College Football Home Field Advantage

Which college football teams really have the best home field advantage? Most sources try to generalize home field advantage into a simple number that can be applied to every game. The fact of the matter is, there is no magic number that applies to every team for every game (the national average is just over three points, but it can vary drastically). Each team has built their own home field profile, and that is what I have tried to capture. I will go into more detail about how I came up with these numbers below, but the table that follows shows how much better each team has performed historically (represented by points) at home compared to on the road.

The data was taken for each team for games between 1989 and 2014 in conference play only to help remove outliers caused by playing inferior non-conference opponents. Keep in mind that some of the best teams in the nation over the past few decades show up at the bottom of this list. This doesn’t mean they don’t have any home field advantage, but rather that they play just as well on the road as they do at home, so their true advantage is simply not as significant.

So, where do these numbers come from? Like I said, I pulled game data for each team for all of their conference games from 1989 to 2014. I then took the difference of each team’s home margin of victory and road margin of victory and divided that number by two to get each team’s advantage at home over a neutral field.  As you can see, not all home field advantage is created equal!

Home Field Advantage in College Football
Team Home Record Home Scoring Margin Road Record Road Scoring Margin True Home Field Advantage
Hawaii Warriors 83-61-3 5.50 44-76-1 -8.61 7.06
Cincinnati Bearcats 60-44-1 1.40 41-74-0 -9.90 5.65
Texas El Paso Miners 54-79-2 -4.01 25-108-3 -14.93 5.46
East Carolina Pirates 67-44-1 4.78 53-67-0 -6.00 5.39
Kansas State Wildcats 76-52-3 4.55 51-83-1 -5.70 5.13
Wyoming Cowboys 70-53-1 3.14 47-82-0 -6.95 5.05
Rice Owls 66-69-0 -0.34 43-95-0 -10.41 5.04
Utah Utes 78-49-1 7.59 59-66-1 -2.02 4.81
California Golden Bears 67-75-3 0.41 41-102-2 -8.96 4.69
Toledo Rockets 78-20-2 11.54 58-45-1 2.60 4.47
Missouri Tigers 64-63-2 1.72 47-83-1 -7.15 4.44
Nebraska Cornhuskers 111-23-0 20.39 92-36-1 11.73 4.33
Kansas Jayhawks 49-81-0 -8.24 27-102-4 -16.88 4.32
Florida State Seminoles 120-19-0 23.17 85-29-1 14.55 4.31
Texas Tech Red Raiders 76-57-2 4.49 56-78-1 -4.08 4.29
Clemson Tigers 101-34-2 11.17 72-55-0 2.78 4.20
Indiana Hoosiers 52-88-1 -5.97 29-113-0 -14.11 4.07
Arkansas Razorbacks 76-56-1 5.11 58-75-2 -2.96 4.04
Arizona State Sun Devils 86-55-2 6.58 62-73-2 -1.49 4.04
Penn State Nittany Lions 102-37-0 11.47 75-47-1 3.48 4.00
Wisconsin Badgers 81-57-3 6.53 63-77-1 -1.26 3.90
New Mexico Lobos 48-74-1 -4.15 35-90-0 -11.92 3.89
Oklahoma Sooners 98-26-1 17.00 86-36-2 9.31 3.85
Syracuse Orange 73-55-1 4.07 56-69-0 -3.56 3.82
Oklahoma State Cowboys 66-63-5 2.77 57-75-1 -4.70 3.74
Colorado State Rams 72-53-0 3.21 55-69-1 -4.23 3.72
Maryland Terrapins 67-61-0 1.17 54-77-1 -6.18 3.68
Washington Huskies 91-49-2 6.73 71-71-1 -0.59 3.66
Minnesota Golden Gophers 57-83-2 -3.83 38-105-0 -11.08 3.63
Oregon State Beavers 55-83-2 -4.60 37-103-3 -11.73 3.57
Ohio Bobcats 48-52-2 1.21 40-61-1 -5.92 3.57
UCLA Bruins 94-48-2 6.32 70-70-3 -0.78 3.55
Ohio State Buckeyes 113-28-1 16.50 99-38-3 9.52 3.49
Miami Hurricanes 92-27-0 15.55 78-35-0 8.62 3.47
