MINNEAPOLIS — ESPN College Gameday has finally revealed where it will stage its popular pregame show this Saturday before the 10-1 Gophers take on the Wisconsin Badgers at TCF Stadium.
GameDay will take the air at 8:00 a.m. from Northrop Mall. The show is making its first-ever trip to the University of Minnesota for what the show is calling the longest uninterrupted rivalry in FBS Division 1 college football. The all-time series between Minnesota and Wisconsin is tied 60-60-8 after the Gophers won 37-15 last year on the road.
ESPN College GameDay will open its gates on Northrup Mall at 5:00 a.m. Gopher Gameday parking lots surrounding TCF Bank Stadium will open at 6:00 a.m. Fans are encouraged to arrive early.
The Gophers will battle the Badgers for Paul Bunyan's Axe, the Big Ten West title and more importantly, a slot in the Big Ten Title game against Ohio State Dec. 7.
When ESPN made the announcement via social media, many Gophers and Badgers fans were already on campus because the two schools faced off on the ice for hockey's version of the Border Battle.
"It's hockey tonight, but it will be huge to have GameDay here in Minnesota for the first time next weekend," said Dean Jorgenson, a Gophers fan who attended the game with his friends from Wisconsin.
"I love the turnout for GameDay and it makes the game itself that much better," said Noel Bateman, a Badger fan. "You're already there, you're already going for it, it just makes it more fun."
Badgers fans know, because the popular pregame show has been to Madison several times, but for the Gophers this is new territory.
Despite a nationally televised win over an undefeated Penn State team earlier this month, GameDay chose not to come to campus. That meant Minnesota was still one of just ten Power Five schools to never host the show. Compare that to Ohio State University, which has hosted a record 19 times.
Even several non-Power Five teams have hosted, including SDSU in Brookings, NDSU in Fargo (twice) and Western Michigan in Kalamazoo. PJ Fleck was coaching that Western Michigan team when ESPN came in 2016, and the exposure helped put his "Row The Boat" mantra on the national stage.
"We need it here," Jorgenson said. "We deserve it here."
Minnesota and Wisconsin are dead tied in their rivalry at 60-60-8, and now that the annual winner-take-axe game is also a winner-take-all for the Big Ten West title, it's GameDay On.
"It's got to come down to Minnesota/Wisconsin," Jorgenson said. "I think Wisconsin wants revenge from last year but I think the Gophers are going to do it. I'm seeing roses, Rose Parade, Rose Bowl, Go Gophers!"
Things will heat up as the Gophers proceed to play the Badgers for a chance to go 11-1, and end their regular season.
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