Home Field Edge And Difficult 2011 ACC Road Football Schedules

Does Virginia Tech's Lane Stadium give the Hokies the greatest home field edge in the ACC? (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images)

This week, Phil Steele explained how he computes each team's home field advantage in his preseason magazine. Steele uses nine different individual factors over a three year period to rate a program's home field edge.

Here is a look at Steele's 2011 home field edge ratings in the ACC:

1. Virginia Tech 5.75
2. Clemson 4.5
3. Boston College 4.25
3. Florida State 4.25
3. Georgia Tech 4.25
6. N.C. State 4
7. Maryland 3.75
8. North Carolina 3.5
8. Wake Forest 3.5
8. Virginia 3.5
11. Miami 3.25
12. Duke 2.25

I thought it was surprising to see BC ranked third highest in the conference -- tied with Florida State and Georgia Tech -- especially when you consider that Steele's first two categories are stadium capacity (Alumni is 10th largest in the ACC) and actual attendance (smallish stadium, lower total attendance). However, some of the other factors like home W-L, three year home W-L and performance ATS play into the Eagles favor in these calculations.

We've already discussed BC's difficult 2011 road stretch of Clemson, Virginia Tech and Maryland, but how does the Eagles' overall road schedule stack up against the rest of the conference? If you take Steele's home field edge and sum up the total for each ACC program's conference road sched, you arrive at a rough measure of how difficult each program's 2011 road sched is.

Here are the top 5 highest total home field edge stats for ACC teams in 2011 (road sched in parenthesis):

1. North Carolina (Georgia Tech, Clemson, N.C. State, Virginia Tech) -- 18.5
2. Clemson (Virginia Tech, Maryland, Georgia Tech, N.C. State) -- 17.75
3. Boston College (Clemson, Virginia Tech, Maryland, Miami) -- 17.25
4. Miami (Maryland, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Florida State) -- 16.75
5. Maryland (Georgia Tech, Florida State, Wake Forest, N.C. State) -- 16

Naturally, anyone that draws Virginia Tech on the road will rank atop the conference in terms of opponent home field edge (given their overwhelming edge in this measure), as is the case with the top four totals in the conference. North Carolina has a particularly difficult road schedule that includes trips to Atlanta, Clemson, Raleigh and Blacksburg. Thought it was interesting to see none of the top five here have to travel to Chestnut Hill to play the Eagles despite Steele's 4.25 home field edge for BC.  

Here are the top five lowest home edge totals:

1. Georgia Tech (N.C. State, Virginia, Miami, Duke) -- 13
2. Virginia Tech (Wake Forest, Duke, Georgia Tech, Virginia) -- 13.5
3. Duke (Boston College, Miami, Virginia, North Carolina) -- 14.5
3. Florida State (Clemson, Wake Forest, Duke, Boston College) -- 14.5
3. Wake Forest (Boston College, Duke, North Carolina, Clemson) -- 14.5

Here, the top three programs on this list are all from the Coastal, which makes sense when you consider that Miami, Virginia and Duke rank towards the bottom of the conference according to Steele's home field edge measure. It's easy to see why Virginia Tech and Florida State are the prohibitive favorites to win their respective divisions this year. Other than the fact that most think both programs return the most talent in the conference, both have very manageable road schedules that include trips to Duke and Wake Forest. Combine Virginia Tech's ACC road sched with a non-conference sched of four body bags and you start to realize why the over/under on Hokies wins in 2011 has been set at 10.

Admittedly, this is a fairly crude measure of strength of ACC road schedule -- which puts a heavy weight on prior home success and doesn't consider other factors such as returning starters, date/time (including Thursday night contests) and schedule timing (placement of bye weeks). But I did think this was mildly interesting in seeing which programs have a tough road ahead in 2011. Your thoughts?

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