You know the anticipation that begins to build when MTV starts running promos for a new Real World season? You see the cast members, and you know how Real World seasons go, and how things things are set up, and you start thinking things like "oh man, she's hot," "those dudes are going to fight," "ah, token weird guy," "those two are going to hook up".... etc?
My anticipation of Minnesota's new TCF Bank Stadium was nothing like that.
It's difficult to put into words what walking into TCF Bank Stadium was like yesterday for the Gophers "Game Day Preview." I've been seeing Gopher Football games in the Metrodome since I was fairly young. I've also seen countless Vikings and Twins games in that building. I grew up spending a good chunk of time under the teflon sky sitting in those unforgiving blue chairs. And you know what? I loved that place.
But something inside of me changed on my birthday in 2001 when I first visited Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa. No, no, I did not become a Hawkeye fan. In fact, it's safe to say that this was the very day that my unabashed dislike of the Iowa Hawkeyes began. (That's a different story for a different time, but let's just say that there have only been 2 times in my life when I actually feared for my life, and November 17, 2001 was one of those times.)
On that beautiful November day in 2001 I saw major college football in an outdoor stadium for the first time in my life... and I haven't been the same since. Ever since that day the Metrodome felt too cold and sterile for college football. But maybe, as they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder, because I am in LOVE with TCF Bank Stadium. (I think my wife is okay with this.)
Look, I've never been to The Big House, I've never been to Happy Valley and I've never been to the Horseshoe, so maybe my frame of reference is a bit biased here, but The Bank (which is the nickname for TCF Bank Stadium that I have chosen to latch onto) is... oh heck, it's really freakin' cool. And it's ours!
In the back of my head there's always been this nagging feeling that the Gophers aren't a real Big10 football program because of that stupid dome. But I don't feel that way anymore. Sitting in a maroon seat yesterday, watching the Gophers scrimmage on a field with their own colors, with a view of Williams Arena and downtown Minneapolis in the distance was amazing. And I can say this with a complete clarity. There is was no alcohol induced haze to my opinion... but only because The Bank doesn't serve alcohol.
Let's go Gophers! Defend The Bank!