Brady Hoke had better buckle up in 2012.
Michigan's schedule will put its new coach and his players to the test that fall.
The Wolverines announced Friday that they'll face Air Force in the 2012 home opener, to be played on Sept. 8 at Michigan Stadium. It represents a one-game scheduling agreement between the schools.
Michigan opens the 2012 season Sept. 1 against Alabama in Arlington, Texas, and also will visit Notre Dame on Sept. 22. Air Force, which has won 34 games in the past four seasons, adds to a nonconference slate that Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon describes as "among the toughest in college football."
No arguments here.
Michigan and Air Force have played only once before, as the Falcons visited Ann Arbor for the 1964 season opener and lost to the Wolverines 24-7.
Like most of you, I love it when teams challenge themselves out of conference. Although Michigan's overall schedule is extremely challenging -- the Wolverines also visit both Nebraska and Ohio State -- Hoke's squad can earn a lot of credibility with a strong performance.
Michigan is still looking for one final nonconference game to be played at home on Sept. 15 or Sept. 29.
Here's Michigan's current 2012 slate:
Sept. 1: vs. Alabama (Arlington, Texas)
Sept. 8: Air Force
Sept. 22: at Notre Dame
Oct. 6: at Purdue
Oct. 13: Illinois
Oct. 20: Michigan State
Oct. 27: at Nebraska
Nov. 3: at Minnesota
Nov. 10: Northwestern
Nov. 17: Iowa
Nov. 24: at Ohio State
Off schedule: Indiana, Penn State, Wisconsin