Patrick Reusse: Want atmosphere at TCF Stadium? It’s your job to bring it

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 18, 2012 - 10:26 PM

 Sure, winning will help make the U facility rock. But so will hordes of Gophers fans who turn out to root hard and party hard -- not kvetch.

hide

TCF Bank Stadium

Photo: David Joles, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

You won't find anyone in the Twin Cities sporting public to say a bad word about Jerry Kill. And you will only find a small percentage in that group willing to pay to watch his football team.

Beyond losing, we are hearing a couple of reasons for the empty rows of seats the Gophers will be facing in their fourth season at TCF Bank Stadium:

One, 27 years in the Metrodome drained the enthusiasm from the student body that was alleged to have flocked to Memorial Stadium in previous generations; and two, there isn't a gameday "atmosphere" surrounding this stadium that you find elsewhere in the Big Ten.

My fellow senior citizens who take the romantic view of what Gophers football was like before the move to the Dome are harkening back to the 1960s, when the Gophers were competing for Rose Bowls.

The reality is that ticket buyers -- including students -- avoided Memorial Stadium with more enthusiasm in its final decade than they did the Metrodome in its final decade.

The Gophers had winning records in the Big Ten in eight of the 10 seasons from 1960 through 1969. They spent another 12 seasons in Memorial Stadium after that and the best team was 1977 -- a 7-4 regular season that included home victories over UCLA, Washington and Michigan.

Attendance that season in the old Brickhouse that was such a magical draw?

The average for seven home games was less than 36,000. This included crowds of 30,600 for Michigan State and 30,742 for Wisconsin, in the two remaining home games after the 16-0 shutout of No. 1-rated Michigan.

How about 2008, the final season in a Metrodome that some claim suffocated Gophers football? Tim Brewster's Gophers started 7-1 before hitting the skids, and they averaged 49,000 for a seven-game home schedule that included Northern Illinois, Montana State, Florida Atlantic, Indiana and Northwestern.

The Metrodome was not the problem in attracting students or the general public to Gophers football. This has been demonstrated by the fact the honeymoon for the shiny on-campus stadium lasted exactly one season with students and full-priced ticket buyers.

The most hilarious excuse we've been offered in this sports market in quite a while is the idea that there isn't a proper atmosphere surrounding the new football yard.

Glen Mason started talking about the need to put football back on campus more than a decade ago. He was in the midst of a decent run from 1999 through 2004 and a few people started listening.

The Legislature approved stadiums for the Twins and the Gophers in 2006, which turned out to be a 6-7 season that got Mason fired. The stadium opened in 2009. There was throwback brick work, a comfortable 50,000 capacity, a beautiful view of the Minneapolis skyline ... dang, it was going to be something special.

And now it's 2012. Brewster the Bull Slinger is long gone, and Country Jer the Straight Shooter is in charge, and if there was only more of a gameday atmosphere around the stadium, the students and rest of us would be flocking to see games with Western Michigan, New Hampshire, Syracuse, Northwestern and Purdue for sure.

Hey, dummies: You create the atmosphere.

You get there early and party hardy, and soon, some corporation will be putting up a mini-blimp over your village of fans, and then the small tents will be bigger tents, and the hooting will turn to hollering, just as it did in Madison in the '90s, and there it is: Atmosphere.

OK, space is limited within walking distance of the stadium. The big brains at the university knew that when they built the place.

Guess what? Space is limited around Camp Randall, too, and the Badgers are trying to get twice as many fans and three times as many students into the stadium.

You can wind up 2 miles away with official parking, and on the entire walk through campus, fans have found places to gather.

Go to Madison. Go to South Bend. Heck, show a little support for Penn State's classy new coach, Bill O'Brien, and go to State College.

It's hard work getting to all of them. Traffic's a mess. Parking costs. Tailgating takes creativity. But the students and the rest of the fans show up there -- they show up all over the country -- and they create the atmosphere.

You got your new stadium. You got a coach you like. Stop making ridiculous excuses. Get up early, meet your friends, slurp down a couple of beers and a brat, go inside and watch the Killsters kick the stuffing out of Western Michigan.

