The Gophers will be playing early and late next season.
Minnesota learned the kickoff time for three of its 2012 games on Thursday, and they couldn't be more different -- the Gophers' season will open at 10 p.m. CT in Las Vegas, and its Big Ten opener will kick off at 11 a.m. in Iowa City. In addition, Minnesota's first conference home game is a morning kickoff as well.
The latter is quite a change from 2011. After pledging to avoid slotting Gophers home games in the 11 a.m. television window as much as possible last season, the Big Ten delivered by scheduling all four conference home games (and six of the seven Minneapolis games overall, with the other being a night kickoff) for 2:30 p.m.
But that won't be the case this season. The conference revealed kickoff times for each school's homecoming game on Thursday, and the Gophers learned their Oct. 13 home game against Northwestern will start at 11 a.m., and televised on a network still to be determined.
The Gophers will also open the Big Ten season with an 11 a.m. kickoff. Their trip to Iowa on Sept. 29 is the Hawkeyes' homecoming game, and also has been scheduled for the early time slot.
UNLV has set the start time for the Gophers' season opener Aug. 30 at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas for 8 p.m. PT, or 10 p.m. in the Twin Cities. That's probably fortunate for the players, considering daytime temperatures in Las Vegas are routinely above 100 degrees in August.
The UNLV game will be televised by CBS College Sports, the first game in the Mountain West Conference's new partnership with the network following the demise of its own network, the Mtn.
GopherThursday's announcements bring to four the number of Minnesota games whose start times have been pinned down. The Gophers' game with Syracuse on Sept. 22 will kick off at 7 p.m. and be televised by BTN.