Are Ducks vulnerable in Autzen?
Evaluating the true home-field advantage for Oregon, OU, FSU and ND
Four prime-time matchups between undefeated top 25 teams are slated for Saturday night. All four games may have an impact on the national championship race, and three of the four will figure significantly into conference races for potential BCS bowl games as well. And in each matchup -- Arizona at Oregon, Michigan at Notre Dame, Kansas State at Oklahoma, and Clemson at Florida State -- the home team is expected to triumph.
College football home-field advantage can range from three to seven points on average, according to our research, but it's difficult to pinpoint how much the home field may influence a particular outcome. It can get awfully loud in Autzen Stadium when Oregon is at its best, for instance, but can we measure the impact of that environment in the box score? If a team scores a few more points at home than it would on a neutral field, how are those points earned?
To find out, we dug into offense, defense and special teams efficiency data in the past five seasons for Oregon, Oklahoma, Notre Dame and Florida State and then ran another set of numbers considering only home games for those teams during the same time period. For this analysis, we considered only non-garbage drives, eliminating clock-kill possessions and end-of-half kneel downs. Comparing the two data sets may give us an indication of what to expect this weekend -- how these top teams best take advantage at home, and how they might be vulnerable.
Home record since '07: 33-4
To read how much home-field help the Ducks, and others, you must be an ESPN Insider.
Brian FremeauESPN Insider
• Creator of the Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI), a measure of college football team efficiency
• Contributor to Football Outsiders and his own site, bcftoys.com
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