LINCOLN — Football season has arrived and with it new things for Husker fans to consider: Clear bags. Sweeter scoreboard images. Eight new honorees. Twitter captioning.
Nebraska’s season launches Saturday at Memorial Stadium with a 7 p.m. game against Arkansas State.
Changes in policies and appearance at the stadium aren’t profound this season, but there are some of which fans should be aware.
The changes, some obvious and some less so, include:
Clear bag policy
This policy, for all ticketed sports events at the university, will allow people to bring in only a clear bag — 12-by-6-by-12 inches or a 1-gallon Ziploc-style bag — and a small clutch purse, 4.5-by-6.5 inches, roughly the size of a hand.
The policy, for safety reasons, prohibits carrying in coolers, backpacks, briefcases, fanny packs, computer bags, camera bags, binocular cases, diaper bags, umbrellas and other items. With inspection, blankets carried on the shoulder will be allowed. Also allowed with inspection: hand-held TVs and radios, small cameras and binoculars (without cases), infant feeding supplies, empty plastic water bottles and seat cushions that are no bigger than 16-by-16 inches and don’t have zippers or arms.
Those carrying nothing will use express lanes at multiple gates.
Improved scoreboard electronics and quality
The electronics in the video boards and ribbon boards have been replaced and improved. New, longer ribbon boards will rotate and scroll information on the east and west sides. A third ribbon board has been placed on the stadium’s upper east facade.
More statistics, more game information and more player graphics also are promised by the NU athletic department. The cost of all video and ribbon board improvements was about $6 million, paid by the athletic department.
Better scoreboard views for north stadium fans
New scoreboards on the northwest and northeast corners that face the North Stadium will enable those fans to avoid looking backward or across the stadium for replays and other information. The “wraparound boards” can have a split screen or a single screen, depending on the situation. Regardless, the Husker athletic department says these new video boards will make life better for those in the North Stadium.
New captioning system
A captioning system for the hearing impaired will be distributed to all fans on Twitter at @HuskerCaption. Those who don’t have devices that access Twitter may check out iPads at guest services on the east and west sides. Memorial Stadium guest services will still have assistive listening devices available for checkout by fans who don’t want to participate in this pilot project.
Tributes and other signage
The athletic department will posthumously honor eight Husker members of the College Hall of Fame by erecting their names with others below the video board in the North Stadium. The eight: Guy Chamberlin (1913-15), Clarence Swanson (1918-21), Ed Weir (1923-25), George Sauer (1931-33), Sam Francis (1934-36), Forrest Behm (1938-40), Bobby Reynolds (1950-52) and Wayne Meylan (1965-67).
A new National Championships sign has been placed on the east side and will be lit at night. The Academic All-Americans and Consecutive Sellouts signs have been moved higher on the east side to make room for the new ribbon board.
Fanatics, or Husker shops, are now open in three spots.
The east shop is in Memorial Stadium at Gate 18 and is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on game days.
There is a shop at the new College of Business building, open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
There is a Pinnacle Bank Arena shop open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
All stores are owned and operated by Fanatics.
The North Concourse football offices underwent expansion recently. More space will be available to recruiting staffers, graduate assistants, consultants, the director and assistant director of football operations and others. A new brick facade, video screens and displays will be evident to fans. The expansion was built with $1.1 million in athletic department money.
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PREDICTION: Nebraska 34, Arkansas State 17
RESULT: Nebraska 43, Arkansas State 36
PREDICTION: Oregon 35, Nebraska 30
RESULT: Oregon 42, Nebraska 35
PREDICTION: Nebraska 38, Northern Illinois 13
RESULT: Northern Illinois 21, Nebraska 17
PREDICTION: Nebraska 45, Rutgers 17
RESULT: Nebraska 27, Rutgers 17
PREDICTION: Nebraska 27, Illinois 20
RESULT: Nebraska 28, Illinois 6
PREDICTION: Wisconsin 27, Nebraska 20
RESULT: Wisconsin 38, Nebraska 17
TBA Oct. 14 | Memorial Stadium | TBA
WHY NU WILL BE EATING A VICTORY FEAST: Husker fans, among the nation’s best, can cast a spell in big-game situations. See the 2015 Michigan State game, a contest 3-6 NU probably had no business winning, but did. In 2011, NU rallied from 27-6 down to beat OSU 34-27.
WHY NU WILL BE EATING A FROZEN DINNER: Ohio State has better players — arguably the nation’s most talented roster — and two former head coaches (Kevin Wilson and Greg Schiano) for its coordinators. Plus, OSU QB J.T. Barrett has won at Michigan and Oklahoma.
