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A Quick Primer on Logic & Arguments for Cane Fans


We here at TN made the following claim:

(1)  If recruiting class A has a higher average star rating than recruiting class B, then class A has more talent than class B.

The above claim is not about any particular player, but it does assume that

(2)  in general, the highest-rated players are also the most talented players.

Canefan disputed this claim (2).  He says that stars are not a good indicator of talent.  His support:  Ed Reed.  "Ed Reed was a 2* recruit, but he was NFL caliber."  Here's how Canefan's counter-argument goes:

(2)  If Ed Reed was a 2* recruit, then stars are not a good indicator of talent.

This is a poor counter-argument to (2).  To show why, consider the following:

(3)  In general, swans are white.

If someone objects by saying, "Hey, that's not true -- I saw a black swan the other day!", it should be obvious to everyone why this does nothing to undermine (3).  Similarly, Canefan's anecdotal point about Ed Reed does nothing to undermine the truth of (2), and by extension, it does nothing to undermine the truth of (1).  The Ed Reed example only falsifies the following claim (which no one made):  "No NFL caliber player is rated lower than 4*."

But here's a better reason why Canefan's response to our claims (1) and (2) is fallacious.  I take it that Canefan would agree with the following claim:

(4)  Randy Shannon is an excellent judge of talent.

But if (4) is true, then Canefan should also be happy to agree that

(5)  the 2009 UM recruiting class was very talented.

But consider the following:

(6)  The 2009 UM recruiting class had an average rating of almost 3.6 stars (according to Rivals).

So, in order to maintain the claim that stars are not a good indicator of talent, Canefan must accept one of the following:

(7)  The 2009 UM recruiting class was not that talented,

(8)  it was a complete coincidence that the 2009 class was rated so high by Rivals,

or

(9)  I was wrong to say that stars are not a good indicator of talent.

Which seems to be the best option?  Clearly, Canefan should simply admit (9).  (8) is just ludicrous and (7) is highly unlikely.  Why is (8) ludicrous?  Because if you accept (8), then you will have to say the same thing about all the other talented classes Miami has pulled in, as well as all the other classes pulled in by Alabama, UF, etc.  If stars are not a good indicator of talent, and it is a complete coincidence that talented recruiting classes are also highly rated, then what we SHOULD see is very little correlation between talent and average star rating.  I.e., we should be able to look at obviously talented teams, like Bama, Oklahoma and UF, and see just as many 1* as 5* recruits.  There should be a random distribution.  (Someone feel free to do the research on this.)  But I suspect that this would be a slam-dunk.  Bama, Oklahoma and UF probably all had very high average star ratings for the last 3-4 recruiting classes.

So here's my argument:

(i)  If stars are a good indicator of talent, then FSU's 2010 recruiting class is more talented than Miami's.
(ii)  If stars are not a good indicator of talent, then (a) Randy Shannon is not a good judge of talent, and (b) the recent recruiting classes of UF, Oklahoma and Alabama are not highly rated.
(iii)  Randy Shannon is a good judge of talent.*
(iv)  The recent recruiting classes of UF, Oklahoma and Alabama are highly rated.
(v)  So, stars are a good indicator of talent.
(vi)  So, FSU's 2010 recruiting class is more talented than Miami's.

If this is correct, then the logic in Bud's argument yesterday is sound.  Canefan either must completely disregard the rating system of Rivals and ESPN (which is irrational, and in addition would entail that Shannon is not a good judge of talent), or Canefan must admit that Miami's 2010 class was weaker than FSU's. 

If Canefan is reading this, and you disagree with my conclusion, please show me which premise is false.

* The only premise I don't need to make this argument valid is (iii).

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