College Football

Home not sweet to some teams

Staff WriterNovember 19, 2009 

  • The 12 teams in the ACC are 500-255 at home in the 2000s, including a 43-27 mark this season. The home records for the ACC teams since 2000 and since expansion in 2004:

    From 2000 to 2009

    x-Virginia Tech 56-10, .848

    y-Boston College 51-12, .810

    x-Miami50-12, .806

    Clemson49-17, .742

    Florida State44-17, .721

    Maryland45-18, .714

    Georgia Tech44-18, .710

    Virginia43-20, .682

    N.C. State39-28, .582

    Wake Forest34-29, .539

    North Carolina33-30, .524

    Duke12-47, .203

    Since 2004

    Virginia Tech34-5, .872

    Boston College33-5, .868

    Clemson29-10, .744

    Georgia Tech28-10, .737

    Miami26-11, .703

    Florida State24-13, .649

    Virginia24-13, .649

    Wake Forest24-14, .632

    North Carolina24-15, .615

    Maryland22-15, .595

    N.C. State19-22, .463

    Duke8-27, .229

    Notes: x-Virginia Tech and Miami joined the ACC in 2004; y-Boston College joined the ACC in 2005.

The ACC took the "advantage" out of home-field advantage Saturday when the home team lost five of six conference games.

The road team was the favorite in four of those games, so it wasn't a surprise of epic proportions, but it was still a statistical irregularity. Since the calendar hit 2000, the 12 teams currently in the ACC have won two-thirds of their home games (500 of 755).

The winning percentage this season is slightly lower (61.4 percent), with the home team going 43-27. Cut away the fat from the nonconference schedules, and the home-field "advantage" is little more than a coin-flip (56.4), with the home team going 22-17 in ACC play.

How's this for a brilliant deduction? Good teams win at home. You don't need to crunch numbers to know that, but the top of the division standings provide proof. In the Atlantic Division, Clemson's 5-1 at home, including a 3-0 ACC mark, and Boston College is 6-0, with a 3-0 ACC mark. In the Coastal Division, Georgia Tech is 5-0 overall at home, and 4-0 in league games, while both Virginia Tech and Miami are 4-1 overall at home, 2-1 in ACC games.

The bad teams - surprise - are bad at home, with Virginia (1-5), Maryland (2-4) and N.C. State (3-4) demonstrating the No. 1 reason they each were eliminated from bowl contention before Thanksgiving.

Some highlights from the home records for each ACC team since 2000, and since expansion:

Suffering fans of the Cleveland Indians or Chicago Cubs have little, other than legitimate in-game access to alcohol, on fans of the four ACC schools in the state of North Carolina.

The bottom four teams over the course of the decade are Duke (12-47), UNC (33-30), Wake Forest (34-29) and N.C. State (39-28). The not-so "Big" Four also are the only ACC programs that won less than two-thirds of their home games.

The only two teams since the first wave of expansion (2004) with a losing record at home are Duke (8-27) and N.C. State (19-22). N.C. State's record is even less impressive when you consider seven of the Wolfpack's 19 home wins have come against Division I-AA, or Football Championship Subdivision opponents, since 2004.

Bowl season is the season to dump on Boston College, and no doubt the Eagles will lead the league again in travel mileage to their bowl destination. However, the Eagles sure know how to win at home.

They are 51-12 in the 2000s and a staggering 29-4 since joining the ACC in 2005. Lest you interpret that as a sign of smart scheduling, only three of those 29 home wins came against lower Division I teams. The Eagles also are 15-4 in ACC home games.

There's a message in that won-loss record for programs, coaches, players and fans, who think bigger is always better. BC's Alumni Stadium, which holds 44,500, is nice enough, but it's not exactly intimidating, or especially voluminous. As UNC basketball coach Roy Williams likes to say, players win games, not buildings.

The three best records in the 2000s belong to Virginia Tech (56-10), BC (51-12) and Miami (50-12). Maybe that was the real motive for expansion -- to give the existing ACC teams an extra road loss, or two, per year.

The Hokies (34-5), Eagles (33-4) and Clemson (29-10) have the best winning percentage since Virginia Tech and Miami joined the league in 2004.

Like every other aspect of Miami football, the Hurricanes' home winning percentage has taken a hit since joining the ACC. The Canes were 24-1 at home in the Orange Bowl before expansion and 26-11 post-expansion (playing in the Orange Bowl until 2007 and at Land Shark Stadium since.

Duke had nowhere to go but up, but coach David Cutcliffe, 5-8 in home games, looks like Bud Wilkinson compared to the combined 7-39 mark for Carl Franks and Ted Roof.

Butch Davis, 14-6 in three seasons at home, also has improved on predecessor John Bunting's home mark - 10-9 in his final three seasons - at UNC.

But Cutcliffe and Davis are novices compared to Georgia Tech second-year coach Paul Johnson, who's 11-1 at home.

And, last but not least, you know it's time for Al Groh to go when he can't hold serve at home. Groh entered the year with a sterling 38-13 home record but has stumbled to 1-5 at Scott Stadium this season, the first time he has won less than four home games in a season in his nine-year tenure.

jp.giglio@newsobserver.com or 919-829-8938

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