoke on this one, you don't kill a rivalry game like that while half assed joining the ACC. My respect for ND has dwindled since the Powlus era.

"2014 National with it!!!"

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

I find myself siding with TSUN on this one.  It's rare, don't get used to it.

Class of 2010.

SonOfBuckeye's picture

His sermon on courage and tradition would be more persuasive if he hadn't chickened out of a post-Game handshake last November.

FitzBuck's picture

^ This.

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

Run_Fido_Run's picture

The enemy of his enema is my friend. 

buckeyedude's picture

C'mon Sonof! Give Hoke a break! He had to poop!



Run_Fido_Run's picture

I'm with the Hokester on this one, too.
My respect for ND has dwindled even more since they halfway joined the ACC. For years, they were vastly overrated as a football program.
Now, they're momentarily back to respectability in football, but my annoyance with them made me look deeper into their supposedly great academic reputation. Turns out they're a bit overrated academically.
In my heart, I say that Big Ten teams should stop scheduling them, but my head realizes that they're good for business, when they're not ducking programs like Michigan. 

sharks's picture

Notre Dame is chickening out.  Mmmm, chicken

A man got to have a code...

cajunbuckeye's picture

Hoke had stated earlier that Notre Lame had "waffled" for months before making the decision.

An angry fan...rooting for an angry team...led by angry coaches

M Man's picture

I thought that a bunch of smart and well-informed college football observers like you guys knew this story.
The ND-Michigan series contract had an automatic renewal clause which could be avoided only with X years notice from the date of one of the previous years' game.  (I don't want to misstate any of the details of the contract; you get the idea.)
So before the game last year, Brandon is on the field in South Bend and he is handed a letter from the ND athletic department.  Brandon was so caught up in the game he never bothered to look at it.  It made no difference whether he did or not.  It was from Jack Swarbrick, Notre Dame AD, exercising ND's unilateral option to forego games after the 2014 edition (conveniently, a ND home game).  Brandon only looked at it after the game on Sunday morning.  But it came about two months after Swarbrick had made a public statement to the effect that apart from the occasional hiatus for things like Michigan adjusting to a new B1G schedule or Notre Dame dealing with some other unavoidable issues, the series ought to continue.
So yeah, whether it was "chicken" or not on the part of Notre Dame, it was "chickenshit" the way that they went about it.  It was pure unilateralism; so let Notre Dame explain themselves.  I don't even care.
Bo Schembechler had it right.  He had one enduring line about ND.  "To hell with Notre Dame."
The New York and Chicago papers usually love Notre Dame.  But they all thought this story was chickenshit.
(The NY Daily News article references a FOIA request by the Associated Press to get a copy of the ND/Swarbrick letter.  It was undoubtedly a request sent to the University of Michigan, and to which Michigan promptly responded.  Notre Dame, a private school, doesn't have to answer FOIAs.  And they generally don't.)

phxbuck's picture

We are well aware of the back story.

KBonay's picture

I would argue that hand delivering the message was a tad more classy than Vanderbilt's weak-ass letter to cancel the Aug 31st game via the postal service.

Jason Priestas's picture

I was thinking about this earlier. Did Notre Dame hand deliver the notice because that's how professionals conduct business, or did they do it to see the look on Brandon's face? Or both?

hail2victors9's picture

Probably both, lol.  The X number of games M Man was referring to was three.  By delivering the letter prior to the start of the game, last year's game counted toward the three.
I don't have a huge problem with entering into another hiatus.  The rivalry has seen several breaks and there was a two-year stoppage on the horizon ('18-'19, I believe).  The Sparty and Purdue rivalries date back further and have been annual contests (without interruption) forever.  While Michigan is undoubtedly the toughest of the three, and a great national rivalry between blue bloods, I get it.  They could definitely keep the Michigan rivalry and drop a game like Navy.
This does force Michigan to schedule other schools (VaTech, Arkansas, Utah and UC is a good start), and that's a great thing.

Those who stay will be CHAMPIONS!

~Bo Schembechler

buckeyedude's picture

This does force Michigan to schedule other schools (VaTech, Arkansas, Utah and UC is a good start), and that's a great thing.

