Kevin Camp

Blast from the Buttes: Recruiting and Craft Beer


College football has a following of diehard fans that is among the tops in the sporting landscape.  But as the calendar opens to January and February each year, a special group of fans turn their focus to college football recruiting. To the masses, these select fans may be viewed as nerds at their smartphones or computers fixating over high school athletes, many not yet old enough to vote.  But in their eyes, they are just fine purveyors of the entire college football process.

Millions of Americans love to drink beer.  But there is a large segment of beer drinkers that will not drink just any type of beer, they’ll only drink the really good kind, the kind that is produced in small batches. Many may label these types of beer drinkers as beer snobs, but they consider themselves craft beer enthusiasts.  

Two opposite groups of people, with very different interests fueling a passion.  But how different are these two groups of people?  Could there be a common ground or an underlying parallel? In an Blast from the Buttes unscientific study, we look into, how on the surface, recruiting nerds and craft beer snobs couldn’t be more different.  But the similarities that exist are too hard to ignore.

There are a bevy of college football recruiting websites, message boards, and mobile apps.  In the eyes of a college recruiting fan, these are their tools of the trade, the means of which they feed their indescribable appetite for all things recruiting.  The time and money a college recruiting fan spends on their preferred service is what separates them from regular college football fans.

Craft beer fans also have website communities and mobile apps focused on informing them of a beer’s ranking, how a friend may have rated a beer, new flavors, styles, or brand extensions.  Just as the case is with the recruiting fan, beer snobs rely heavily on these tools to point them in the direction of what beer happens to be the latest and greatest.  

Once the time on the computer or smartphone is complete, the recruiting and beer fans take their new found knowledge to the streets.  For both fans, now is the time to shine, as they push their opinion of player “A” or beer “B” on their friends, coworkers, family or other recruiting nerds or beer snobs.  The recruiting fan shares his outlook of how recruit “A” is vital to his team’s success in the coming year, or how player “B” signifies the coaches settling for a lower tiered player.  The craft beer enthusiast talks about how the beer hits their pallette, its bitterness rating, hop level, and alcohol content.  

There would be no such thing as a recruiting geek or beer snob if it wasn’t for the people who are paid experts in their respective fields. While many of these experts may have never played football or spent much time consuming a large quantity of beer, they are the people tasked with the ranking of one’s potential on the field or the prestigious rating of a beer.  If the expert has truly shown their level of knowledge to be greater than others, the recruiting fan or beer enthusiast places this person on a pedestal, pledging allegiance to their opinion.

The recent surge in the popularity of recruiting has also built battle lines between states and regions.  College football recruiting experts and fans regularly discuss what states are more rich with football talent and what region is best for the staff to recruit.  For the recruiting geek, this becomes an issue of state pride and belief that high school football in their state has the talent to produce top level college players

The explosion of the craft beer industry has provided beer fans with their own civil war, battling over where the best brewery calls home.  This is typically a battle over regions, the Northwest, Rocky Mountains, NorCal, the desert, and mid-west.  There are now over 3,000 breweries spread across the US, meaning the battle over where the best beer is made is far from over.

Despite these battles of state pride, the recruiting geek and beer snob love to sign or sample from other states.  The recruiting fan loves when their team pulls a 5 star from their out of state rival, just as much as a craft beer fan enjoys the taste of a beer from a brewery more than 500 miles away.  

The recruiting nerd and beer snob are so similar because they are actually a product of what makes each past time exist, the hype machine.  The craft beer craze has been driven by the hype of exclusive brands, uncommon brews, and limited distribution.  College football recruiting has exploded due to the hype created by players, parents, and coaches on social media, as well as televised all-star games, recruiting update shows, and commitment ceremonies.  College football and craft beer, a much better pairing after taking a step back to really appreciate their resemblance.

About Kevin Camp

Kevin Camp

Kevin is a '96 Sun Devil grad of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Contrary to his last name, Kevin is not one to stay in one place too long. Kevin has called Washington, Arizona, Utah, and again Arizona home since his days at ASU nearly 20 years ago. A passion for photography in his spare time turned to a great opportunity to shoot Sun Devil sporting events. He has photographed Sun Devils football at Camp T, Tempe practices, Utah, and Colorado while shooting some basketball and baseball as the teams visited Utah. Now that Kevin resides in Flagstaff, he is looking forward to reigniting the family tradition of Camp T with his wife and son. Kevin is also the VP of the ASU Alumni Association Flagstaff club.

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