For the first time ever, the best student section in college football will be crowned the Live Más Student Section of the Year. Taco Bell has assembled the Live Más Student Section Selection Committee, a group of college football experts from around the country, to watch, rank and reward student sections each week before an overall Live Más Student Section of the Year winner is crowned at the end of the season. Be part of the conversation and show us what makes your student section the best using #LiveMasStudentSectionChallenge!
In the world of college football, there is no more qualified voice to act as Chairman of this prestigious Committee than William Laurece "Rece" Davis. As a voice on ESPN since 1995 and the lead of ESPN College GameDay Built by The Home Depot since 2015, Rece has pretty much been everywhere and seen everything. While his knowledge of college sports and unbiased perspective have earned him the trust of college football fans across the land, his heart lies in Tuscaloosa with the Alabama Crimson Tide.
He's been to Rome with Jim Harbaugh. He's put his feet up in Nick Saban's office. He's thrown post patterns on the South Lawn of the White House with the Clemson Tigers. As one of ESPN's most popular and recognized reporters, Marty Smith brings a passion for college football, an enthusiasm for its fans and more energy than this Committee can probably handle. Since visiting Lane Stadium as a five-year-old with his dad, Marty has bled the orange and maroon of the Virginia Tech Hokies. Gobble Gobble.
Since joining ESPN in 2016, Molly is a rising star in the world of college football acting as the sideline reporter for ESPN's Friday night games and as the host of numerous college football studio shows. Her experiences as a cheerleader at Boston College, where she received the Athletic Director's Award for Academic Excellence, bring a unique and indispensable perspective to the Committee. From The Heights to the sidelines, Molly McGrath has seen the future of America getting rowdy on game day.
You can't script The Duck. The Duck wakes up, lives, and goes to bed like everyone on this planet. But he wakes up with 20 quarts of coffee, lives to solely amuse himself, and goes to bed if he's bored. He's a student. He's not a very good student, as he has been in school since '47. He's a philanthropist. He wants to help when he can. He means well. He's The Duck.
Alex Scarborough has been covering college athletics for ESPN since 2012. Before that, he worked for the Tuscaloosa News, Savannah Morning News and Rome News-Tribune. A native of Southern California, he now lives in Birmingham where he reports heavily on the SEC.
Sam Khan Jr. is a college sports reporter for ESPN.com. This is his seventh season covering college football for the company. A Houston native, Khan graduated from the University of Houston and spent seven years covering sports at the Houston Chronicle prior to joining ESPN.
When it comes to football and food, Tom VanHaaren has always lived más. He joined ESPN.com in 2011, where he learned a go route didn't mean getting in the drivethru line at Taco Bell. He covers college football and recruiting, and he loves a good tailgate. His penchant for food and his knowledge of the college football atmosphere make him a natural fit for the student section selection committee.
As a college football reporter, Edward understands how crucial student sections are. But he's on this committee to see if anyone can rival the 2006 student section at Florida. As a proud member of the UF drumline and Gator Band back then, he likes to think they helped block a game-winning field goal against South Carolina because of how loud they helped make the Swamp. They made history. Can you?
David has covered college football for more than 12 years, spending the past seven seasons at ESPN with a focus on the ACC. He's attended games at more than 30 stadiums and is an aficionado of eccentric student-sections everywhere.
Kyle Bonagura is a Los Angeles-based college sports reporter for ESPN.com. He grew up in the Bay Area and attended Washington State University. When it's not football or basketball season, he's trying to visit as many new countries as possible.
Throughout the regular season, our Committee will choose one student section that stood out and crown them the Student Section of the Week.
The Inferno and 942 Crew are reunited in the south end zone in 2018 after two seasons of a split student section at Sun Devil Stadium. Expect to see students energized, showing up early, coordinating colors and standing the entire game. On third downs, particularly, you'll catch students throwing up pitchfork signs with their hands as the stadium PA blares out "Hells Bells."
The Hill is already packed with students when the team arrives via bus. Under the jumbotron, 105 players gather for the sprint down the hill, through the crowd, and onto the field. It's as electric a moment as there is in college football, with the students pushing the energy to another level cheering the players on as they make the sprint through the crowd. Once the game starts, the hill is a general admission free-for-all of some of the most passionate students in the nation.
One of the most underrated students sections in the country resides in Greenville, N.C., where the ECU fans are loud, proud and painted in purple. They'll be waving flags, housing the jolly roger and donned in full pirate gear for the big games, and few Group of 5 student sections come close to matching the energy at ECU.
The student section in Tallahassee has its share of painted faces, Osceola and Renegade costumes, and outright insane students that pack the house for every big game. Roughly 16,000 strong, you'll see students doing the "Chop" in unison as they root on their Seminoles.
The student section at Indiana is called the Crimson Guard, and the group supports all Indiana athletics, not just football. The students have had a good amount to cheer about now with the team trending in the right direction.
The Hawkeyes are an unassuming entry in the top student sections, but ask any college football player who has played at Kinnick stadium and they will tell you it is difficult. The students are near the marching band, which combines for a loud environment, making it difficult for opposing fan. Add all of that in with the newest tradition, the Iowa wave, where fans turn and wave at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital, and you have all the makings of an outstanding student section.