Or Toledo. ;)



buckeyedude's picture

My question is who handed the letter to Brandon? Was it a ND student intern? It should have been the ND A.D. him/herself, IMO. Not some kid.



BME_Buckeye's picture

Hoke ate the bones!

Look closely, because the closer you think you are, the less you will actually see.


bigbadbuck's picture

and by appearances everything else including the plate and the silverware

Gentlemen, you can't fight in here, its a war room

BuckeyeLurker0509's picture

He's absolutely right.
Kudos to Coach Hoke.

RoyWalley's picture

He's absolutely 100% wrong!   ND doesn't need meechigan on their schedule.  ND's schedule year in & year out is one of he toughest in the nation.  
I'm surprised Hjoke could talk with 6 donuts in his mouth.

Jason Priestas's picture

Nice try, Brian Kelly.

tennbuckeye19's picture

The Hokester is right. Notre Dame is backing out of a game that should happen every year. They can make all the excuses they want about joining the ACC (partially) and being required to play so many ACC games a year now, or scheduling, or whatever. But, there is no good reason for Notre Dame to not play Michigan ever single year. Every Notre Dame fan I know goes on and on about how they play one of the toughest schedules year in and year out because they are Notre Dame and because they rule the entire universe of college football. Well, joining the ACC halfway and then not playing Michigan every year doesn't help your cause. In my opinion it makes you look more foolish than ever.

BrewstersMillions's picture

Forgive me if I don't buy that the defending NCG runner up is ducking a 5-one hail Mary away from 6-loss Michigan team.
This is pandering at its finest. Hoke was at an alumni event and started pouring some cool aid. Go home Brady. You're drunk.

TheHumbleBuckeye's picture

to be fair, Michigan was minus-1 hail mary from beating South Carolina and being a four-loss team.

BrewstersMillions's picture

And no where near the national title game. MY point is that if we are looking at two schools with rich histories who have been struggling to rebuild, I'd say ND is more "back" than Michigan. For Hoke to say ND is chickening out is simple, mouth-breathing pandering to his crowd. Hats off for knowing his surroundings, I guess, but don't pee down my back and call it rain, you know?

RoyWalley's picture

Or being a 6 loss team with the hail Mary pass at the end of regulation of the Northwestern game!

TraditionCounts's picture

What's to "buy?"  These are two storied programs with a rivalry going back a hundred years, supported by a game that brings out the best of both programs.  The two schools genuinely don't like each other, helping to fuel the hate-filled matchups which generations of people look forward to.  Do you really believe that Michigan's results last year are somehow related to this decision?  Hoke understands the meaning of rivalries and why it's an important part of his school's tradition.  This move has effectively removed one of three games that people circle on their calendar.  And it is, indeed, chickenshit.  I give the guy credit for saying -- in front of alumni or otherwise.

BrewstersMillions's picture

Its the underlying tone of arrogance he portrays. One 'Chicken's out" when one is scared. Brady Hoke clearly believes Notre Dame is scared of Michigan-as if there is something to be scared of. I'm saying there isn't. Michigan fans, of course, want to believe that Michigan is to be feared and as such these comments carry water in their eyes because....well because of course they do.
My larger point is that Brady needs to pump the brakes. No one is scared of Michigan yet. No one is chickening out.

TraditionCounts's picture

Hoke doesn't strike me as arrogant.  Confident in his system (read: Mattison) maybe.  But I don't get arrogance out of him.  Urban could be accused of having that same confidence I think you'd agree.
In the end, the whole thing is just too bad.  Michigan/Notre Dame was a fun game.  I had the chance to see the "Under the Lights" version at Michigan Stadium in 2011 and I'm hear to tell you -- it might have been the most exciting college football game I've ever been to.  Of course, I was falling down drunk by kickoff, so what the hell do I know.

BrewstersMillions's picture

Absolutely Urban could be accused of it-but the guy who has won big at every stop has a little more street cred than a guy who is still in the midst of a rebuilding process.

TraditionCounts's picture

That's fair.  And I'd agree the street cred gives Urban more latitude.  I swear, I wanna say Hoke is Michigan's Coop.  They'll recruit well and be in their fair share of conference championships.  But something tells me this guy is the real deal.  We shall see...

