Now all that is left is the game.
This morning began with conference calls for head coach Jerry Kill, offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover and defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys. All three spent time on the phone with ESPN's television team of Mark Jones, Brock Huard and Jessica Mendoza. Limegrover was also a guest on 1500 ESPN this morning with Judd Zulgad, while Tracy Claeys joined Tom Pelissero this evening.
Coach Kill addressed the media today at the official Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas press conference.
Both Minnesota and Texas Tech participated in a team luncheon at the Westin Galleria this afternoon. Coach Kill and players MarQueis Gray, Mike Rallis and Keanon Cooper then took part in a press conference for the media who have descended upon Houston.
Once all the questions were asked and answered, the Gophers then traveled to Reliant Stadium for the first time. The facility towers over its predecessor the Astrodome, which was affectionately dubbed as the Eighth Wonder of the World when it was built. The 71,000-seat Reliant Center is a massive structure, which will provide a magnificent backdrop for the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas.
The Houston Texans play their home games at Reliant Center and play on natural grass that is transported in and out of the stadium. However, the bowl game will be staged on synthetic field turf, which was installed yesterday. Minnesota conducted its walk through on the new turf which was entirely green. The facilities staff will spend hours painting yardage markers and end zone graphics onto the field tonight so it is ready for the game.
After the walk through, the Gophers headed over to DePelchin Children's Center, which is the official charity of the bowl. Since 2006, the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas has donated nearly $500,000 to DePelchin and has generated more than $10.2 million in promotional support and publicity.
DePelchin is committed to meeting the needs of children as one of the largest providers of mental health, foster care and adoption services in Texas. Through its clinical expertise and special brand of caring, DePelchin turns lives around, providing a full continuum of care including psychiatric services, counseling, residential treatment, programs for at-risk youths, parent education, foster care and adoption. DePelchin is a not-for-profit organization and gratefully receives its support from individuals, foundations and corporations; government grants and fees; and United Way agencies.
The Gophers then returned to their team hotel where the official 'Sota Social party was being held. Coach Kill spent some time at the festivities doing a KFAN interview and speaking with fans before being whisked off to the bowl's Chariman Dinner this evening.
The team will meet for dinner tonight before departing to their rooms for the evening.