Why Are We Obsessed With Preseason Football Rankings ?

Even though some preseason rankings were off by a mile, we keep making predictions.

By Laura RiceDecember 7, 2016 10:27 am

A lot has been said over the past few months about the limits of prediction. Polls came up short, the numbers were way off and people were left wondering about the value of this type of reporting. The let-down didn’t just come after the recent presidential election, football fans are also feeling disenchanted by the numbers.

Daron Roberts is the founding director of the Center for Sports Leadership and Innovation at the University of Texas. He’s also a former NFL and college coach, and the author of the forthcoming book “Call an Audible.” He’s put a lot of thought into the intersection between society and sports, and where we’ve gone wrong in the football prognostication game.

“A lot of research out there shows that we’re very bad at making predictions and we’re also very bad at knowing that we’re bad at making predictions,” he says. “It’s interesting both in the political arena and also in sports. … When you don’t have any skin in the game it’s easy to miss what could be obvious signs.”

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– Preseason team rankings vs. what the rankings are now

– Why teams and coaches shouldn’t put too much stock in predictions

– Why we like making predictions

– Is making predictions still worth it?