M Man's picture

You make some essential points.  First and foremost is that virtually nothing that happened last football season had any bearing on the ND decision.  ND decided to duck out after two more games last September.  As indicated above. 
Way back then, we worried about Manti Te'O's dying girlfriend or something like that.  I dunno.  Google it.  I can't remember that far back.
Okay, so then this:

These are two storied programs with a rivalry going back a hundred years, supported by a game that brings out the best of both programs. 

We've had a pretty shocking number of incredibly close, dramatic, last-second games with Notre Dame.  It's rather amazing, really, to go back through the record books over the past 20 years to see the number of last-possession, last-kick, last-second heroics on both sides.  I can't think of anything like it, honestly.  Much better, and closer, really than ND-Stanford (lots of wild finishes) and ND-USC (never really got what that is all about, apart from ND recruiting in southern California).
But when you talk about

...a rivalry going back a hundred years... 

that part isn't true.  We've taken long, disagreeable departures from regularly-scheduling Notre Dame.  Decades-long.  We never played Notre Dame from 1909 until 1942.  We played just twice in the 1940's, and then not at all until 1978.  Since then, we have twice taken two-year breaks in the regular series.  We have played ND about 40 times.  (OSU -108.)  Fielding Yost and Fritz Crisler loathed Notre Dame.
We have a real One-hundred year Rivalry.  It is with the Ohio State University.
And yes, we do hate Notre Dame.  I don't mean "hated rival" like Ohio State.  We really hate Notre Dame.  I don't wish for any good for them.  I root like hell for Michigan State to beat Notre Dame.  I want Purdue and especially Northwestern to beat Notre Dame.  I feel like OSU is my team whenever OSU happens to see Notre Dame in a bowl game.  I always want to see Notre Dame go 0-for-the-B1G.  The Ohio State-Michigan game is the huge game I want us to win and celebrate for all time.  The Notre Dame game is an ugly thing that we must win and then move on.  It's the difference between a golf match on a great links course and a bar fight.

bigbadbuck's picture

Especially when you consider the fact that ND beat Missagain last year. (C) Hokes statement might have held a little more water had ND lost last year. This just makes Missagain look like they know they just blew one of there last chances for a while to beat the Domers

Gentlemen, you can't fight in here, its a war room

ATLBuckeye09's picture

He's just whining because scUM will now have to REALLY schedule some good teams for their nonconference schedule. They have been skating with ND for decades while ND has sucked azz! They trot out "we play ND every year" as an excuse for why they don't play teams like Oklahoma, TX, The U, USC etc. The thing is ND has been a garbage program for well over 20 years. Meanwhile tOSU plays home and homes with tough NC caliber programs while scUM sits and hides every year. And then when one of our home and home opponets program goes into the crap hole (see Cal Bears) they lambast tOSU for playing weak schedules. The hypocrisy is coming to and because they are being shut out by ND. Quit your FAT AZZ HUGE BELLY BELLY ACHING you doughut eating POS!

Because they wouldn't let me go for 3!
Woody Hayes 1913-1987

Idaho Helga's picture

It makes sense for the Irish to keep Purdue due to tradition, geography and the W they put up when the clock reads 0:00.  If they need to scale back B1G members, it might have made more sense to cut out Sparty or put UM and Sparty on a rotation of sorts.  
Hoke was scoring points with the faithful present and I do think he believes what he says (its the Blue colored glasses he sees the world through).  But, since 2002 (when they went back to yearly) it's Domers 5, Wolverines 6.  Recent games have all been close.  Not a lot of reason to turn into the bird that made Colonel Sanders famous.
If ND "fears" a team in the B1G, who is that?  Oh, here's a hint   ;)
1995, 45-26 Buckeyes, at OSU
1996, 39-16 tOSU, at ND
2005, 34-20 Yep. Us again.  Fiesta Bowl
None. Even. Close.  Prior to these 3 meetings, the only other games we played were in 1934 & 35. Considering OSU's willingness to schedule them and how big the excitement was for both schools,  it would appear its not the color Blue they're afraid of, it's Scarlet. 

Hovenaut's picture

The gif I use to applaud people.

I think I see Woody himself in that crowd.....

buckeyedude's picture

Great post Helga.



MN Buckeye's picture

I almost got sick seeing the Hokester in shorts.  Another image that will be hard to forget.