Fifty shades of football: Day 20

(We’re counting down to the first Saturday of college football, now 31 days away)

As a little throw-in in the midst of all that data Phil Steele throws at you in his magazine, he lists his estimated homefield advantage for every team. We looked at the SEC Eastern Division on Tuesday, so let’s take a look at the SEC Western teams:

Alabama: 5.5-point advantage

Arkansas: 5.5

LSU: 5.25

Auburn 4.75

Texas A&M 4.75

Mississippi State 3.75

Ole Miss 3.0

As we noted yesterday, USA Today’s Jeff Sagarin assigns a generic 3.0-point home advantage for any team, so Ole Miss – from Steele’s perspective – has no additional edge playing at home compared to any other team playing at home. The Rebels are 4-10 at home over the past two seasons.

I read an essay recently that was publushed last year that tried to argue Mississippi State as having a significant homefield advantage based on real performance compared to projected result, but the fact is the Bulldogs are 28-36 at home in the past decade, 10-10 for Dan Mullen.

LSU is 62-8 at home in the past decade, with 17 home wins in a row. Alabama is 55-17, but that loss at home last year to LSU, and one the year before to Auburn, suggests that it is possible for a (very slightly) inferior opponent to win at Bryant-Denny.

The SEC West team with the best record “against the spread” at home over the last 10 years is actually Arkansas. Which suggests a little something about true homefield advantage.