Home field advantage. We know what it means in basketball, but what does it mean in football in the MAC. Before I started, my gut instinct was that it means less than it does in basketball. I would have expected home teams to win about 60% of their home games in our conference. Let's see:
Counting conference games only, the home team was 27-21 in the MAC, which is 56.3%. I actually think this is pretty remarkable. There simply is not a huge home field advantage in the aggregate in the MAC. Not to put too fine a point on it, but an even split would be 24-24 so there are only three games advantage over 13 teams.
That got me thinking, though. Maybe some outliers are dragging that figure down. These 7 MAC teams had winning home records:
- BG (3-1)
- Buffalo (3-1)
- CMU (2-1)
- Miami (3-0)
- Ohio (3-1)
- Temple (3-1)
- Toledo (3-1)
So, put another way, 7 of the 13 teams in the MAC had winning records at home. That's less than you would expect, for sure. These teams were 20-6, however, but that's a little misleading because except for Miami, each of those teams is really only one game over a .500 record.
Except for Toledo and Temple, they also represent the best teams in the conference. (with such a small universe, the reasoning gets pretty circular in a hurry, they almost HAVE to be the teams with the best record).
Akron and Ball State were 2-2 at home, meaning that counting nine of the thirteen teams in the MAC, teams were 24-10. (71%)
The final four. Ouch. Damn.
- Kent 0-4
- EMU 1-2
- NIU 1-2
- WMU 1-3
Sorry tale: 3-11.
So, the conclusion of our little study: it is hard to beat a good team on the road in the MAC. There remain woeful teams in our conference who are beatable even on their home field, but a road win still has value in the MAC, especially when playing a contender. Its just not as widespread or as pervasive as in basketball.