College GameDay

The "College GameDay" set started to take shape Thursday ahead of Saturday's broadcast.

ESPN's "College GameDay" is back in Lincoln for the first time in 12 years, and it's going to be an electric atmosphere on campus.

The show will air from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. with Memorial Stadium as the backdrop. The World-Herald will have a team of reporters and photographers there to take you behind the scenes of the popular pregame show.

We'll provide running updates on this page throughout the broadcast, or you can follow The World-Herald's Chris Heady and Evan Bland on Twitter for more updates.

* * *

Wow, what a crowd

The show kicked off right at 8 a.m. with a live shot of — what appears to be — most of campus on the East side of Memorial Stadium. 

Students began showing up around midnight last night to wait in line to get in the pit behind the stage.

"Just outside one of the great cathedrals of college football," Rece Davis began the show. "What a scene here." 

Desmond Howard called it an outstanding scene. 

"Their quarterback, Adrian Martinez, he was put on the Heisman watch list for 2019. If he's gonna be a Heisman contender, it starts tonight against the Buckeyes." 

This scene, Kirk Herbstreit said, is what Scott Frost envisioned when he was hired.  

'This is the scene he wanted." GameDay coming here, this crowd, and an opportunity to play a team like Ohio State on a national stage. They're going to figure this out. It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when." 

If Nebraska beats Ohio State, Lee Corso said, it'll be the highest rated team Nebraska's beaten in 18 years. 

"Go big red," Corso said. "Go big red."  

Boos

The crowd is loud and clear behind the GameDay set. 

Boos came after Iowa, Kansas State, Baylor, Oklahoma and Wisconsin were shown on the screen. 

An "Iowa sucks" chant broke out after a preview of Iowa-Northwestern. 

Who is around? 

Fred Hoiberg is on the scene wearing a chain with a Blackshirt logo. Current offensive lineman Christian Gaylord was on the pre-College GameDay show. Celebrity guest picker Gabrielle Union will wear Gaylord's father's jersey. His father passed away last Friday in a car accident. 

Scott Frost is in a grey suit on the scene, too, likely to be interviewed soon. 

The airport: 

GameDay showed a quick shot of the Lincoln airport, where Nebraska fans were welcoming the Ohio State football team to town. 

"I think that's the first time I've seen that," Davis said. 

Fred Hoiberg: 

Hoiberg was amid fans with a selfie stick during a live shot. 

"He was the Mayor in Ames, can he be an associate Mayor here?" Davis asked.  

"I'm glad he's wearing that chain now," Maria Taylor said. "He was hanging out with Scott Frost last night at Opening Night." 

Scott Frost on set

Frost and Maria Taylor talked on set for about four minutes. They first talked about the no fear of failure mantra Frost has tried to instill in the program. 

Taylor asked Frost where the program is in its rebuilding process: 

"We are where we are. Where’s somewhere on the path of where we were and where we're gonna be. It's not gonna be very long until where people are gonna be worried about us. We get a chance to prove it today."

Frost said he loved the fan support behind him. 

"We better get a few false start penalties on third down." 

Blackshirts 

Tom Rinaldi did a short piece on the Blackshirt tradition. 

“They say you are what you wear,” Rinaldi said. “You wear this one? You better play well.”

Rinaldi gave a brief history of the tradition, which dates back to 1964 and Bob Devaney. 

“They jersey became a symbol of a defense that dominated,” Rinaldi said. 

From 1964 to 2001, Nebraska was in the top 10 in scoring or total defense 21 times. 

“That’s the legacy and the challenge. Will this defense be worthy of the wardrobe?"  

What team was best? 

Which Nebraska team was really better: 1971 Huskers or the 1995 Huskers?

ESPN recently named the 1971 team as the best team of all time.  

Davis voted 71. Kirk was thinking 1995 was better. The crowd agreed. 

Desmond Howard picked the 2001 Miami team. 

Jack Hoffman 

One of the heroes of Nebraska football was on set for GameDay. 

Jack and his dad, Andy, were interviewed by Maria Taylor. 

"I remember I was just so nervous," Jack said. "My dad was practicing me, I didn't know what the end zone line was so I just ran all the way back." 

Jack, a cancer survivor, is now playing football for real in 8th grade. He's a center. We at the World-Herald wrote about this last week. 

Signs: 

It is College GameDay, so of course there are some signs. Here are a few that were shown: 

"Ohio State you will be terminated," with Adrian Martinez dressed as the Terminator.  

"It's been 12 years," with a an elderly Rose Dawson from Titanic. GameDay hasn't been in Lincoln since 2007.

"Ohio is so bad LeBron left twice."

"Justin Fields doesn't like Runza." 

"Trust the Frostcess"

"Not even Moses could part this red sea."

"'The' University of Nebraska." 

The Pounds family 

Jon and Kathy Pounds were featured on GameDay. They've been to 398 straight Husker football games. That included a game the family scheduled around a kidney transplant. 

“We told the doctors that we need to schedule the kidney transplant around Husker football," Kathy said. 

The breakdown

David Pollack broke down film of Adrian Martinez making good reads in Columbus last season, particularly on the zone read. He said it isn't debatable if Ohio State has better players. But Nebraska needs to manipulate plays to Nebraska's advantage. 

Pollock picked Ohio State to win. 

Herbstreit said he thought Martinez and the crowd are two keys to the game. He then broke down Ohio State's defensive deficiencies last year. They couldn't contain the edge and Martinez ran free in the 36-31 win last season. This year, Herbstreit said, Ohio State is playing more zone and tackling better in space.  

Gabrielle Union is here

And she's wearing Gaylord's father's jersey. And with Dwyane Wade, her husband. 

Union picked Akron to win because, "that's the only win LeBron's gonna get today." 

Here's how the Nebraska-Ohio State picks went:  

Howard: Ohio State 

Union/Wade: Nebraska

Corso: Ohio State

Get a daily Husker news roundup, recruiting updates and breaking news in your inbox.

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Chris Heady covers Husker football and is the Nebraska men's basketball beat writer. He started at The World-Herald in 2017. Follow him on Twitter @heady_chris. Email: chris.heady@owh.com.

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.

Recommended for you

Load comments

You must be a full digital subscriber to read this article You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.