college-football-home-field

Which college football teams really have the best home field advantage? Most sources try to generalize the upper hand into a simple number that can be applied to every team and every game. The fact of the matter is, there is no magic number that applies universally (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 edge, 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

TeamHome RecordHome Scoring MarginRoad RecordRoad Scoring MarginTrue Edge
Hawaii Warriors83-61-35.5044-76-1-8.617.06
Cincinnati Bearcats60-44-11.4041-74-0-9.905.65
Texas El Paso Miners54-79-2-4.0125-108-3-14.935.46
East Carolina Pirates67-44-14.7853-67-0-6.005.39
Kansas State Wildcats76-52-34.5551-83-1-5.705.13
Wyoming Cowboys70-53-13.1447-82-0-6.955.05
Rice Owls66-69-0-0.3443-95-0-10.415.04
Utah Utes78-49-17.5959-66-1-2.024.81
California Golden Bears67-75-30.4141-102-2-8.964.69
Toledo Rockets78-20-211.5458-45-12.604.47
Missouri Tigers64-63-21.7247-83-1-7.154.44
Nebraska Cornhuskers111-23-020.3992-36-111.734.33
Kansas Jayhawks49-81-0-8.2427-102-4-16.884.32
Florida State Seminoles120-19-023.1785-29-114.554.31
Texas Tech Red Raiders76-57-24.4956-78-1-4.084.29
Clemson Tigers101-34-211.1772-55-02.784.20
Indiana Hoosiers52-88-1-5.9729-113-0-14.114.07
Arkansas Razorbacks76-56-15.1158-75-2-2.964.04
Arizona State Sun Devils86-55-26.5862-73-2-1.494.04
Penn State Nittany Lions102-37-011.4775-47-13.484.00
Wisconsin Badgers81-57-36.5363-77-1-1.263.90
New Mexico Lobos48-74-1-4.1535-90-0-11.923.89
Oklahoma Sooners98-26-117.0086-36-29.313.85
Syracuse Orange73-55-14.0756-69-0-3.563.82
Oklahoma State Cowboys66-63-52.7757-75-1-4.703.74
Colorado State Rams72-53-03.2155-69-1-4.233.72
Maryland Terrapins67-61-01.1754-77-1-6.183.68
Washington Huskies91-49-26.7371-71-1-0.593.66
Minnesota Golden Gophers57-83-2-3.8338-105-0-11.083.63
Oregon State Beavers55-83-2-4.6037-103-3-11.733.57
Ohio Bobcats48-52-21.2140-61-1-5.923.57
UCLA Bruins94-48-26.3270-70-3-0.783.55
Ohio State Buckeyes113-28-116.5099-38-39.523.49
Miami Hurricanes92-27-015.5578-35-08.623.47
Colorado Buffaloes73-60-21.4657-75-2-5.413.44
Tulane Green Wave48-58-0-4.7121-78-0-11.533.41
Rutgers Scarlet Knights47-70-0-5.5033-93-2-12.303.40
Louisville Cardinals68-42-03.0253-62-0-3.773.40
Virginia Tech Hokies79-32-111.4365-45-14.683.38
Mississippi Rebels51-69-1-2.3137-86-0-9.053.37
Southern Methodist Mustangs65-60-1-1.7743-85-1-8.513.37
Southern California Trojans103-35-213.0989-52-26.433.33
Air Force Falcons74-43-07.0760-63-10.463.31
North Carolina Tar Heels75-57-23.2257-75-0-3.393.31
Wake Forest Demon Deacons43-86-0-6.5136-101-0-13.123.31
Brigham Young Cougars87-20-015.6785-31-19.093.29
Boston College Eagles70-56-12.5754-70-1-3.923.25
Texas A&M Aggies90-46-18.5377-57-12.073.23
Iowa State Cyclones44-87-3-7.9829-100-4-14.423.22
Iowa Hawkeyes88-50-36.8972-67-20.493.20
South Carolina Gamecocks60-55-30.7441-63-1-5.633.19
Texas Christian Horned Frogs73-60-04.5757-75-2-1.783.18
Oregon Ducks90-47-27.7778-66-01.423.18
Purdue Boilermakers68-71-3-0.7046-94-1-7.013.16
Florida Gators91-23-114.9879-36-08.683.15
Houston Cougars74-53-34.9858-69-1-1.303.14
Central Michigan Chippewas58-43-13.9245-53-3-2.323.12
Baylor Bears64-70-2-2.9345-90-1-9.133.10
Mississippi State Bulldogs55-65-0-3.3532-92-1-9.503.08
Auburn Tigers83-40-36.2967-55-10.153.07
Miami Ohio Redhawks61-38-17.7653-47-31.693.04
Michigan Wolverines111-31-113.9292-46-37.962.98
Bowling Green Falcons65-39-47.7558-47-11.842.96
Kent State Golden Flashes37-66-0-5.2925-75-1-11.172.94
Kentucky Wildcats41-89-0-8.0325-105-0-13.902.94
Vanderbilt Commodores27-101-1-10.0922-108-0-15.922.92
Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles74-37-08.7270-48-12.972.88
Western Michigan Broncos64-39-05.7048-51-10.392.66
Memphis Tigers50-59-10.0537-79-0-5.192.62
Tennessee Volunteers85-44-17.9572-52-32.722.62
Washington State Cougars55-84-3-3.5652-87-1-8.712.58
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets80-45-04.4659-64-2-0.532.50
Temple Owls43-67-0-5.9537-95-0-10.882.47
North Carolina State Wolfpack69-62-1-0.2150-80-0-5.012.40
Michigan State Spartans82-58-25.5370-69-20.752.39
West Virginia Mountaineers86-45-38.0772-54-03.412.33
Duke Blue Devils35-95-0-8.8832-104-1-12.861.99
Texas Longhorns98-32-012.0587-40-18.271.89
Virginia Cavaliers79-52-12.1255-77-2-1.611.87
Pittsburgh Panthers75-58-23.3158-62-3-0.291.80
Northwestern Wildcats48-92-0-10.1245-99-1-13.661.77
Arizona Wildcats76-69-11.2563-72-5-1.881.57
Illinois Fighting Illini66-75-1-1.6355-83-4-4.581.48
Georgia Bulldogs80-34-08.8276-35-26.271.28
Stanford Cardinal77-64-10.8565-80-1-1.661.26
Ball State Cardinals56-44-11.7555-43-1-0.481.12
Alabama Crimson Tide87-39-110.2687-38-18.720.77
Louisiana State Tigers80-49-23.9270-54-32.850.54

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.

This table is a must have if you are going to improve your college football handicapping.  Study it and use it to set you own lines to compare to the weekly point spreads and find your value.  Boyd’s Bets is here to help you improve your win rate this season.

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