Success at home can only take a team so far

Published 11:11 pm Thursday, July 10, 2008

Home field advantage usually means the difference between winning and losing in college football. Usually, you’re best teams are almost invincible at home, and that is why EA Sports has once again ranked the top 25 toughest stadiums in the nation.

It’s hard to argue with the No. 1 stadium – Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La. LSU has been one of the best home teams in recent years. While they have been good, they aren’t invincible at home. Just ask Arkansas. The Razorbacks were the only team to beat LSU on the Bayou. Other than that loss, LSU has only lost once at home over the last three seasons.

Florida is also a difficult place, coming in at No. 2. Even as difficult as Florida is in the Swamp, Auburn’s Wes Byrum kicked the Gators in the mouth – twice albeit – to give the Tigers a 20-17 win at Florida Field.

Rounding out the top five are two-time runner-up Ohio State, Penn State and Tennessee. All three are large and difficult stadiums, and the home team doesn’t lose at home very often.

Oklahoma, Oregon, Wisconsin, Virginia Tech and Nebraska are the next five that make up the entire top 10. Other notable stadiums in the top 25 are No. 11 USC, No. 13 Michigan, No. 15 Notre Dame, No. 18 Alabama and No. 19 Auburn.

Now, I’m not necessarily one to judge, but how can Michigan be a tougher place to play than Alabama or Auburn if a 1-AA Appalachian State can beat the Wolverines at home? I know both Alabama and Auburn lost to weak opponents at home, but losing to a lower classification team is inexcusable.

Even though home field is a big factor in college football, I think a team’s ability to win on the road is much more important than a team’s home field advantage. Usually, the teams that perform well on the road are the ones that will be in the national championship hunt every year. I mean, when you have to go through a season undefeated or with one loss, you’re going to have to win almost all of your road games.

In both 2003 and 2007, LSU lost one game at home, but they overcame that to finish the season as national champions. The Tigers could only do that by winning big games on the road.

While it’s great to have home field advantage, you have to win on the road to be champions.