Patrick Reusse can be heard noon-4 weekdays on 1500-AM. preusse@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Detroit 6:00 PM
Washington
Atlanta 6:30 PM
Miami
Toronto 6:30 PM
New York
Memphis 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Brooklyn 7:30 PM
Dallas
Milwaukee 8:00 PM
Utah
San Antonio 8:00 PM
Phoenix
Buffalo 2:00 PM
Florida
Detroit 2:00 PM
Nashville
Carolina 4:00 PM
NY Islanders
New Jersey 4:00 PM
Columbus
Arizona 4:30 PM
Boston
Toronto 6:00 PM
Montreal
NY Rangers 7:00 PM
Philadelphia
Minnesota 9:00 PM
Colorado
St. Louis 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Ottawa 9:00 PM
San Jose
Kennesaw St 10:00 AM
Lipscomb
Navy 10:00 AM
Loyola-Maryland
Bucknell 11:00 AM
American Univ
NC State 11:00 AM
Boston College
East Carolina 11:00 AM
UCF
Georgia Tech 11:00 AM
Clemson
Lehigh 11:00 AM
Colgate
Louisville 11:00 AM
Florida State
Missouri 11:00 AM
Georgia
Army 11:00 AM
Lafayette
Michigan 11:00 AM
Maryland
Georgetown 11:00 AM
St Johns
Rhode Island 11:30 AM
La Salle
Western Carolina 12:00 PM
Citadel
Nebraska Omaha 12:00 PM
IUPUI
Maine 12:00 PM
New Hampshire
Samford 12:00 PM
Va Military
Presbyterian 12:00 PM
Winthrop
Utah State 1:00 PM
Air Force
Vermont 1:00 PM
Albany
UMBC 1:00 PM
Binghamton
Indiana State 1:00 PM
Bradley
Butler 1:00 PM
DePaul
Illinois State 1:00 PM
Evansville
Wright State 1:00 PM
Ill-Chicago
Fla Gulf Coast 1:00 PM
Jacksonville
Ole Miss 1:00 PM
LSU
North Carolina 1:00 PM
Miami-Florida
Wagner 1:00 PM
Mount St Marys
TCU 1:00 PM
Oklahoma
Delaware 1:00 PM
Towson
Cincinnati 1:00 PM
Tulane
Dayton 1:00 PM
VA Commonwealth
Northern Iowa 1:00 PM
Wichita State
Drexel 1:00 PM
William & Mary
Oakland 1:00 PM
Green Bay
Villanova 1:00 PM
Xavier
Campbell 1:00 PM
Longwood
Sarah Lawrence 1:30 PM
NJIT
Middle Tennessee 2:00 PM
UAB
UNC-Asheville 2:00 PM
Liberty
Southern Utah 2:00 PM
North Dakota
Utah Valley U 2:05 PM
Chicago State
ULM 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Bowling Green 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Long Island 2:30 PM
Sacred Heart
West Virginia 3:00 PM
Baylor
Holy Cross 3:00 PM
Boston Univ
MD-Eastern Shore 3:00 PM
Delaware State
Wofford 3:00 PM
Furman
Montana State 3:00 PM
Idaho
Hofstra 3:00 PM
James Madison
Iowa State 3:00 PM
Kansas State
Arkansas 3:00 PM
Kentucky
Missouri State 3:00 PM
Loyola-Chicago
Fordham 3:00 PM
Massachusetts
Nicholls 3:00 PM
McNeese State
East Tenn St 3:00 PM
Mercer
Coppin State 3:00 PM
Morgan State
San Diego 3:00 PM
Portland
Gardner-Webb 3:00 PM
Radford
St Francis-PA 3:00 PM
Robert Morris
Duquesne 3:00 PM
St Bonaventure
Creighton 3:00 PM
Seton Hall
Oklahoma State 3:00 PM
Texas Tech
Alabama 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Virginia Tech 3:00 PM
Virginia
Bethune-Cookman 3:00 PM
NC Central
St Francis-NY 3:00 PM
Bryant
Drake 3:05 PM
Southern Ill
High Point 3:30 PM
Char Southern
Central Conn St 3:30 PM
Fair-Dickinson
Eastern Mich 3:30 PM
Western Mich
Texas 4:00 PM
Kansas
Chattanooga 4:00 PM
UNC Greensboro
SE Louisiana 4:00 PM
Central Arkansas
South Dakota St 4:00 PM
South Dakota
Montana 4:05 PM
Eastern Wash