There's arguably no other atmosphere in college football that compares to a night game inside Tiger Stadium (they don't call it "Death Valley" for nothing). In terms of general rowdiness, no one tops LSU students. From the moment they claw their way through the gates and into their end zone seats, there is non-stop yelling and energy swirling around them. And whether you're a fan of country music or not, experiencing "Callin' Baton Rouge" in Tiger Stadium can't be beat.
There is no lack of enthusiasm from this student section. With 13,000 strong dressed in green, you'll here chants of "Go State!" or more prominently "Go Green!" while the opposite side of the stadium responds "Go White!" Watch these students go crazy when their team takes the field to "Thunderstruck."
Hotty Toddy! Ole Miss has never lost a tailgate. The Grove is arguably the best pregame party in college football and Vaught-Hemingway Stadium is an absolute zoo when kickoff comes. Get there early though, because there's nothing quite like "Locking the Vaught" when Led Zeppelin blares over the loudspeaker and fans lock arms and sway as their team runs onto the field. Remember four years ago when Ole Miss pulled off the upset against Alabama? Students stormed the field and carried the goalpost out of the stadium.
Purdue has plenty of fans inside the stadium, donning black and gold overalls, screaming for their team. But the team has a unique set of students that also show their pride outside the stadium. A group called the Reamer Club helps maintain the official mascot of Purdue, the Boilermaker Special, which is a replica of a Victorian-era train built on a truck chassis that can travel up to 75 mph. The train travels to away games and brings the team up to the stadium on game day.
The TCU Student Section is infamous for shouting out the confusing — and iconic — "Riff, Ram, Bah, Zoo" and unveiling the enormous TCU banner. The send opposing teams into a state of chaos when they come to town.
When you think of Tennessee football, you have to think of "Rocky Top." Or, more appropriately, you have to hear it. The student section makes plenty of noise, but it also has to keep its voice going for the nearly 40 times per game it sings along to the iconic, unofficial fight song of the Vols.
It takes some real effort for UCLA students to get to the Rose Bowl and many of them take rooter buses for the 20-mile trip through Los Angeles to Pasadena. While The Den has its strongest ties to men's basketball team, expect to see them make a strong presence at for their Bruins at the Rose Bowl.
Martin Stadium may have the smallest capacity in the Pac-12, but the percentage of the stadium devoted to the student section is the highest. That dynamic creates an electric atmosphere — especially during night games when the Zzu Cru, the school's official student group since 2004, really comes alive.
Amidst a sea of green, the student section played a huge role in propelling Notre Dame to a big win against Michigan. Their coordinated 'Green Out' and unceasing noise throughout the night showed why South Bend is among the most sought-after college football destinations in the country. Tradition, creativity, endurance, impact... qualities that exemplify our first Live Más Student Section of the Week.
The Inferno, Arizona State's Student Section, helped energize their team to a marquee upset win over No. 15 Michigan State. Braving the 100-degree heat in Tempe, Arizona State students — sitting in the end zone — made an already tough environment even worse for Michigan State. At one point, they appeared to play a role in a delay of game penalty and were deafeningly loud the entire game. Tradition, endurance and impact... qualities that make them the Live Más Student Section of the Week.
A packed Texas student section was loud and proud on Saturday, coming early and staying late. Well before kickoff the students serenaded the crowd with a pregame rendition of Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" and stayed late as the band played “Eyes of Texas” following their win. Throughout the game they made their presence felt, even head coach Tom Herman said afterward they had a "direct impact on the game" which Texas won decisively 37-14 over visiting USC. Endurance, creativity and impact…qualities that make them the Live Más Student Section of the Week.
This week The Hurd, Utah State's Student Section, brought next level enthusiasm to their primetime matchup against Air Force. These rabid fans took to social media to lobby for their school, camped out over-night and were deafening throughout the game. The Hurd took their whiteout to the next level by blanketing the student section in baby powder continually throughout the night (you have to see it to believe it). Passion, tradition, energy, endurance and creativity... qualities that make them the Live Más Student Section of the Week.
This week, the Penn State University Student Section showed us all what makes college football great. Starting on Monday, Nittanyville was packed with tents as over 700 students camped all week through rain and cold so that they could be the first into the stadium on game day. The once-a-year “whiteout game” was a sight to behold as the student section brought relentless energy and incredible noise until the final whistle, fueling the largest crowd in Beaver Stadium history. From the chants of “We Are” to the staple “S” in the student section, it was impressive to see their passion. Tradition, endurance, impact, creativity... qualities that make them the Live Más Student Section of the Week.
It takes a special Student Section to gather for Midnight Yell Practice the night before the game. Then on game day, the 12th Man showed up 30,000+ strong as Texas A&M took on #13-ranked Kentucky. They cranked up home field advantage, doing their signature yells throughout the game and staying loud when the Aggies were on defense. It certainly helped, as A&M's defense held Kentucky to just 178 yards and the Wildcats had multiple pre-snap penalties. When the victory was sealed by a touchdown run in overtime, the student section, still full, did a rousing rendition of the Aggie War Hymn capped by "sawing varsity's horns off" where they swayed in celebration of the win.
The energy was dialed up this weekend as the Wolverines took on No. 15 Wisconsin under the lights. 25,000+ students showed up in traditional fashion dressed head to toe in maize screaming and yelling. You could hear the entire student section belting out The Killers “Mr. Brightside” and at one point during the game the students led fans in lighting up the stadium with their mobile devices giving their team a clear path to an eventual 38-13 victory. Tradition, endurance, impact... qualities that make them the Live Más Student Section of the Week.