We're on the road this week, with four days of annual meetings in NC followed by a family wedding in Memphis. We'll be back to the college football Top 25 next week upon returning to Virginia, but I'll pass along whatever I find interesting while on the road. Today, it's EA Sports' rankings for Home Field Advantage in NCAA08:
10. Notre Dame Stadium - Notre Dame
09. Michigan Stadium - Michigan
08. DKR Memorial Stadium - Texas
07. Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum - Southern Cal
06. Neyland Stadium - Tennessee
05. Lane Stadium - Virginia Tech
04. Beaver Stadium - Penn State
03. Tiger Stadium - LSU
02. Ohio Stadium - Ohio State
01. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium - Florida
Let me be the first to say that it's ridiculous, though understandable from a marketing standpoint, that Southern Cal cracked the top ten on this list. Playing the Trojans is intimidating. Playing at the Coliseum is not. There are a dozen SEC/ACC/Big 12/Big 10 schools who are cussing EA Sports over this right now, and rightfully so.
I've been to The Swamp, and it's impressive. I've also been to Lane Stadium, and while it's not as loud based on sheer attendance size, it is very, very intimidating. My experience is that once you get to a certain point, it's all just loud - playing at Auburn, Florida, LSU or Tennessee is intimidating in the SEC, and I don't think one of them is any moreso than the others. It's just loud. There have been moments at Neyland - Collins Cooper's missed FG in overtime in the TN/Florida game in 98, Travis Stephens scoring on the screen pass against Georgia in 01, Cedric Houston breaking loose on the second play from scrimmage against Miami in 02, James Wilhoit from 50 yards at the end of the TN/Florida game in 04 - where it got so loud, you literally couldn't hear your own voice coming out of your mouth. And it's no different at other schools on this list. So while everybody's got a beef over who's number one, I'd say that for most of these schools, it's just flat out intimidating for the opposition, period. The teams at the top of this list have difference making crowds. And that's what Home Field Advantage is all about.
Don't tell the folks in Ceres that Virginia Tech was ranked higher than Tennessee.