We must defend this house!
The first thing a good team does is create a home-field advantage. No team wants a visitor to feel comfortable. And fans take pride in creating atmosopheres that intimidate or at least deafen.
So which Pac-12 team is decidedly better at home than on the road?
Here's our list based on the past three years comparing overall record to home-field record, the final number being the winning percentage difference.
1. UCLA: 19-21 overall (.475); 13-6 home (.684); Difference: (.209)
2. Washington: 21-18 (.539); 14-5 (.737): Difference: (.198)
3. Oregon State: 17-20 (.460); 12-7 (.632); Difference: (.172)
4. Arizona State: 20-18 (.526); 13-6 (.684); Difference: (.158)
5. California: 15-22 (.405); *11-9 (.550); Difference: (.145)
6. Washington State: 9-27 (.250); 6-10 (.375): Difference: (.125)
7. Arizona: 19-19 (.500); 13-8 (.591); Difference: (.091)
8. Stanford: 35-5 (.875); 19-1 (.950); Difference: (.075)
9. Utah: 23-15 (.605); 12-6 (.667); Difference: (.062)
10. Colorado: 9-28 (.243); 5-12 (.294); Difference: (.051)
11. USC: 25-13 (.658); 13-6 (.684); Difference: (.026)
12. Oregon: 36-4 (.900); 19-2 (.905); Difference (.005)
*Includes one year playing home games in San Francisco, away from Memorial Stadium. This counts AT&T Park and Candlestick Park as home games in 2011.
First, every Pac-12 team is better at home than on the road. Some decidedly so.
Second, obviously there are holes in this methodology.
For one, Colorado's and Utah's records include a year not playing in the Pac-12. Second, a lot of this depends on which teams you play at home. And, well, who you are -- good teams make their own home-field advantage by being good and vice versa. Third, there's a variance for how many home, road and neutral-site games each team played. Fourth, when you win just about every game -- or lose just about every one -- the margins might not be that informative.
Still, there are some interesting tidbits here:
Washington and UCLA were both 3-3 at home in 2010, so they've both been very good at home the past two seasons. And both programs, particularly the Huskies, need to learn to win on the road in order to move up the conference and national pecking order.
Oregon State went 2-4 at home during its 3-9 2011 disaster, which feels more and more like an anomaly.
These home records aren't flukes. The best wins for the top-four teams over the past three years almost entirely happened at home.
USC has a decisively better road record than UCLA, but they are both 13-6 at home the past three years. Anyone remember when the Trojans won 35 in a row inside the Coliseum?
Folks give Stanford fans crud for not showing up or being mellow, but the Cardinal's home record -- 19-1 -- is the best in the conference. Even Alabama has lost two home games over the past two seasons.
Utah was 6-1 at Rice-Eccles Stadium in 2010. It's 7-5 there in two years of Pac-12 play.
Four of Colorado's home wins came in 2010, when the Buffaloes were still in the Big 12.
Is it meaningful that teams that win 40 to 50 percent of their games are best at home? That, for the lack of a better term, mediocrity is best served by home cooking?
Feel free to discuss.