Colorado Buffaloes 73-60-2 1.46 57-75-2 -5.41 3.44
Tulane Green Wave 48-58-0 -4.71 21-78-0 -11.53 3.41
Rutgers Scarlet Knights 47-70-0 -5.50 33-93-2 -12.30 3.40
Louisville Cardinals 68-42-0 3.02 53-62-0 -3.77 3.40
Virginia Tech Hokies 79-32-1 11.43 65-45-1 4.68 3.38
Mississippi Rebels 51-69-1 -2.31 37-86-0 -9.05 3.37
Southern Methodist Mustangs 65-60-1 -1.77 43-85-1 -8.51 3.37
Southern California Trojans 103-35-2 13.09 89-52-2 6.43 3.33
Air Force Falcons 74-43-0 7.07 60-63-1 0.46 3.31
North Carolina Tar Heels 75-57-2 3.22 57-75-0 -3.39 3.31
Wake Forest Demon Deacons 43-86-0 -6.51 36-101-0 -13.12 3.31
Brigham Young Cougars 87-20-0 15.67 85-31-1 9.09 3.29
Boston College Eagles 70-56-1 2.57 54-70-1 -3.92 3.25
Texas A&M Aggies 90-46-1 8.53 77-57-1 2.07 3.23
Iowa State Cyclones 44-87-3 -7.98 29-100-4 -14.42 3.22
Iowa Hawkeyes 88-50-3 6.89 72-67-2 0.49 3.20
South Carolina Gamecocks 60-55-3 0.74 41-63-1 -5.63 3.19
Texas Christian Horned Frogs 73-60-0 4.57 57-75-2 -1.78 3.18
Oregon Ducks 90-47-2 7.77 78-66-0 1.42 3.18
Purdue Boilermakers 68-71-3 -0.70 46-94-1 -7.01 3.16
Florida Gators 91-23-1 14.98 79-36-0 8.68 3.15
Houston Cougars 74-53-3 4.98 58-69-1 -1.30 3.14
Central Michigan Chippewas 58-43-1 3.92 45-53-3 -2.32 3.12
Baylor Bears 64-70-2 -2.93 45-90-1 -9.13 3.10
Mississippi State Bulldogs 55-65-0 -3.35 32-92-1 -9.50 3.08
Auburn Tigers 83-40-3 6.29 67-55-1 0.15 3.07
Miami Ohio Redhawks 61-38-1 7.76 53-47-3 1.69 3.04
Michigan Wolverines 111-31-1 13.92 92-46-3 7.96 2.98
Bowling Green Falcons 65-39-4 7.75 58-47-1 1.84 2.96
Kent State Golden Flashes 37-66-0 -5.29 25-75-1 -11.17 2.94
Kentucky Wildcats 41-89-0 -8.03 25-105-0 -13.90 2.94
Vanderbilt Commodores 27-101-1 -10.09 22-108-0 -15.92 2.92
Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles 74-37-0 8.72 70-48-1 2.97 2.88
Western Michigan Broncos 64-39-0 5.70 48-51-1 0.39 2.66
Memphis Tigers 50-59-1 0.05 37-79-0 -5.19 2.62
Tennessee Volunteers 85-44-1 7.95 72-52-3 2.72 2.62
Washington State Cougars 55-84-3 -3.56 52-87-1 -8.71 2.58
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 80-45-0 4.46 59-64-2 -0.53 2.50
Temple Owls 43-67-0 -5.95 37-95-0 -10.88 2.47
North Carolina State Wolfpack 69-62-1 -0.21 50-80-0 -5.01 2.40
Michigan State Spartans 82-58-2 5.53 70-69-2 0.75 2.39
West Virginia Mountaineers 86-45-3 8.07 72-54-0 3.41 2.33
Duke Blue Devils 35-95-0 -8.88 32-104-1 -12.86 1.99
Texas Longhorns 98-32-0 12.05 87-40-1 8.27 1.89
Virginia Cavaliers 79-52-1 2.12 55-77-2 -1.61 1.87
Pittsburgh Panthers 75-58-2 3.31 58-62-3 -0.29 1.80
Northwestern Wildcats 48-92-0 -10.12 45-99-1 -13.66 1.77
Arizona Wildcats 76-69-1 1.25 63-72-5 -1.88 1.57
Illinois Fighting Illini 66-75-1 -1.63 55-83-4 -4.58 1.48
Georgia Bulldogs 80-34-0 8.82 76-35-2 6.27 1.28
Stanford Cardinal 77-64-1 0.85 65-80-1 -1.66 1.26
Ball State Cardinals 56-44-1 1.75 55-43-1 -0.48 1.12
Alabama Crimson Tide 87-39-1 10.26 87-38-1 8.72 0.77
Louisiana State Tigers 80-49-2 3.92 70-54-3 2.85 0.54

There are a few things to keep in mind when you look at this data. First, obviously there is a lot of turnover for college football teams, so there is going to be some fluctuation from year to year, however, over this length of time there are certainly some patterns that emerge. You will also notice that the teams at the top of this list are mostly bad road teams, which influences how much “better” their numbers look at home.

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