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!
Throughout the regular season, our Committee will choose one student section that stood out and crown them the Student Section of the Week.
Nicknamed "The Corral", Boise State's student section once helped create a "micro earthquake" during the Broncos' 2009 win over rival Idaho. If the infamous blue turf isn't intimidating enough, opponents have to deal with a student section that gets going with a thunderous "BOY-SEE, STAAAATE!" going each game. It's easily one of the best game day atmospheres on the West Coast.
You can't miss the BC Superfans, clad in their gold Superfan shirts for every game day at on-campus Alumni Stadium. As the student section sings along to "Sweet Caroline" and "Build Me Up Buttercup" and students get tossed into the air for every point scored, game days at The Heights are one-of-a-kind.
Folsom Field is home to C-Unit Football, Colorado's student section, who bring the Thunder Clap alive at home games in Boulder. Inspired by Icelandic fans in soccer, this clap shakes down the thunder. Home games see students sing "Buff Em Up" and the fight song from the 50-yard line throughout the end zone. Special Blackouts games and Whiteout games make an impressive visual to accompany these loud fans.
When "The Swamp" is rocking and fans are doing the chomp, the sound emanating from the student section can be deafening. Adding to the intimidation factor is the fact that some sections are located only a handful of yards away from the opposing team's bench, leaving nowhere to hide...
With so many passionate students, the University of Georgia actually has three separate student sections within 92,000-seat Sanford Stadium. Tradition abounds, from the solo trumpeter calling the student section to attention to start the game to the front-row Paint Line continuing a 20-year tradition. Try not to fall into a trance as the student section "Lights Up Sanford" with cell phone flashlights before the 4th quarter begins, a tradition begun at The University of Georgia.
There's perhaps not a more beautiful setting in the ACC than a night game at Bobby Dodd Stadium, a historic venue with the lights of modern Atlanta illuminating the background. But it's not just the picturesque nature of the stadium that makes a Georgia Tech game special. The student section is a riotous affair, with yellow-clad fans donning wigs and face paint and rocking the end zone during every big play.
The Gophers' students have a few new cheers now with P.J. Fleck as head coach, including adopting his Row the Boat moniker. But the mainstay for students is the Minnesota chant, spelling out "M-I-N-N-E-S-O-T-A" while thrusting their fists into the air and following that up with, "Minnesota, Minnesota, aaayyy Gophers."
Ask any player in the ACC about the toughest places to play, and you'll almost certainly hear NC State at or near the top of the list. One of the big reasons is the design of Carter-Finley Stadium, which features some of the most cramped sidelines in college football. Then add a raucous student section, and you get a recipe for a big-game atmosphere and a long history of some unlikely upsets.
With a program as rich in history and tradition as The University of Oklahoma, it should come as no surprise that game days in Norman are one-of-a-kind. The student section is loud, proud, passionate and love their football. When you hear the OU chant before kickoff, raise a single finger in the air and join the students in saying "there's only one Oklahoma."
"Whiteouts" at Penn State really are something special, but before that, you're wading through tent-packed Nittanyville, before your ears rupture from thunderous chants of "We Are", as your eyes settle in on the giant, student-made "S" that makes its way into the end zone every week.
While "The Show" has gained fame for creating cardboard head cutouts for basketball games, it's a major hit for the Aztecs' football team, too. The student section's other claim to fame is bringing the chant "I Believe" to prominence after adopting it in 2011 and making it an A-list sporting ritual.
Otto's Army, the Syracuse student section, has been known to take full advantage of the favorable acoustics of the Carrier Dome (known as "The Loud House") to make things as tough as possible for visiting teams. Students line up outside the Carrier Dome hours in advance of a game - even when temperatures are below freezing and snow is piled on teh ground around them.
The student section at UCF isn't a spot to sit back, enjoy the Florida sun, and watch a football game. It gets loud and rowdy and the students are on their feet for the entirety of the game. The goal for the student section is to get the bleachers rocking, with the jumping and screaming a near constant.
On game days, USC students "kick the poles" on their way from campus into the venerable Coliseum, which they turn into a sea of cardinal and gold. A storied student section traditions include yells of "Fight on!", throwing out "V for victory" hand signs and chanting the "SoCal Spellout". In the running for a major trophy? Well, this student section gets the front row to call out their candidates for national TV exposure.
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.
The inhabitants of Clemson's famed Hill had been waiting all season for a big-time showdown in Death Valley, and when the time finally came, they erupted on an overwhelmed NC State. In a battle of unbeatens, Clemson's student section made it clear they were veterans of the big-game environment, tormenting Ryan Finley and an NC State offense that wasn't prepared for all the noise. In Raleigh, last season, NC State had 21 points and 244 yards at the half. With the Clemson' faithful bearing down on them this time around, NC State mustered just 100 yards before the break and trailed 24-0. Tradition, endurance, impact... qualities that make them the Live Más Student Section of the Week.
The "Paddle People" were raucous and rowdy throughout Oklahoma State's 38-35 upset over No. 15 Texas. In between snaps, you could hear the paddles rhythmically hitting the wall as chants of "Orange!" and "Power!" could be heard echoing throughout the stadium. The booming cheers from Oklahoma State's student section created an absolute nightmare environment for Texas. Endurance, tradition and impact... qualities that make them the Live Más Student Section of the Week.
The Zzu Cru is one of the best student sections in the country. Every week, they make Pullman a tough place to play. This week, despite a late kickoff and inclement weather, the Zzu Cru provided a clear home-field advantage helping their team defeat Cal and stay atop the Pac-12 North. The Cru made their presence felt during Cal's last-ditch effort late in the 4th quarter, cranking up the noise to an absolutely deafening level. Endurance, impact and creative energy... qualities that make them the Live Más Student Section of the Week.
For the Georgia student section it doesn't matter who they're playing, what time the game is or what the weather is like. Temperatures were close to freezing on Saturday night but that didn't stop the Georgia student section from showing up in droves for the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry. Students painted their faces, waved red shakers in unison, rallied around the Spike Squad and called for their Dawgs at every kickoff. Auburn was completely overwhelmed. No team in the SEC had more false start penalties than Auburn on Saturday, a credit to the rambunctiousness of the Georgia student section inside Sanford Stadium. Impact, endurance and tradition... qualities that make them the Live Más Student Section of the Week.
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.