The Michigan Wolverines had the biggest home-field advantage during the 2012 season. They most certainly did, as The Detroit News reported this week.
And folks, that's no Detroit-Michigan-Midwest slant there, it was Stadium Journey that actually put together the rankings. The ranking is not just based upon a survey, or decibel readings. Rather, as Stadium Journey explains, it uses a combination of win-loss record, average attendance, percent of capacity attendance, points scored versus points allowed, and their own Stadium Journey "Fans" Rating.
In other words, four of the five components are very real, raw numbers that it feels correlate to home-field advantage.
Obviously, Michigan's undefeated home-field record helped to boost its score. It was of course beneficial to get Alabama on a neutral site, Ohio State in Columbus, Nebraska in Lincoln and Notre Dame in South Bend, for the sake of a solid home-field score.
Michigan also has college football's largest stadium, which gives it a leg up when it comes to average attendance numbers. The Wolverines led the nation in average attendance and, from there, every school was playing catch-up because they couldn't match the Wolverines, who were already in the top spot.
With respect to percentage of capacity, Michigan tipped the scale at over 100 percent. Amazing, right? Thus, another instance where Michigan obtained a perfect score. In fact, the Wolverines scored lower than they should have because Stadium Journey topped them out at 100 percent, when they were actually at 102 percent. Other schools tied Michigan in this number, Clemson, LSU and Notre Dame for example, but no one could gain ground on Brady Hoke's team.
Which brings us to the final numbers piece of information: points scored versus points allowed. Michigan clocked in with a solid score here but schools like Alabama, Florida, Nebraska, Florida State and South Carolina beat the Wolverines here. Unfortunately, as Stadium Journey points out, it didn't help them out nearly enough:
Since this item was determined to be a minor factor compared to the others, it was weighted to a lower value.
Yup, so, basically a stat that did not hurt the Wolverines nearly enough for someone else to claw their way towards the top. When you've already got the biggest stadium yielding the highest average attendance and highest capacity attendance, losing a reduced component is not enough to give much ground.
However, we all know that just being the biggest does not give you the best home-field advantage. Folks at Oregon and Virginia Tech would attest to that. As would the people who go to night games at LSU. All things that, we think, are part of the Stadium Journey Fan Score.
The problem here is how those things are assessed and how much, in conjunction with the other information, each component should weigh. Personally, I think loudness is a component worth more than average attendance or capacity attendance. It disrupts both sides of the ball, frazzles coaches and really makes the stadium come alive. As Bruce Feldman over at CBS Sports listed his loudest experiences, three Big Ten schools made it, none of them was Michigan.
As it stands right now, following the 2012 season, Michigan is the king—at least in the Stadium Journey rankings.
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