Whitehead and College Football

An example to demonstrate that the fallacy of misplaced concreteness occurs in everyday evaluation:

The BCS is a textbook case. Presuming that the best team in the country is the team that will win head to head versus other teams, we are claiming that statistical superiority is indicative of actual superiority. We take a quantitative description where a qualitative description is necessary.

The polls should be more indicative of qualitative difference but the changes in the poll show that rank takes precedence over performance and character.

Example : LSU being ranked 9th is taken to mean they are better than all but the 9 teams ranked higher than them. Given how they have played, our experience shows that they haven’t really played as a dominant team. Rather, it seems that they advance in the polls based on the strength of their ranking, I.e. If they were 12 and a team falls out of the top, they move up because they are at least 12th best.

Boise State dropping after a win is a counter-example. But I think it’s an outlying case.


~ by Michael L. Thomas on October 16, 2010.

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