My favorite way to watch college football: DIY Hype videos
I went to college at the University of Texas at Austin, a place where football reigns supreme. I wasn’t a big fan, but many of my classmates turned out to be devoted dyed-in-the-wool stuff. Their fanaticism wore me down, and I eventually joined the fans who flocked to Darrell C. Royal Stadium for every Saturday home game. I, like everyone else, was caught up in the annual cycle of expectation, fanaticism, disappointment, and acceptance.
However, I could never fully accept this game. I felt strange watching guys in their 20s, many of them black, play in a packed stadium at the flagship university of the only state that had seceded twice – once from Mexico and then again from the Union – to it could continue to enslave black people. All the while, the university sold the games as part of a storied tradition, but ignored embarrassing details like the fact that Texas was one of the last major college football programs to integrate, or that its most famous coach, Darrell C. Royal, objected. team reunification in 1959.
How can I reconcile my discomfort with my love for the game? Enter the hype videos: DIY compilations of tight hands timed to magic, the most beautiful jukes you’ve ever seen, otherworldly one-handed backhand catches and other athletic feats.
Some colleges make their own official commercials, as well as shortened versions for TikTok and Instagram, to promote football programs to fans and recruits. Some of them are very good, but overall they’re a little dishonest — it feels like I’m being lied to when I scroll through Instagram and come across offensive moments for Iowa State’s football program, notorious for its perennially bad offense. These spots are also aesthetically predictable, usually opening with celebratory shots of the stadium meant to convey the program’s accomplishments. Most of all, these videos are admin and comm strategist controlled advocacy designed to enhance the brands of the admin and comm strategist teams. They’re not necessarily bad, but they have little to do with the player experience.
I prefer unauthorized DIYs from YouTube accounts with names like Ill EditzHD and Doug B. Defying the laws of no teams and no licensing, their videos are rare examples of the passion that seeps through the cracks of college football’s carefully manicured facade. Instead of solid orchestral scores or generic hip-hop beats that sound like they were produced by artificial intelligence, these clips are set to trap music, a raw subgenre of hip-hop from the South, named after the drug-trafficking milieu in which it originated. , that trap is the kind of music that a lot of college football players actually listen to. The soundtracks to the videos are unlicensed aggressive remixes of pop songs and raunchy versions of Future and other rappers that will almost certainly never be used in official hype videos.
These songs accompany shots of players breaking through offensive lines to make tough sacks, grown men hurling other grown men to the turf, and magnificent 60-yard touchdown passes. Video creators tend to use the same clips over and over, but I don’t mind. Nearly a dozen times before the 2016 season, I watched University of Southern California wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster point to an incoming quarterback before tough-arming him as the USC sideline erupted in celebration. I would happily watch those 17 seconds a dozen more times.
Unofficial hype videos give us a glimpse into a culture we don’t get to see on TV. They bring us closer to this world than any broadcast.
The hype video writer’s vision of college football is probably much closer to the players’ vision than the NCAA’s. There are no considerations for families and businesses in these tricky copyright infringement cases. The most profitable teams do not receive a disproportionate amount of airtime. For Doug Bee and his contemporaries, a good play is a good play, whether it comes from college football royalty like Alabama or a nimble rebel on the sport’s fringes. They also highlight player culture: These videos freely show college athletes performing the Greedy as they celebrate big plays, which the NCAA punishes.
These videos are an unintentional guide to how college football should actually be pitched. Nearly half of Division I football players are black; sports are typically a black experience, refracted by mostly white commentators, fans, boosters, coaches and television executives. But the televised presentation of the game excludes black culture and turns football into a bland corporate affair. This version of the sport is a lucrative business scheme hiding behind the facade of a dignified hobby that no longer exists.
Unofficial hype videos give us a glimpse into a culture we don’t get to see on TV. They bring us closer to this world than any broadcast. There is no banal color commentary, no players wandering between games, and no footage of coaches inhaling millions of dollars of public money. Instead, we get to see players slapping each other, flipping into end zones, swag surfing, catching voas — just being extremely good at the sport and carrying a billion-dollar industry on their shoulders. Looking at them, you can feel their infinite confidence: any failure is unthinkable for you or the players. There is no mediocrity in a world where Lil Durk songs are played with bass boost.
Source photos (from left): Brian Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images; David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images; Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images; Jeff Haynes /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images; Brian Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images; Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images; David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images.
Ali Breland is a reporter for Mother Jones, where she writes about the Internet and politics.
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