Georgia State 4:15 PM
Troy
Old Dominion 4:30 PM
North Texas
Arkansas State 4:30 PM
Texas State
Texas Southern 5:00 PM
Alabama State
Tennessee St 5:00 PM
Belmont
Princeton 5:00 PM
Brown
Dartmouth 5:00 PM
Cornell
Tennessee 5:00 PM
Florida
Jacksonville St 5:00 PM
Morehead State
San Jose St 5:00 PM
Nevada
Florida A&M 5:00 PM
NC A&T
Iowa 5:00 PM
Penn State
Loyola Marymount 5:00 PM
Pepperdine
Miss State 5:00 PM
South Carolina
Savannah State 5:00 PM
SC State
Miss Valley St 5:30 PM
Jackson State
Alcorn State 5:30 PM
Southern U
Prairie View 6:00 PM
Alabama A&M
Harvard 6:00 PM
Columbia
George Washington 6:00 PM
Davidson
Syracuse 6:00 PM
Duke
Tenn Tech 6:00 PM
Eastern Ky
UNC-Wilmington 6:00 PM
Elon
Stony Brook 6:00 PM
Hartford
Hampton 6:00 PM
Howard
Northwestern 6:00 PM
Illinois
Western Ill 6:00 PM
IUPU-Ft Wayne
Buffalo 6:00 PM
Kent State
Incarnate Word 6:00 PM
Lamar
Cal State Fullerton 6:00 PM
Long Beach State
TX-San Antonio 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Fla Atlantic 6:00 PM
Marshall
Richmond 6:00 PM
Saint Josephs
George Mason 6:00 PM
Saint Louis
Austin Peay 6:00 PM
SE Missouri St
Murray State 6:00 PM
UT Martin
Ball State 6:00 PM
Toledo
Penn 6:00 PM
Yale
Milwaukee 6:00 PM
Youngstown St
Stetson 6:00 PM
North Florida
USC Upstate 6:00 PM
Northern Ky
Grand Canyon 6:05 PM
UMKC
Abilene Christian 6:15 PM
New Orleans
Northeastern 7:00 PM
Coll of Charleston
Tulsa 7:00 PM
Memphis
Wyoming 7:00 PM
UNLV
Central Mich 7:00 PM
Northern Ill
Denver 7:00 PM
Oral Roberts
Charlotte 7:00 PM
Rice
Boise State 7:00 PM
San Diego St
St Marys-CA 7:00 PM
Santa Clara
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
Southern Miss
Sam Houston St 7:00 PM
TX A&M-CC
New Mexico St 7:00 PM
TX-Pan American
FIU 7:00 PM
Western Ky
Stephen F Austin 7:00 PM
Houston Baptist
Ga Southern 7:15 PM
Louisiana
Ark-Little Rock 7:15 PM
Texas-Arlington
Grambling St 7:30 PM
Ark-Pine Bluff
Auburn 7:30 PM
Texas A&M
Arizona 8:00 PM
Utah
Northern Ariz 8:00 PM
Northern Colorado
UC Davis 9:00 PM
Cal Poly
New Mexico 9:00 PM
Fresno State
BYU 9:00 PM
Gonzaga
Pacific 9:00 PM
San Francisco
Idaho State 9:00 PM
Weber State
Sacramento St 9:05 PM
Portland State
UC Riverside 9:30 PM
CS-Northridge
Washington 9:30 PM
USC
CS-Bakersfield 9:30 PM
Seattle
UC Irvine 10:59 PM
UC Santa Barbara
Michigan 11:00 AM
Illinois
Lipscomb 11:00 AM
Kennesaw St
North Florida 12:00 PM
Stetson
Samford 12:00 PM
Mercer
Liberty 12:00 PM
Campbell
North Texas 12:00 PM
Old Dominion
St Francis-NY 12:00 PM
Bryant
St Francis-PA 12:00 PM
Robert Morris
Long Island 12:00 PM
Sacred Heart
Sam Houston St 12:00 PM
TX A&M-CC
Kent State 12:00 PM
Miami-Ohio
ULM 12:00 PM
Appalachian St
Boston U 12:05 PM
Holy Cross
Nicholls 12:15 PM
McNeese State
Akron 1:00 PM
Buffalo
Ball State 1:00 PM
Western Mich
MD-Eastern Shore 1:00 PM
Delaware State
Northern Ill 1:00 PM
Eastern Michigan
Bowling Green 1:00 PM
Ohio U
Central Michigan 1:00 PM
Toledo
Coppin State 1:00 PM
Morgan State
Bethune-Cookman 1:00 PM
NC Central
Central Conn St 1:00 PM
Fairleigh Dickinson
Memphis 1:00 PM
(1) Connecticut
Georgia Tech 1:00 PM
