Six white tents stand waiting at the west end of TCF Bank Stadium, with ropes ready to handle State Fair-sized lines. Yes, beer for breakfast has come to Gopher football, and judging by the amount of security in place around those tents, the process of buying one will be something TSA could be proud of.
But if it helps Gopher fans relax, consider Jerry Kill all in favor of it. Minnesota's coach said this week that while he doesn't necessarily prefer the early starts, like today's 11 a.m. kickoff against New Hampshire, he sees pluses and minuses to every start time. In this case? "When you play early, you don't have all that anxiety through the day. You can get out there and get ready to play," he said.
His own stress level? Well, he's working to keep it as low as possible, he said. That's an important consideration for Gopher fans, considering the coach's epileptic collapse on the sidelines during last year's home opener, exactly one year ago on Monday.
Kill said his health is good -- in fact, he said in Chicago in July that he's in the best shape he's been in for several years, after a regimen of walking and dieting all summer.
But his is a stressful job, and there's not much he can do about that.
"You want to do well. You don't want to let people down," Kill said this week. "When you want to get better and you want to do well, there's always stress involved if you want to be the best. If you don't, if you don't want to be the best, then you're wasting a lot of time."
One note about today's game: Mike Rallis, the senior who inherited Gary Tinsley's old job as middle linebacker, has the honor of wearing his late teammate's No. 51 today. The Gophers are in their traditional maroon tops and gold pants; New Hampshire is in white on blue.