If you believe home field advantage is purely the result of fans influencing officiating, then Big Ten refs are the fairest in the land and Pac 12 refs are the biggest “homers.” Pac-12 teams typically are more than eight points better at home than on the road, while Big Ten teams are barely five points better at home than on the road in a comparison of 101 conferences, but neither are close to the 12.8 points swing for the Saskatchewan Huskies and the other Canadian West teams (see table of home advantages vs. a neutral field below based on www.masseyratings.com).
The tiny advantage in the Big Ten truly is remarkable in light of the huge crowds that certainly disrupt opponents’ from changing plays at the line of scrimmage. However, despite the larger advantage out west, this is not necessarily the result of bad calls. Even in the NFL, east coast teams have a disadvantage after flying three time zones to the west, and likewise enjoy an advantage at home as Auburn will against Washington State this weekend. The number is also the disadvantage a team faces on the road. Another consideration is that while BCS conferences will insist on their own referees when bringing in smaller conferences to play, in match-ups between BCS conferences it is referees from the opposing conference that are often on the field.
Years ago the Houston Astros enjoyed the biggest home field advantage in baseball as they played in the Houston Astrodome, where the Astros could take care advantage of their speed since it was virtually impossible for opponents to hit home runs in the park. Stat guru Bill James reported that film studies showed the Astros actually had a huge road disadvantage, rather than home advantage, because they were adjusting their swings to upper cuts on the road and level swings at home.
A Breitbart Sports review of the 101 conferences (or divisions) he evaluates, shows the biggest home advantage of all is in the Canadian West League where teams get a 6.4 advantage over a neutral field (half of the home vs. away figure), which is a much bigger advantage than the much better Canadian teams back east in the RSEQ, which you can read about here if you speak French.
Big Ten schools have also long contended that Bowl records are skewed because they are located in the regions of the other BCS conferences, making them almost away games for Big Ten teams. While it has been hard to get football fans to travel to Detroit for a December game in a dome, the Canadian football players have to take on the elements to win the Canadian title. The dominant team in Canada the Université Laval Rouge et Or (or Red and gold) in Quebec City and their rivals in Montreal are FBS-level teams according to www.masseyratings.com. and the Rouge et Or once had to beat the Saskatchewan Huskies in temperatures below 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
The two divisions in the Mountain West Conference also enjoy a bigger home advantage than their counterparts in Conference USA and others. The following is the list of the top 20 home advantages by conference followed by where the other BCS (and big Canadian conference) rank among the 101. While SEC fans routinely complain about ACC referees that call games in SEC stadiums, the fact is the SEC actually has a slightly bigger home advantage (3.0 points per game in both divisions) than the ACC (2.8 and 2.7).
|7||Pac 12 South||4.4|
|11||Great Plains AC||4.0|
|13||Pac 12 North||3.9|
|36||American Athletic (Big East)||3.1|
|49||Big Ten Legends||2.7|
|57||Big Ten Leaders||2.5|