Wake Forest
East Carolina 1:00 PM
Temple
Marist 1:00 PM
Rider
Michigan State 1:00 PM
Purdue
Fairfield 1:00 PM
Manhattan
Niagara 1:00 PM
Iona
East Tenn St 1:00 PM
(18) Chattanooga
Furman 1:00 PM
Wofford
Longwood 1:00 PM
Charleston Southern
UNC-Asheville 1:00 PM
Coastal Carolina
Northern Ky 1:00 PM
USC Upstate
Winthrop 1:00 PM
Presbyterian
Western Ill 1:30 PM
South Dakota
Detroit 1:35 PM
Valparaiso
Cleveland State 2:00 PM
Milwaukee
Lafayette 2:00 PM
Army
Arkansas State 2:00 PM
Texas State
Georgia State 2:00 PM
Troy
Portland State 2:00 PM
Sacramento St
IUPUI 2:00 PM
South Dakota St
Tennessee St 2:00 PM
Belmont
Eastern Illinois 2:00 PM
SIU-Edwardsville
Jacksonville St 2:00 PM
Morehead St
Kansas State 2:00 PM
TCU
Cincinnati 2:00 PM
SMU
SE Louisiana 2:00 PM
Central Arkansas
Denver 2:00 PM
Nebraska Omaha
Tulane 2:00 PM
Tulsa
IUPU-Ft Wayne 2:00 PM
Oral Roberts
Air Force 3:00 PM
Utah State
San Diego State 3:00 PM
Boise State
Fresno State 3:00 PM
New Mexico
Florida A&M 3:00 PM
NC A&T
Gonzaga 3:00 PM
BYU
South Florida 3:00 PM
UCF
UCLA 3:00 PM
Washington
(3) Baylor 3:00 PM
Iowa State
Miss Valley St 3:00 PM
Jackson State
Tenn Tech 3:00 PM
Eastern Kentucky
UMKC 3:00 PM
Grand Canyon
Seattle 3:00 PM
CS-Bakersfield
Texas Southern 3:00 PM
Alabama State
Santa Clara 3:00 PM
St Marys-CA
UNLV 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Savannah State 3:00 PM
SC State
Alcorn State 3:00 PM
Southern U
Bucknell 3:00 PM
American Univ
Oakland 3:00 PM
Illinois-Chicago
Eastern Washington 3:00 PM
Montana
Idaho 3:00 PM
Montana State
Weber State 3:00 PM
Idaho State
Radford 3:00 PM
High Point
Green Bay 3:30 PM
Youngstown St
Austin Peay 3:30 PM
SE Missouri St
Wagner 3:30 PM
Mount St Marys
Portland 4:00 PM
San Diego
Nevada 4:00 PM
San Jose St
Stephen F Austin 4:00 PM
Houston Baptist
Incarnate Word 4:00 PM
Lamar
Abilene Christian 4:00 PM
New Orleans
Pepperdine 4:00 PM
Loyola Marymount
San Francisco 4:00 PM
Pacific
Prairie View 4:00 PM
Alabama A&M
Hampton 4:00 PM
Howard
Chicago State 4:00 PM
Utah Valley U
Murray State 4:00 PM
UT Martin
Cal Poly 4:00 PM
Cal-Irvine
UC Santa Barbara 4:00 PM
UC Davis
Marshall 4:00 PM
Florida Atlantic
UAB 5:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
Western Ky 5:00 PM
FIU
Georgia Southern 5:00 PM
Louisiana
Grambling 5:00 PM
Ark-Pine Bluff
Ark-Little Rock 5:00 PM
TX-Arlington
Cornell 5:00 PM
Dartmouth
Columbia 5:00 PM
Harvard
Brown 5:00 PM
(14) Princeton
USC 5:00 PM
Washington St
(24) California 5:00 PM
(7) Oregon State
Yale 6:00 PM
Penn
Loyola-Maryland 6:00 PM
Navy
Jacksonville 6:00 PM
(21) Fla Gulf Coast
Long Beach St 6:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Rice 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Colgate 6:30 PM
Lehigh
CS-Northridge 7:00 PM
UC-Riverside
Kansas 7:00 PM
Oklahoma
Oklahoma St 7:00 PM
Texas Tech
TX-Pan American 8:00 PM
New Mexico St
North Dakota 8:00 PM
Southern Utah
Northern Colorado 9:00 PM
Northern Ariz
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is the best center on a Twin Cities sports team?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close