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“If we all win, it makes us all better,” he said.

Hoke said he is comfortable having his team play Alabama in the opener. The Wolverines play three of their first five games away from Ann Arbor, including Notre Dame and improving Purdue in back-to-back weeks. They also play at Nebraska and Ohio State.

“We like it, and I like it personally,” Hoke said. “When you want to be the best and you want to be champions and all those things you need to play the best and play those programs that are on a high level. We think as a team, that’s just going to make us better when we get into the Big Ten.”

Dantonio’s Spartans will open against a Boise State team that returns only six starters from a squad that had six players taken in the NFL draft.

Boise State has beaten ranked opponents each of the last three years in openers: 19-8 over No. 14 Oregon in 2009, 33-30 over No. 7 Virginia Tech in Landover, Md., in 2010 and 35-21 over No. 19 Georgia in Atlanta last year.

The Broncos have won six straight and eight of nine against teams from BCS conferences.

Minnesota is the first Big Ten team to play, visiting UNLV on Thursday.

Other Big Ten openers, all Saturday: Northwestern at Syracuse; Southern Mississippi at Nebraska; Iowa vs. Northern Illinois, in Chicago; Western Michigan at Illinois; Indiana State at Indiana; Miami (Ohio) at Ohio State; Ohio at Penn State; Eastern Kentucky at Purdue; and Northern Iowa at Wisconsin.