The Bank is Officially Sold Out. But, Your Job Isn’t Over.

Minnesota Golden Gophers head coach P.J. Fleck leads his team out onto the field Oct. 26 against the Maryland Terrapins at TCF Bank Stadium. Jesse Johnson / USA TODAY Sports

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Yup, it’s official Gopher fam. Saturday’s 11 AM game at TCF Bank Stadium is a sellout. A packed Bank in early November, on a day that is set to have temps in the mid-20’s (with chances of snow), cheering on an 8-0 team that’s trying to dethrone Penn State… is exactly what we all saw coming before this season started… well, maybe not, but it’s what PJ Fleck envisioned, when he took this job a few years ago. He and Mark Coyle may have been the only ones not laughing at the time, but they sure are laughing now.

But just like PJ Fleck says, expectations are always changing. When you win, expectations rise. So, now that the stadium is sold out, the job of Gopher fans is only beginning. It’s time to change our best again. Now that this crowd will be a sellout, we need to make sure the football team can take advantage of a sellout crowd from the time they step on the field for warm-ups, to when they walk back into the tunnel postgame. Here are 4 things you can do to help the Gophers get a win tomorrow morning/afternoon:

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1. Wear Maroon: This is a Maroon-Out people! We know that all of you will be wearing overalls and LARGE jackets because it’s going to be cold as fuck on Saturday morning… I totally get that, and agree that’s a good idea. So, go to your local Walmart and buy some $5 oversized maroon Gopher gear. If you’ve spent the money to get this far, what’s a few more dollars? The Gophers will have a gold towel for everyone but the maroon is on you!

2. Get into the building EARLY: TCF Bank Stadium got as close to full vs Maryland, as I have seen it all season. Because of the extra bodies, getting into the game got to be a little crowded around kickoff, which led to many fans finally sitting down sometime early in the 2nd quarter. I took video, if you need evidence:

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I would recommend getting in line with 2 hours to kickoff. There are a lot of security measures these days (for good reason so be nice to the security personel trying to keep you safe) so read the stadium guidelines before you pack for the game and arrive early. There is a lot to walk around and see, once you’re inside, including a place to hangout pregame (at the open side of the stadium), that has drinks w/alcohol and food available. There are picture areas and room for kids to hangout too. PJ talked this week on KFAN, about how much the crowd dictates the atmosphere of a stadium (obviously), and how the team can feel it (and feed off of it) in pregame warmups.

Get to your tailgate spot early, so you can give that very important part of Saturday tradition plenty of attention. Then get inside, so we can move all of this buzz that has been building throughout the Twin Cities for two weeks, back into the heart of where it started gathering steam over a month ago. Then….

2. BE LOUD: Once inside the stadium, every conversation you have should be held at “in a midsize bar for a solid Friday happy hour” decibel level, or higher. We want the team to feel that buzz, baby. I can hear it already… Anyone who has attended a big time sporting event knows exactly what I’m talking about.

Then… as kickoff nears and pregame festivities get underway, LET THAT SHIT BLOW! YELL AT YOUR FRIENDS. YELL AT YOUR FAMILY. YELL AT YOUR KIDS (warn them first). YELL AT THE VENDORS. YELL AT ME. Everywhere you go, you are told to be quiet. Your kids want to yell and scream everywhere they aren’t supposed to… so, why the fuck would we hold back when we should be screaming? Don’t. Except……..

3. STFU When We Are On Offense: I don’t feel like I should have to explain this but it happens far too often. We want our offense to communicate when they have the ball. They can’t do that when everyone is yelling. So… when we are coming to the line of scrimmage on offense, ignore #2. Bring duct tape for your kids, if it will be needed. Take all precautions necessary.

If you are one of the lucky people who have tickets to this game, then take full advantage. Those who go to all of them know what is needed and what special precautions to take with a big game like this, but I want to say the same thing to them…

We haven’t seen a team like this for a long long long long time, in the college ranks of Minnesota football. Now that it is here, don’t waste it. Not only that, but you have committed yourself to this game and this cold weather. Make sure you have all of the layers and hand/toe warmers that will be necessary to keep you comfortable, so the cold doesn’t bring you down…. and then make memories. 

For everyone who will be attending OR watching from a television: Get on YouTube tonight, especially if you are going with kids. Show them the videos of past games where the Gophers have won… and when they have lost. Maybe watch the Maryland game and highlights from this season. Get up early tomorrow. Read EVERYTHING there is to read for pregame. Drink a couple extra cups of coffee. GET INTO IT. THIS IS FUN. THIS IS WHAT SPORTS ARE ABOUT.

From there, it’s up to the team. If we bring it.. so will they. It’s time to change the future of Minnesota football, just like PJ Fleck has said from the beginning.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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