As having attended many University of Minnesota Gopher football games while I was a student at the University, I only had the experience of going to games at the Metrodome.

Today, that all changed.  Iowa's visit to TCF Bank Stadium coincided with my first visit to the stadium.

As much as I am a proponent of "putting a roof" on it, I am pleasantly surprised and impressed with the new digs on campus.

For years, I heard fellow classmates complain about the tailgating experience at the Metrodome, the access to the facility and just the overall game day experience.  Now days, obviously that is not the case.

As we approached the stadium just in regards to parking, you could tell things were different around campus.  More students in gear, most noise than i had heard ever and even more so, you could feel the anticipation from both fan bases as they made their way to TCF Bank Stadium.

Furthermore, once you walk into the stadium itself, the atmosphere is completely different than years past when it comes to crowd experience.  Chants were coming from the masses, enthusiasm was at all time high and the main difference for me when I was scanning the crowd, was the actual number of Gopher fans in attendance.  At the Metrodome, it was common to see a 50/50 split, while against Iowa, it was a 85/15 split among fan bases.

Now as far as facilities are concerned, it would be a no brainer to imagine TCF to have better concessions, shops and access, and that would be the right assumption to take.  We toured the Lower Level, the Club Level, Suite Level and obviously the Press Level and all were extraordinary.

Will the Stadium have to expand over the years in order to keep up with the Jones's?  Of course, but they have left room for that and even more so are off to a great start in moving this program and fan base into the right direction.

And for a guy who always has been critical of the direction of the football program, it takes a lot to impress me, but TCF Bank Stadium did just that.

** YOU CAN EMAIL JEFF THURN AT JT@ESPN991.COM & FOLLOW HIM ON TWITTER @JTESPN991