As noted previously in the space, SEC teams historically win at home and lose on the road. That makes each road win cause for celebration and makes each home loss cause for alarm. And that's why the Home-Road Factor exists. Unlike regular division standings, it reveals WHERE a team is winning by providing two points for each road win and deducting two for each home loss.
Tennessee picked up a home win (vs. Florida) and a road win (at LSU) in the past week, improving the Vols to 4-0 at home and 4-1 on the road. They suffer no point deductions since they have no home losses. They get eight bonus points for the four road wins, giving them a Home-Road Factor of plus 8.
One week ago, Vanderbilt was 3-0 at home and 0-4 on the road. By virtue of zero home losses and zero road wins, the Commodores had a Home-Road Factor of zero. By beating both Georgia and South Carolina on the road in the past seven days, however, Vandy improved from zero to plus-4.
What does it all mean? At plus-8, Tennessee is on course to finish eight games above .500 (12-4) if it wins all of its remaining SEC home games and loses all of its remaining SEC road games. At plus-4, Vandy is on track to finish four games above .500 (10-6) if its wins all of its remaining SEC home games and loses all of its remaining SEC road games.
Kentucky and Florida also check in at plus-4, which means the Vols essentially have a two-game lead over the Wildcats, the Gators and the Commodores in the Eastern Division race. Here's the rub: If Kentucky wins Tuesday night at Vanderbilt AND Tennessee loses Wednesday night at home vs. Arkansas, the Big Blue will improve to plus-6 and the Vols will drop to plus-6, leaving UT and UK deadlocked. Both teams then would be on track to finish six games above .500 (11-5) in league play.
Here are the the latest Home-Road Factor rankings:
Tennessee 4-0 home, 4-1 road ..... plus 8
Kentucky 4-0 home, 2-2 road ..... plus 4
Florida 4-0 home, 2-3 road ..... plus 4
Vanderbilt 3-0 home, 2-4 road ..... plus 4
S.Carolina 1-3 home, 2-2 road ..... minus 2
Georgia 2-2 home, 0-4 road ..... minus 4
Miss. State 4-1 home, 3-1 road ..... plus 4
Arkansas 4-1 home, 2-1 road ..... plus 2
Ole Miss 3-1 home, 0-4 road ..... minus 2
Auburn 1-4 home, 1-3 road ..... minus 6
La. State 0-4 home, 1-3 road ..... minus 6
Alabama 2-3 home, 0-4 road ..... minus 6