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Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Fallacies of College Football

I plan to touch on this in a podcast, but take a look at this response from a forum I am on. The argument beforehand was a long one involving the over-ranking of a college football power (Penn State) because of reputation, coach name and a cupcake early schedule.

The response:

This comment is not about any team in particular, because almost all of the traditional powers fall into this fallacy. All of the traditional powers tend to get over-ranked which can lend to the argument that you cannot take how teams were ranked at any one given time. It also can lend to the opposite argument because that person can say that everything ends up the same anyway in the sense that if two powers face each other early and both fall under the same fallacy, then you can use that data for an argument. (a 12 and 19 team facing each other is the same as a 32 and 39 team since there is 7 spots of difference, which of course assumes that the level of talent from 120 to 1 is linear, which...oh, never mind)

I do not think that there should be any polls at all for the first 8 weeks of the season. This good idea will not happen because the media and the public both love to argue about these numbers games that don't really have an answer.

Thirty years ago it was obvious what one, two or three teams were the best in the nation. The polls were okay. Then it became obvious that there were four to six candidates for the title every year and the BCS became necessary to satisfy the masses. Unfortunately, in just a short period of time (less than 15% of college football's total existence), it is now obvious most years that there are many candidates to be the best team in the land (This year is an anomaly where it seems there are only three). The nation is saturated with talent that has created a much more even playing field on a given Saturday, which is one of the reasons powers schedule cupcakes because many teams are not sure how many wins are even possible beyond the three easy ones.

A playoff is the answer to the question on how to make sure all of the candidates have their shot, but the powers who run this thing are scared of what will happen to their wallets; when they are just really scared of a big change like this. If the NFL had not learned from the AFL, we would not have the great product we have today. The profits for THE National Football League grow every year. The FBS can learn from the FCS. A playoff increases overall entertainment and probably will satisfy the masses more.

Of course, that is another fallacy because we may never see that the champion really is the best team in the nation. They will just be the team that put together 3 or 4 great games in a row or faced favorable matches for their strengths. Maybe that is the definition of a the best team. I don't know. Everyone has a different take on it.

Back to the polls. I think many good teams get overlooked because it is easy to rank teams by their name early in the season when the only research some pollsters do is see who has a good incoming freshman class. I think ranking of the teams after 8 weeks would give a better ranking of who is good. My fear is that the pollsters STILL would not watch the games and still back to their old ways; which is the whole problem in the first place.

An argument is only as good as the accuracy of the data given to the party in the debate and I think that the data with college football is inherently flawed. Of course, if the gray area did not exist, there would be no arguments. The spirit of the debate creates a lot of fun. That is fine because the whole goal of this thing is good entertainment.

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