FINAL BILL: The talent gap sure looked wide in OSU’s 62-3 smashing of Nebraska, and it hasn’t closed much yet. Though NU can lean on its crowd and isn’t likely to pitch in the towel on offense like it did in 2016, this seems like a bridge too far.
PREDICTION: Ohio State 28, Nebraska 10
TBA Oct. 28 | Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette | TBA
WHY NU WILL BE EATING A VICTORY FEAST: Nebraska should beat Purdue every time the squads play, and it should be doubly true after the Huskers get a bye week of rest after the Wisconsin-Ohio State two-step. NU has more talent across the board, especially on defense.
WHY NU WILL BE EATING A FROZEN DINNER: Does 55-45 from 2015 ring a bell? Purdue has been a pain for Nebraska each of the last three seasons, actually. Purdue quarterback David Blough has thrown for 579 yards and six touchdowns in two games against NU.
FINAL BILL: Sleepy Purdue awakens for Nebraska, which better not have a Wisconsin/Ohio State hangover. The Boilermakers think they can hang with the Huskers and they’ve proven it three seasons in a row. This year won’t be any different.
PREDICTION: Nebraska 24, Purdue 16
TBA Nov. 4 | Memorial Stadium | TBA
WHY NU WILL BE EATING A VICTORY FEAST: Because, when you get right down to brass tacks, the Huskers have more talent than the Wildcats, especially at key skill spots. In the battle of NUs, Nebraska will always be the bigger brother with better size and speed.
WHY NU WILL BE EATING A FROZEN DINNER: Northwestern has Nebraska’s number inside Memorial Stadium, posting wins in 2011 and 2015 and coming within a Hail Mary of winning in ’13. Nebraska should respect Northwestern, but in 2015, the Huskers seemed sleepy.
FINAL BILL: This game is a true toss-up and should be a fun, tense game for fans to enjoy. Ultimately, we side, in a pinch, with the more talented team that’s also playing at home. Northwestern isn’t going to sneak up on these Huskers.
PREDICTION: Nebraska 24, Northwestern 21
TBA Nov. 11 | TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis | TBA
WHY NU WILL BE EATING A VICTORY FEAST: The Gophers were pretty good the last four seasons, but they made a change to P.J. Fleck to juice up the fan base and the culture. Fleck’s first team may experience some rocky moments, especially in the back half of the season.
WHY NU WILL BE EATING A FROZEN DINNER: Watch that Minnesota tempo. The Gophers will go fast on offense and probably play aggressively on defense. Nebraska may have to battle weather elements and will have to caution itself against looking ahead to Penn State.
FINAL BILL: Minnesota could, in theory, start 7-0, but the back part of its schedule is a beast. Nebraska is smack in the middle of it, and the Huskers, provided they’re healthy, should have enough firepower to pull out a win.
PREDICTION: Nebraska 27, Minnesota 17
TBA Nov. 18 | Beaver Stadium, University Park | TBA
WHY NU WILL BE EATING A VICTORY FEAST: Nebraska has won twice at Penn State since joining the Big Ten. Both were nailbiters — 17-14 in 2011 and 23-20 in 2013. The Huskers beat PSU in Lincoln in 2012, too, so maybe NU just has the Nittany Lions’ number.
WHY NU WILL BE EATING A FROZEN DINNER: Penn State has a lot of juice on offense, the defense is decent, and, on Nov. 18, Beaver Stadium is not a pleasant road trip. The weather for Nebraska’s last game at PSU was awful, and this Nittany Lions team is much better.
FINAL BILL: Too much Penn State firepower. Nebraska has won four straight in this series, but the Nittany Lions take this one and keep their Big Ten title hopes alive. The Huskers’ hopes of winning the Big Ten West may officially die in Happy Valley.
PREDICTION: Penn State 35, Nebraska 17
3 p.m. Nov. 24 | Memorial Stadium | FS1
WHY NU WILL BE EATING A VICTORY FEAST: Because NU is ready to get a bitter taste out of its mouth from the last two losses to Iowa. NU self-destructed in the 2015 game and collapsed entirely last year. NU coaches and players understand how important this game is.
WHY NU WILL BE EATING A FROZEN DINNER: Iowa’s play in this game indicates it’s cared more about winning the game in the last four years. Iowa has an identity and sticks to it, and only a couple of De’Mornay Pierson-El punt returns have kept them from winning four straight.
FINAL BILL: Games are usually won and lost with good schemes and even better players. It’s complex, but yet it isn’t. Iowa’s recent dominance of Nebraska is more about the intangible quality of toughness. Is NU tough enough to beat Iowa?
PREDICTION: Nebraska 20, Iowa 17