Huntington Bank Stadium
|Trip Dates||9/16/2022 – 9/18/2022|
|School||University of Minnesota|
|Visiting Team||Colorado Buffaloes
Pre-game Record: 0-2
|Home Team||Minnesota Golden Gophers
Pre-game Record: 2-0
|Game Time (ET)||3:30 PM Eastern (2:30 local)|
|Weather||76 & Sunny|
|Attendees||Jarrett & Al|
|Jarrett’s Pick||Minnesota Golden Gophers
(39 and 18 record)
|Al’s Pick||Minnesota Golden Gophers
(33 and 24 record)
|Length of Game||3:19|
|Seat Location||50 Yard Line, 1st Row of the Upper Deck|
|Photo Album||Click here for the Minnesota Photo Album|
The second trip of the 2022 College Football Quest season reverts back to the normal travel schedule of a 3am wake up call to make the 6am flight to Minneapolis. My normal booking options for parking at LGA were completely full, so I had to try a new option. I guess my secret parking spot at LGA is not so secret anymore. That and travel has returned to pre pandemic levels and is just really crowded right now. Anyway, the new option worked quite well and I arrived at LGA with enough time for breakfast. However, nothing was open. Not even Starbucks, not that I would drink that, but I tell you to provide context. How do you have a terminal that is quite busy, as there are many 6am to 7am flights, yet not have any food open? The small market was open, so I had to opt for a snack bag. Not a great start to the day. Al was bitter as well, but he thought this was a quick flight so was not too worried.
It was a nice relatively short flight to Minneapolis, although Al did wonder aloud why the flight was so long, forgetting about the states of Michigan and Wisconsin that happen to be between New York and Minnesota. Can’t blame the Massachusetts school system for that one (let’s see if Beth really reads these or outsources the proofreading)? Beth notes that she did not know that she had the option to outsource so she will keep that in mind.
We arrive and hop in an Uber (sponsorship opportunity as we can use either Uber, Lyft, or some new startup) to the hotel. No car needed on this trip as the University of Minnesota is fairly self contained and I booked us a hotel right on campus. More on that later.
The hotel, Graduate Minneapolis, was sold out the night before, so our rooms were not ready (since it was like 9:30 am). We stored our luggage and headed out exploring.
Our first stop was breakfast at a place called Al’s Breakfast. This place came up in pre-trip research as well as being recommended by the Minnesota staff. So the first thing we notice upon arrival is a sign outside that says cash and checks only. Now, I get the cash thing. Some businesses are going cashless, but some are not wanting to pay the credit card fees or simply want to hide money from pesky investigators from the government or nosey spouses. But the check thing…who takes checks. Who writes checks? Who still has checks? Does anyone under 30 know what a check is?
Seriously, I joked a lot in this section, but this place is really good. The food was excellent and the wait staff was very friendly and very funny. Of the 14 seats when we were there at 10am on a Friday, it was almost entirely filled with people that used the prepaid books, although for the life of me I can not figure out that system, and after looking at our checks (in the pics), you will see why. You should definitely google this place, and if you are at the University of Minnesota, I would go. It was the food highlight of our trip. https://www.alsbreakfastmpls.com/
Self Guided Tour
After a full meal at Al’s, we set out to walk around the University of Minnesota and the surrounding town. We are never ones to pass up trying to get into locked facilities, so of course we got into the hockey arena where we stumbled into the hockey team doing a photoshoot. We even wandered a bit into the forbidden locker room and saw the display of Golden Gophers in the NHL before being politely asked to leave because we were in a non-public area.
Then it was onto the bookstore for the usual shopping. Except for what was maybe the second time on the quest, the bookstore did not sell shot glasses. Rest easy, I would pick one up later.
During our tour, we also passed by Marie’s sculpture. For those of you familiar with Everybody Loves Raymond, you may recall the episode where Marie sculpts something that everybody else thinks resembles a part of the female anatomy, but Marie does not see it. Well, the UM campus has one of those or at least that’s what I thought of when I saw it (not female anatomy, but something that should not necessarily be on public display). Hey @philrosenthal you’ve made it to a Quest write-up…i guess now you can say “you’ve made it!!
Huntington Bank Stadium Tour
At the appropriate time, we headed over to Huntington Bank Stadium, where Al had arranged for us to be a part of the Friday night stadium tour that is put on by the Golden Gopher Fund. The tour started in the Hall of Fame. As an FYI, the head coach of my all time favorite sports team, coached at Minnesota and he is a shining example of being able to get a team to peak at the right moment and getting the most out of a team with incredible discipline and a perfectly executed plan to do so. Name that coach? Answer later.
From the locker room, we proceeded to take the march along the path that the team would take to the field. We were given access to the field and there are some great pics from the field as well as from the entire tour in the photo album.
We thank Mike for arranging the tour for us and Michael for providing an excellent experience.
Dinner was at a place called Stub & Herb’s, another place that came up in pre-trip research that was very close to the stadium. This one did not work out so well as in my view it did not come close to living up to our somewhat low expectations. It was a burger joint that I would say was average at best. Al was not very daring and would not go for the spicy peanut butter burger. It was fairly typical burgers and fries all around and they were fairly typical.
After dinner it was back to the hotel for some rest for game day tomorrow.
Saturday breakfast/lunch was at another spot recommended by the UM staff as well as had been identified in pre-trip research (we do good exhaustive research and have an entire team of interns dedicated to just this), Tony’s Diner. As an aside, Beth would like to use our interns. It is generally good when our research matches up with the recommendations from the people we meet. Tony’s was a good solid choice. Nothing fantastic but a good solid meal. Just the kind of place you want to hit up before a football game.
