College Football Bowl Game Travel Distances: No Home-Field Advantage?

The Wall Street Journal takes a look at bowl game travel distances in an attempt to disprove the fact that teams that travel shorter distances win a majority of their bowl games:

"In the coming college bowl season, San Diego State plays in San Diego, Hawaii makes the long hike to Honolulu from its main campus in Manoa, and Maryland might as well take the Metro to its game at Washington's RFK Stadium.

But all that shouldn't discourage teams like Tulsa, Boston College and Stanford, all of which will trek more than 2,500 miles for their final games. In 163 bowl games over the past five years, the team that was forced to travel farther is 83-80."

We've already noted how BC has been racking up the bowl game frequent flier miles as a member of the ACC, as well as the fact that bowl committees love to pit BC against more local opponents in their bowl games. But does this five-year trend also hold true for ACC teams?

Over the last five seasons, the ACC has played 41 bowl games. In 21 of those games, the ACC was the team that had to travel the shorter distance to their bowl game. The ACC as a conference is 10-11 in those games. Overall, the team that traveled the shorter distance was 20-21 in bowl games. The same trend seems to hold in the ACC (though I'm sure the ACC's craptastic bowl record over the last five seasons hasn't helped).

The Eagles are the only ACC team that has had to travel further in all of their bowl games over the last five season. BC is 3-2 in those games, though they have dropped each of their last two games. Virginia Tech, Florida State and Georgia Tech were the closer team in three of their last five bowl games, while Clemson -- believe it or not -- has been the closer bowl team just two times in the last five seasons. For Virginia Tech, Florida State and Clemson, the closer bowl team is 3-2. For Georgia Tech's last five bowl games, the closer team is 2-3.

Virginia, N.C. State and North Carolina have each been to two bowls each during that span and have been the closer team in both of their bowl games. Virginia and N.C. State are 1-1, while North Carolina is 0-2.

The top five deltas in terms of travel distance over the last five years all involve either the Humanitarian Bowl or the Emerald Bowl, naturally. The highest delta occurred in 2008, when Miami traveled 3,101 miles further than Cal for the Emerald Bowl. The other four - the 2009 Emerald Bowl (BC's 3,102 miles to USC's 348), the 2005 MPC Computers Bowl (BC's 2,665 miles to Boise State's zero), the 2006 MPC Computers Bowl (Miami's 2,840 to Nevada's 421) and the 2006 Emerald Bowl (Florida State's 2,633 miles to UCLA's 377).

ACC Bowl Travel Distances and Results (2005-2009)

Year Bowl Location ACC Distance Opponent Distance Closer Team Winner
2005 Humanitarian Boise BC 2,665 Boise St. 0 Boise St. BC
2006 Meineke Charlotte BC 863 Navy 430 Navy BC
2007 Champs Sports Orlando BC 1,297 Mich. St. 1,210 Mich. St. BC
2008 Music City Nashville BC 1,104 Vanderbilt 4 Vanderbilt Vanderbilt
2009 Emerald San Fran BC 3,102 USC 348 USC USC
2005 Champs Sports Orlando Clemson 526 Colorado 1,570 Clemson Clemson
2006 Music City Nashville Clemson 317 Kentucky 213 Kentucky Kentucky
2007 Peach Atlanta Clemson 124 Auburn 112 Auburn Auburn
2008 Gator Jacksonville Clemson 360 Nebraska 1,314 Clemson Nebraska
2009 Music City Nashville Clemson 317 Kentucky 213 Kentucky Clemson
2005 Orange Miami FSU 468 Penn St. 1,243 FSU Penn St.
2006 Emerald San Fran FSU 2,633 UCLA 377 UCLA FSU
2007 Music City Nashville FSU 490 Kentucky 213 Kentucky Kentucky
2008 Champs Sports Orlando FSU 257 Wisconsin 1,278 FSU FSU
2009 Gator Jacksonville FSU 164 WVU 760 FSU FSU
2005 Emerald San Fran Ga. Tech 2,476 Utah 739 Utah Utah
2006 Gator Jacksonville Ga. Tech 319 WVU 760 Ga. Tech WVU
2007 Humanitarian Boise Ga. Tech 2,171 Fresno St. 720 Fresno St. Fresno St.
2008 Peach Atlanta Ga. Tech 2 LSU 525 Ga. Tech LSU
2009 Orange Miami Ga. Tech 653 Iowa 1,464 Ga. Tech Iowa
2006 Champs Sports Orlando Maryland 860 Purdue 1,038 Maryland Maryland
2007 Emerald San Fran Maryland 2,814 Oregon St. 573 Oregon St. Oregon St.
2008 Humanitarian Boise Maryland 2,376 Nevada 421 Nevada Maryland
2005 Peach Atlanta Miami 668 LSU 525 LSU Miami
2006 Humanitarian Boise Miami 2,840 Nevada 421 Nevada Miami
2008 Emerald San Fran Miami 3,116 Cal 15 Cal Cal
2009 Champs Sports Orlando Miami 240 Wisconsin 1,278 Miami Wisconsin
2005 Meineke Charlotte NC State 169 USF 575 NC State NC State
2008 Papajohns.com Birmingham NC State 560 Rutgers 834 NC State Rutgers
2008 Meineke Charlotte UNC 139 WVU 379 UNC WVU
2009 Meineke Charlotte UNC 139 Pitt 448 UNC Pitt
2005 Music City Nashville Virginia 546 Minnesota 870 Virginia Virginia
2007 Gator Jacksonville Virginia 636 Texas Tech 1,205 Virginia Texas Tech
2005 Gator Jacksonville Va. Tech 555 Louisville 733 Va. Tech Va. Tech
2006 Peach Atlanta Va. Tech 415 Georgia 69 Georgia Georgia
2007 Orange Miami Va. Tech 889 Kansas 1,490 Va. Tech Kansas
2008 Orange Miami Va. Tech 889 Cincinnati 1,114 Va. Tech Va. Tech
2009 Peach Atlanta Va. Tech 415 Tennessee 214 Tennessee Va. Tech
2006 Orange Miami Wake 798 Louisville 1,068 Wake Louisville
2007 Meineke Charlotte Wake 83 Uconn 793 Wake Wake
2008 EagleBank Washington Wake 343 Navy 32 Navy Wake

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