Facebook’s football folly

Click to enlarge. (Image: Facebook)

With the college football season firing up, this Facebook map is guaranteed to spark discussion. It shows which top-25 college team has the most Likes in each county.

Slate breaks down the numbers, and based solely on the number of counties, the Texas Longhorns can claim the widest Facebook fan base in the country. (Of course, any true Longhorn fan would have told you that, regardless of the Facebook findings.) Rounding out the Top 5 are Florida, Ohio State, Nebraska, and Oregon.

Also noted by Slate are the survey’s obvious shortcomings — the wide variance in county populations, the limitation to the top 25 teams, and the voting being conducted on each team’s Facebook page, with results depending heavily on its number of Like-clicking Facebook fans.

Slate writer Will Oremus breaks it down for the dedicated college football fan. One example:

Another distortion comes from the fact that Facebook only looked at fans of the nationā€™s top 25 teams. That enabled Oregon, for instance, to sweep the state of Washington, since neither Washington nor Washington State was eligible. And Texas and Nebraska would not have been able to divide up Colorado had the Buffaloes been in play. By the same token, the formula disadvantaged SEC teams, since they all have close neighbors in the top 25.

Such analysis will come in handy for those whose favorite team did not fare well in this particular poll.

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