Home-Road Factor

Big Orange fans needn't get too excited because Wednesday's defeat of Mississippi State moved Tennessee into a second-place tie in the SEC East standings. The Vols still face the longest odds of the four contenders to win the division.

With a 9-4 conference record, South Carolina has a one-game lead on the 8-5 Vols. Kentucky stands 8-5, too, but the Wildcats already swept the season series with UT, giving them the head-to-head tiebreaker. Florida, also 8-5, has a leg up on the Vols, as well. Like UK, the Gators play two of their three remaining games at home, whereas UT must play two of its remaining three on the road. If you don't think that's significant you haven't been paying attention.

Six SEC games were played last Saturday, and the home team won all six. Six more SEC games were played Tuesday and Wednesday nights, with the home team winning all six of those, as well. That's pretty much the norm in this league; SEC teams tend to win at home and lose on the road.

As noted in previous articles, I built this tendency into a ratings system I call the Home-Road Factor. Whereas traditional standings tend to reward a team that has padded its record with home wins and punish a team that has played (and lost) more road games, my Home-Road ratings avoid this pitfall by ignoring home wins and road losses. Instead, I award two points for each road win and deduct two points for each home loss. This gives a truer picture of how a team stands in relation to its division rivals.

The Home-Road ratings also serve to project a team's final record. A plus-4 rating means a team that wins its remaining home games and loses its remaining road games will finish four games over .500 ... or 10-6. A plus-2 rating means a team that wins its remaining home games and loses its remaining road games will finish two games over .500 ... or 9-7.

While traditional standings show South Carolina with a one-game lead over Florida, Kentucky and UT, my Home-Road ratings show that, unless someone can break through and win a road game, the Gamecocks, Gators and Wildcats are on pace to finish in a three-way tie at 10-6, with UT in fourth place at 9-7.

That said, here's a look at the newest SEC Home-Road ratings, with each team's projected final record in parenthesis:

EASTERN DIVISION

S.Carolina 7-0 home 2-4 road 9-4 total .... PLUS-4 ... (10-6)

Florida 6-0 home 2-5 road 8-5 total .... PLUS-4 ... (10-6)

Kentucky 4-2 home 4-3 road 8-5 total .... PLUS-4 ... (10-6)

Tennessee 5-2 home 3-3 road 8-5 total .... PLUS-2 ... (9-7)

Vanderbilt 4-2 home 1-6 road 5-8 total .... MINUS-2 ... (7-9)

Georgia 2-5 home 0-6 road 2-11 total .... MINUS-10 ... (3-13)

WESTERN DIVISION

Louisiana St. 7-0 home 5-1 road 12-1 total .... PLUS-10 ... (13-3)

Miss. State 4-2 home 3-4 road 7-6 total .... PLUS-2 ... (9-7)

Ole Miss 5-1 home 1-6 road 6-7 total .... ZERO ... (8-8)

Auburn 5-2 home 2-4 road 7-6 total .... ZERO ... (8-8)

Alabama 5-2 home 0-6 road 5-8 total .... MINUS-4 ... (6-10)

Arkansas 1-5 home 0-7 road 1-12 total .... MINUS-10 ... (3-13)


Inside Tennessee Top Stories