Home-field advantage? No fans proving to have dramatic impact on results
The general consensus across the country is that the Big Ten and Pac-12 are being excessively cautious in their Covid-19 protocols surrounding athletic competition, and their extra tight squeeze may be having a direct negative effect on their teams during games played at home.
While the SEC, ACC, Big XII, and other leagues are allowing a certain percentage of fans into stadiums to watch games each week, the Big Ten and Pac-12 have all along stepped hard on the idea of allowing anyone into their stadiums beyond the teams and, in some cases, family members.
This means that programs with big ballparks and huge followings are being forced to play at home with towering, empty stadiums staring down at them, and much of the outside energy drained from the game, and it appears to be taking a toll.
According to an article in the Toledo Blade, the 2020 home-team winning percentage at 62.5 ranks outside of the historical top ten. Across 235 FBS games the overall home record sits at 147-88, though the winning percentage has crept up three points over the last five weeks as more and more stadiums have begun allowing fans back inside to cheer. The NCAA began keeping records on home-field advantage all the way back in 1966.
Most conferences play their league games on a home-and-home schedule, giving one school an opportunity to play in front of their own fans and community each season and to reap the economic harvest of tickets sold, concessions purchased, and community businesses, including hotels, patronized. It also gave the home team an improved opportunity to win with so many raucous supporters always at their back.
But for those playing at home in 2020 they may just have to live with the fact that advantage was taken from them for a year.