Brady Hoke thought it was a great idea to get Michigan on the schedule last season when he was leading San Diego State’s football program to its first bowl victory in 41 years.

He quickly changed his mind last winter after becoming coach of the big, bad Wolverines.

But mighty Michigan wasn’t able to get out of the contest and now a mad team of Aztecs will be showing up at the Big House this Saturday.

You may recall Hoke didn’t even hold a farewell meeting with San Diego State players and famously popped off about how he would walk from San Diego to Ann Arbor to have the opportunity to become Michigan’s coach.

I’ve been waiting all week to hear a reporter ask Hoke why he flew to Ann Arbor as opposed to walking. Guess nobody is interested in loosening up a stuffy press conference.

Hoke was asked about not breaking the news to the San Diego State players in person and he blamed it on school not being in session and said he sent a mass text message.

Think about that – a football coach acting like a kid instead of standing up and taking responsibility and explaining a career decision.

San Diego State and Michigan both sport 3-0 records heading into Saturday’s contest and Hoke certainly has some big advantages in that he has superior talent and took five Aztecs assistant coaches with him. Let’s just say that Michigan’s staff has much better knowledge in how to exploit the Aztecs than San Diego State does when it comes to the No. 22 Wolverines.

You’ll hear San Diego State coach Rocky Long downplay those factors but that’s typical coach speak. And when you hear that going up against the coach that jilted the program eight months ago isn’t motivation for the San Diego State players, that’s bunk too.

Every San Diego State player worth his salt has been thinking all week about how terrific it would feel to celebrate a victory at Michigan Stadium in front of Hoke. At least those with the typical amount of competitive juices flowing in their bodies.

Former Aztecs star Kyle Turley has been blistering Hoke all week for the way he left San Diego State but what it comes down to is this: Nobody should be surprised that Hoke would prefer the Michigan gig.

The Wolverines represent his dream job – he was a former assistant at the school while working his way up the ranks – and the gig pays a lot more money than working at San Diego State ever will.

Nobody gets into the coaching profession and states, “My career goal is to be San Diego State’s head football coach.”

The 2010 season was one in which it was clear San Diego State had a better football coach than Michigan (Rich Rodriguez) and Hoke had a situation come up that he couldn’t have realistically envisioned even one year earlier.

Remember, Jim Harbaugh and Les Miles turned down offers to become Michigan’s coach before Hoke landed the job. Being the third choice to become coach of a famed Big Ten program is certainly better than remaining at a school in which every football coach since Don Coryell – he departed San Diego State in 1972 – has been fired.

There aren’t many non-BCS coaches that wouldn’t jump at the opportunity that was presented to Hoke. We all get that.

But the truth is Hoke didn’t handle the departure well at all – particularly after agreeing to a contract extension with San Diego State a month earlier. At the time, Hoke said he hadn’t even scratched the surface of what needed to be done at San Diego State.

Hard to know what’s under the surface when you’re not fully committed to the post. Hoke got the raise and security he requested but that didn’t prevent him from immediately pursuing another job.

Dream job or not, that’s not the proper way to do business.

As for Saturday’s game, the Aztecs don’t normally put up much of a fight against ranked nonconference foes but one of the occasions they did in the not-too-distant past was during the 2004 season when Tom Craft’s squad nearly upset Michigan in Ann Arbor.

I covered the game and there was a surreal atmosphere at the Big House when San Diego State led by four points at halftime. Michigan eventually won 24-21 but I’ll never forget the scene on the sidelines in the final minutes as I heard Wolverines’ defensive star Marlin Jackson dish out the profanity on his teammates for nearly getting beat by a Mountain West squad.

The current Aztecs are certainly better than the 2004 team that nearly upset Michigan and Hoke fully knows how dangerous the San Diego State offense is with quarterback Ryan Lindley and running back Ronnie Hillman leading the way.

The game will be decided though by whether or not the Aztecs can handle Michigan’s Denard Robinson. The all-purpose star quarterback is the type of player San Diego State doesn’t have much experience defending.

And if the Aztecs do pull off the upset – which would rank as one of the school’s top all-time victories – there’s one person to thank:

Brady Hoke – for scheduling the game in the first place.


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