Home/Road Factor

The fact Georgia has a 5-2 Southeastern Conference record and Tennessee has a 2-4 SEC record seems to suggest the Bulldogs are light-years ahead of the Vols in the league race. In fact, the gap is fairly small.

Georgia has played four SEC games at home, winning all four. The Vols have played just two SEC games at home, winning both. Georgia has played just three SEC road games, winning one. Tennessee has played four SEC road games, losing all four.

Bottom line: The Bulldogs have won all of their conference home games but so have the Vols. The apparent disparity in their records is mostly a function of Georgia having played twice as many homes games (4) as the Vols (2).

It's a simple fact that SEC basketball teams tend to win at home and lose on the road. Thirty-nine games into the 2006-07 season, home teams have won 29 times ... road teams just 10 times. Basically, winning at home is no big deal; LOSING at home is. Likewise, losing on the road is no big deal; WINNING on the road is.

I've devised a rating system that awards a team two points for winning on the road and deducts two points for losing at home. Home wins and road losses are discounted, since these are the norm. I call it the Home/Road Factor, and I think it provides a better perspective than typical standings.

For example: A team with a 3-1 home record and a 2-2 road record would get 4 points for the two road wins and a 2-point deduction for the home loss, producing a Home/Road Rating of PLUS-2. If the team wins its remaining home games and loses its remaining road games, it would finish 2 games over .500 at 9-7. A team with a PLUS-4 Home/Road Rating is on pace to finish 4 games over .500 ... or 10-6. A team with a ZERO rating is on pace to finish 8-8. A team with a MINUS-2 rating is on pace to finish 2 games below .500 ... or 7-9. And so on.

Consider this: With a 2-4 league record, Mississippi State ranks ahead of Ole Miss (2-5) in traditional standings. Mississippi State has lost two of four home games, however, whereas Ole Miss has lost just one of three. Neither team has won away from home but the Rebels have played twice as many road games (4) as the Bulldogs (2). Assuming each team wins its remaining home games and loses its remaining road games, Ole Miss finishes with a better record (7-9) than State (6-10). Ole Miss is actually in better shape right now, which is reflected in the fact its Home/Road rating is MINUS-2, whereas State's is MINUS-4.

That said, here are my latest calculations:

SEC EAST

Florida 3-0 at home, 3-0 away, 6-0 overall ... Home/Road rating: PLUS-6

Vanderbilt 3-0 at home, 2-2 away, 5-2 overall ... Home/Road rating: PLUS-4

Georgia 4-0 at home, 1-2 away, 5-2 overall ... Home/Road rating: PLUS-2

Kentucky 3-1 at home, 2-1 away, 5-2 overall ... Home/Road rating: PLUS-2

Tennessee 2-0 at home, 0-4 away, 2-4 overall ... Home/Road rating: ZERO

South Carolina 1-2 at home, 1-2 away, 2-4 overall ... Home/Road rating: ZERO

SEC WEST

Alabama 2-1 at home, 1-3 away, 3-4 overall ... Home/Road rating: ZERO

Auburn 3-1 at home, 0-3 away, 3-4 overall ... Home/Road rating: MINUS-2

Alabama 2-1 at home, 0-3 away, 2-4 overall ... Home/Road rating: MINUS-2

LSU 2-1 at home, 0-3 away, 2-4 overall ... Home/Road rating: MINUS-2

Ole Miss 2-1 at home, 0-4 away, 2-5 overall ... Home/Road rating: MINUS-2

Miss. State 2-2 at home, 0-2 away, 2-4 overall ... Home/Road rating: MINUS-4


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