ESPN’s College GameDay was in Lincoln for the first time in 12 years this weekend. With the energy of Saturday’s show and the direction of the football program, it won’t take that long for the show to come back again.
Here are the highlights of Saturday’s show in Lincoln:
Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade
The selection of the celebrity guest picker for the week can be a hotly contested question and sometimes the wrong choice is made. That was not the case this week, as actress and Nebraska-native Gabrielle Union was chosen to be the show’s featured guest. She brought along her husband Dwyane Wade and the two made quite the duo.
Union’s selection was the right choice as she connects with the show’s desired viewer base and Wade is widely known throughout the sports community. Oh, and Nebraskans love both of them.
One of the reasons she resonates with the Husker faithful is her genuine, down-to-earth nature which was on full display as she wore the jersey of Christian Gaylord’s father, Scott Gaylord, who passed away in a car accident last week.
Union and Wade were the only people on the desk that picked Nebraska to beat Ohio State this week as commentator Lee Corso donned the Brutus Buckeye headgear.
One of the segments on the show was with 14-year-old cancer survivor Jack Hoffman. Hoffman who was diagnosed with brain cancer when he was 5-years-old and a few years later famously ran in a touchdown at the 2013 Nebraska Spring game.
ESPN’s Maria Taylor caught up with Hoffman on the set and talked to him about his football season. Hoffman is now playing tackle football for his middle school and is the team’s center.
“Back in 2013, football was a dream,” Hoffman said. “I was never 100 percent sure that I’d actually get too play full-contact football, but it’s just been a dream come true.”
It’s nice to see Hoffman still has a place in the hearts of all Husker fans and his appearance on College GameDay shows that.
Scott Frost on set
Head coach Scott Frost is an even-keel guy and not too flashy, which is why he is so endearing to Husker fans. The fans showed as much by bowing to him during his interview.
Because of his personality, it was semi-surprising to see him on set, but when his program is in the national spotlight, going on the show is almost a necessity. He said as much in his conversation with Taylor. He also mentioned the fan support in his short conversation, hoping they would get them some false start penalties in the game tonight.
Lastly, he wore some nice Yeezy’s which should only help with recruits.
College GameDay and signs are like peanut butter and jelly, they are meant to be together. The signs Saturday morning did not disappoint. Some of the best I saw were:
A photo of Gabrielle Union from the movie Bring it on with the words, “Ohio State? Bring it.”
The photo of an old Rose from Titanic with the words, “It’s been 12 years,” referring to the 12 years that have passed since College GameDay last came to Lincoln.
“Ryan Day carpeted his bathroom.”
A marriage proposal sign, which she said yes to.
And lastly, “Aaron Rodgers chugs beer faster than Ryan Day.”
The electric atmosphere
Words don’t give the atmosphere justice as it was full of energy and could be a good sign for what the atmosphere will be come game time. The Husker fans brought the energy and the commentators on the show noticed.
Analyst Kirk Herbstreit tweeted it was, “as attentive and locked in as any crowd we’ve ever had.” Desmond Howard and Lee Corso also mentioned the crowd’s volume at points during the show.
When people are camped out almost 24 hours before the event even starts, the atmosphere has to be good. One could tell the show hadn’t been to Lincoln in awhile, but an atmosphere like that deserves to be on the show more than every 12 years.