Walk to HBS
After Tony’s, we headed out towards Huntington Bank Stadium. We took a route past all the fraternity houses. It was a festive atmosphere. Some of the houses appeared as if they were on severe probation or have been shut down altogether. But the ones that hadn’t, had nice parties going on. There are two main streets that head from the downtown area to the stadium and one of them goes past the frat houses. This is a nice setup and quite festive. Each one had its own party going. I am not sure how the loud speakers don’t conflict with each other, but that is not my battle.
We arrived at Huntington Bank Stadium (“HBS”) and checked out the small fan fest area. It was small but there were a few things to do, including a giant connect four game. The bottom gave out before I could beat Al. Oh well.
We did a quick lap around the tailgate area and stadium before heading inside.
HBS is a nice venue with excellent sight lines to downtown Minneapolis. We did a lap around the concourse checking out the variety of food options and the end zone beer garden that served the ever popular bucket of cheese curds.
At the designated time, we met our host Michael, for a trip down to the field. Thanks Michael.
At some point we head to our seats, located on the 50 yard line in the first row of the upper deck, which were purchased on stub hub the day before. An excellent choice in our purchase. We paid up for these, but it was worth it, after deciding the club level seats were not worth paying even more for.
We had an excellent view of both the field and downtown Minneapolis. It was a beautiful setting and I would recommend it, especially in September as opposed to November.
Minnesota won 49-7. The game was 35-0 at the half and 49-0 before Colorado finally scored. With 1:16 left in the first half, it was 28-0, Minnesota had 28 points and Colorado had 25 total yards. To say that Minnesota dominated this game would be an understatement. I would say that we are getting worse at picking the games we attend. We used to see close games between top teams on a regular basis. It seems like that does not happen with regularity anymore. I am going to put in a complaint to Quest HQ and see if we can get that fixed.
What I would like to point out about this game is the couple behind us that appeared to be on a first date (it wasn’t, I think they had been together like 6 months but it felt like a first date to us). First, I do not think you could be more annoying. What kept coming into my mind was Jim Carey from Dumb and Dumber, “Hey, wanna hear the most annoying sound in the world?” No, but I felt like this guy’s voice was and we kept hearing it over and over. Let me set the scene…guy trying to teach football, when guy knows just enough football to be an idiot. It was like teaching math to your 3rd grader when you know math on a 4th grade level. You don’t need to be an expert, you just need to be one step ahead of your kid. And she was eating it up. I don’t even want to begin to go over the conversation they had about his advice on child rearing. My advice to this woman is to run and run fast, and if you don’t, please don’t have kids.
Post game dinner was at The Beacon, which happened to be the restaurant in our hotel. We had searched for a steakhouse and could not find one within a reasonable distance to the hotel, so we settled for a restaurant that served steak, which led us here.
After waiting an hour for a table (the benefit of waiting for a restaurant in our hotel was that we could wait in the room), we sat down and looked over the menu. No steak. We inquired about this and were told that they do not serve steak on game days. This makes no sense to me. I am not an expert in restaurant operations so this could be completely rational, but my instinct is, why take off the menu your highest ticket option. Yes, the margin may not be the highest, but it is clearly your highest ticket item, so while the margin may not be the highest the net profit is still high. Operationally, it could be more complex, but you only have one cut of beef and serve only one type of steak. It is one additional item. Maybe it is returned to the kitchen at a higher rate because it is not cooked right, but still. Also the game day thing does not make sense to me. This is a hotel restaurant. Yes, the hotel will sell out on game days which will pack the hotel more than usual. But the hotel was also sold out on the night we arrived. The hotel will sell out on other nights as well. This will lead to higher traffic in the restaurant on other than game nights as well. It is also a small restaurant. It should be able to handle the volume of a full venue regularly. I am clearly missing something here.
Then we asked for them to turn on the Florida football game on the SEC network. The bar which had 8 tv’s could not do this as they do not get the SEC network, despite having what looked like DirecTv. Odd. Fortunately, I brought my iPad expecting this.
So no steak and no football, except on the iPad. And then someone brought in a pizza from outside and sat down at a bar high top. They got thrown out with it, but still. Not a real restaurant! Then no desserts, so Al could not have his ice cream.
Needless to say, we are not highly favorable of The Beacon.
Off to bed, or should I say late night college football.
Sunday morning arrived and Al was able to get his fill of Starbucks thanks to the hotel Starbucks location. I ventured across the street to the Caribou Coffee location. After tasting it yesterday at the football game, I knew this would be a good choice. I opted for the pumpkin spice cold brew which was excellent. This is good coffee.
The Graduate Minneapolis was an ideal hotel. It was in a perfect location convenient to everything. I have found the Graduate brand to be an interesting one. They seem to be located in college towns and located either directly on campus or immediately off campus. This is only my second stay at a Graduate hotel but they are very nice if somewhat oddly decorated. I am fond of this brand despite being on the expensive side, but the location could oftentimes be worth it.
We headed for the airport. After being unable to get ourselves onto an earlier flight, we parked ourselves at the Twins Grill for some NFL football before heading home.
Herb Brooks – Head Coach of the 1980 US Olympic Hockey Team
The Colorado Buffaloes finished the regular season 1-11, 1-8 in the Pac-12. The only win for the Buffaloes was over Cal in overtime. But one can argue that Colorado was a big winner by hiring Deion Sanders as their new head coach leading to significant headlines and a surge of ticket sales.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers finished the season with an 8-4 record, 5-4 in the BigTen West. This put them in a three way tie for second place. Minnesota earned a trip to sunny, warm New York for its bowl game as they played Syracuse in the Pinstripe Bowl, winning 28-20.
For our Minnesota photo album, Please click here. You can view as a collage or run as a slideshow. There are comments to explain what is in the photo but most are self explanatory. Thanks to Google, I can no longer embed the slide show with comments.