For the second consecutive Gophers home game, the eyes of the college football world will be on TCF Bank Stadium.
ESPN announced Saturday night that its “College GameDay’’ preview show will visit the University of Minnesota on Saturday for the season opener between the No. 24 Gophers and No. 19 Michigan, which will be a national broadcast on ABC (KSTP-Ch. 5) at 6:30 p.m. At stake for the Gophers and Wolverines will be the Little Brown Jug, a trophy that dates to 1903.
“College GameDay,’’ which will air from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday, visited the university for the first time in last year’s regular-season finale, a 38-17 loss to Wisconsin.
There will be a much different feel for the visit this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Last Nov. 30, fans packed the Northrop Mall to see Rece Davis, Desmond Howard, Kirk Herbstreit, guest picker Eric Decker and Lee Corso break down the Gophers vs. Badgers.
This year, fans won’t be permitted to attend the show, and the set location inside TCF Bank Stadium won’t allow for public viewing. The on-air crew will be seated at an elongated desk to maintain social distancing, and Corso will make his mascot headgear selection from his Florida home.
Fans can participate virtually through the website www.collegegameday.com.
ESPN also is sending about half as many production crew members on the road as it usually does.
This season, “College GameDay’’ has visited Clemson at Wake Forest, Miami (Fla.) at Louisville, Florida State at Miami, Auburn at Georgia, Miami at Clemson and Georgia at Alabama.
The game itself between the Gophers and Wolverines will be staffed by ABC’s top crew of play-by-play announcer Chris Fowler, analyst Herbstreit and sideline reporter Maria Taylor.