Brady Hoke 'comfortable' playing Alabama in the opener, doesn't feel like an underdog
ANN ARBOR -- Brady Hoke has made no bones about it.
He loves the fact that Michigan is playing the defending national champion this season, and he believes games like this are why players choose to attend his university.
But asked Tuesday whether or not he'd rather have a game or two under his belt before seeing what he has against No. 2 Alabama on Saturday (8 p.m., ABC), Hoke said no.
He has no problem playing the Crimson Tide right now.
"I'm very comfortable opening up with Alabama," he said Tuesday on the Big Ten coaches' teleconference.
Presently, Michigan sits as a 13 1/2-point underdog to Nick Saban's Alabama squad, and has been given next to no chance to knock off the Crimson Tide by the majority of national pundits.
Michigan is, without a doubt, a massive underdog in this game.
But does Hoke feel like an underdog?
"No," he said bluntly. "I like Michigan."
With the non-conference portion of Michigan's schedule starting out against Alabama on Saturday, and wrapping up with a road night game at Notre Dame later in September, the Wolverines are absolutely looking at the possibility of entering Big Ten play with at least two losses.
But Hoke still doesn't see it that way. He again defended Michigan's out-on-a-limb scheduling policy this season, saying games against Alabama and Notre Dame are massive opportunities for his club.
And, in Hoke's words, if you want to be the best -- you've got to beat the best.
"I think we like it, we like it as a program and I like it personally," he said. "When you want to be the best and be champions, you've got to play the best. Play those programs that are on a high level. As a team, that's just going to make us better when we get in the Big Ten."
NOTE: Hoke again side-stepped any questions about suspended running back Fitz Toussaint, saying he hasn't made any decision on his availability for Saturday. Hoke said Toussaint's availability would be something Michigan would decide before the game begins. Although when he was asked whether or not it'd be a game time decision, he said "we'll see."