Timing is everything, and while the Gophers couldn't have picked a better time to launch onto the national stage as a football power, Mother Nature picked a miserable time to mess all of the football hubbub up.
Saturday's game between the Gophers and Badgers at TCF Bank Stadium begins at 2:30 p.m., and while a winter storm will likely bring impacts to the game itself, the weather will also be a player during the morning broadcast of ESPN's "College GameDay" in Dinkytown.
For the game itself, the National Weather Service says "rain and possibly some snow and sleet mixed in" are likely.
"College GameDay" will be televised live from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., and the storm will certainly be delivering a blow of some sort at that point. That means that fans watching the show in person will have to deal with the elements, be it snow, mixed precipitation, freezing rain or just a nasty cold rain. Either way, it's going to be cold and wet. At this point, the weather service is predicting sleet and a wintry mix changing over to rain.
Admission to the broadcast is free, but fans hoping to get a spot close to the stage are known to line up hours before access is granted, which is usually around 5 a.m. That means standing in line – in the elements – for another hour or two just so your "Better Dead Than Red" or "Wisconsin likes Nickleback" sign can bee seen on TV.
But wait, there's more.
The storm is supposed to last through midday Sunday, so even after "College GameDay" ends at 11 a.m., many fans are probably planning to hoof it 15+ minutes to TCF Bank Stadium or surrounding establishments or tailgate lots before the game kicks off at 2:30 p.m. That means even more time outside.
All in all, a day of watching the ESPN production followed by tailgating and the border battle between the Gophers and Badgers could warrant any one person being outside in a winter storm for 15+ hours. Good luck.
As George Lucas said: "Good luck has its storms." That's certainly going to be true Saturday.