Phil Steele is a one-man college football prediction cottage industry, so when he speaks, people tend to listen.
Faced with a deluge of emails asking how he ranks something as arbitrary as "home field advantage," Steele says he used 27 different factors in this year's rankings, there are nine factors he takes into account every year:
- Stadium capacity.
- Actual attendance reported by the school.
- Percentage of capacity.
- Previous year's win:loss record at home.
- Last three years' win:loss record at home.
- Last five years' win:loss record at home.
- Previous year's win:loss record at home against the spread.
- Previous three years' win:loss record at home against the spread.
- Previous five years' win:loss record at home against the spread.
Steele explains what happens next:
I then factor in the 9 categories from the 2012 and 2011 seasons, which gives me 27 categories for the computer to factor in and I have them appropriately weighted. I then look at the computer’s grade, which had Alabama #1 with a 5.56 home edge, South Carolina #2 at 5.49 and Baylor #3 at 5.49. At the bottom the computer has Idaho #128 at 2.00, Georgia St #127 at 2.01 and Eastern Michigan #126 at 2.06.
The final category is my own personal grade. I have 12 TV’s in front of me and watch 12 games all day long on Saturday and watch every nighttime game on ESPN. I can hear the crowd noise at each stadium and I weigh in how many times I thought it was a factor in a game. I look at how good the team has been the last 5 years and what percentage of games they win at home and on the road in my personal evaluation.
Twelve TVs showing 12 games all day long? PHIL STEELE IS TRULY OMNIPOTENT.
Anyway, here's the top 15 schools in his rankings. No surprise Ohio Stadium gives the Buckeyes quite the boost.
|SCHOOL||Home field advantage|
As you can see, simply playing at home is almost akin to a free touchdown for Ohio State. And since the Buckeyes will be breaking in a redshirt freshman at quarterback, Ohio State will need every point they can muster, through arcane methods or otherwise.