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.
If crimson-and-white shakers being slung around for hours and the endless chants of “Roll Tide” weren’t enough, you’ve got the student section drowning you out with “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Rammer Jammer” before you’re even allowed to hit the exits. Nearly 20,000 Alabama students flood the stadium each game.
Generally regarded as one of the loudest stadiums in college football, Tiger fans show up on Saturdays. From the moment Donahue Drive fills up for Tiger Walk until kickoff two hours later, expect a powder keg of excitement. The student section, which is in the Southeast end zone and contains the marching band, got amped up even more last season when it added a DJ to the mix. Pack your earplugs, the shakers will be waving and chants of “War Eagle” will be thunderous.
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 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.
It’s not just about basketball in "Big Blue" country. Kentucky students arrive long before kickoff to watch their team do the pre-game “Cat Walk” into newly renovated Kroger Field. Then, they rush to fill the student section located in the East end zone, where their pregame rendition of “My Old Kentucky Home” sounds just as sweet as on Derby Day at Churchill Downs.
One of the most intense student sections in the ACC, this Student Section is known to turn Sun Life Stadium into a raucous affair. Their traditions are loud, chanting it’s all about the “U” and “We Got Some Canes Over Here,” and visual as the Student Section has its own smoke machine. Having the Student Section sit right next to the visitors bench gives Miami a home field advantage.
The Michigan student section can always be heard singing "The Victors" or going crazy to "Seven Nation Army". As is to be expected in a 107,000+ capacity stadium, when Michigan students start the wave, alternating its speed and direction, it's just a little bit bigger than any other wave you've ever seen.
Nowhere else in the SEC is the student section located directly behind the visitor’s bench. But at Missouri, thanks to an exemption granted from the conference while construction is done on the stadium, students can give opponents an earful this season.
Autzen Stadium has developed a reputation for being one of the loudest venues in college football, and that’s largely due to the Pit Crew. At the end of every third quarter, the student section gets amped for the fourth by singing and dancing to the song Shout!. It’s a fitting tribute to the famous scene in cult classic Animal House, which was filmed on campus at Oregon before its release in 1978.
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.
At Temple University, the student section begins with the Cherry Crusade, an ardent group of students unmistakable in the front rows at every football game. Founded in 2005, the group leads the entire student section, organizes road trips, paint ups and viewing parties and bleeds cherry and white.
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.
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. Their storied student section traditions includes yells of “Fight on!”, throwing out “V for victory” hand signs and chanting the "So Cal Spellout." In the running for a major trophy? Well, this section gets the front row to call out their candidates for national TV exposure.
Describing themselves as “smart, unified, creative, belligerent and downright insane”, The HURD bring an intensity to game day that puts them up there among the best student sections in the country. Creativity is abundant, from students painting their entire bodies blue to wearing blue scream masks and even mannequins dressed up in USU apparel. And their “winning team, losing team” chant is one-of-a-kind.
The "Screamin' Demons" include more than 2,200 students in an undergraduate population of only 4,775. Nationally-recognized for their enthusiastic behavior and tie-dye regalia, the Screamin' Demons provides the opportunity for every student to become part of the game.
From cheers to hat chants to throwing up the “W”, the Dawg Pack is hard to miss. University of Washington students pack Husky Stadium with noise and have been known to make the press box sway, TV cameras shake and opposing teams lose their composure. It is said that Washington students originated The Wave, which started in 1981 during the 3rd quarter of an eventual victory over John Elway-led Stanford.
At West Virginia, the "Mountaineer Maniacs" are the largest student organization on campus and membership comes with matching T-shirts donning the section's name. The group is loud, proud and helps provide for a quality home game atmosphere at Milan Puskar Stadium. Country roads, take me home, to the place I belong...
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.