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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sun Devil > Autzen? HFA in the Pac-10

Whenever I talk about home field advantage in the Pac-10, people love to bring up Oregon's Autzen Stadium.
And so the stories are told. How UCLA quarterback Pat Cowan lost his voice shouting audibles above the din in 2006 (Oregon 30, UCLA 20).
How Dennis Erickson, when he returned to the Pac-10 at Oregon State in 1999, didn't realize how Autzen had changed since his time at Washington State in the 1980s and neglected to create hand signals for audibles (Oregon 25, Oregon State 14).
And how USC sophomore Mark Sanchez, making only the third start of his career, threw two interceptions in 2007 (Oregon 24, USC 17). The Trojans are back, this time with an even younger quarterback, freshman Matt Barkley.

Oregon won that game 47-20.

Oregon performs better and wins more at home. Since 1994, they've won 74% of conference games at home and only 58% on the road. In fact, every team in the Pac-10 has a better win% at home than on the road in conference play, but the margin is relatively slim. Home teams have won 56% of games and outscored opponents by 5.5 points in the last 16 years, significantly less than the 7 point national average.

And Oregon does not stand out in its own conference. In fact, the only team in the Pac-10 to really differentiate itself with a strong home field advantage is Arizona St - they have been almost 10 points better and 50% more likely to win when playing at Sun Devil Stadium. Cal and UCLA also make a strong showing.

The easiest place to play in the Pac-10 is next door at Arizona Stadium. In fact, Arizona gets very little advantage whatsoever from playing at home.

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