Home vs. road: Big East football's best, worst
I'll open with an obscure statistical trivia question: Over the past four seasons of Big East play, which teams have had the biggest disparity between their record at home and their record on the road? I'll give you a clue: neither of the two largest disparities belongs to USF. We'll get to the answer in a sec.
You know that good teams win at home in college football. Consider the Big East since USF joined in 2005: Take away Syracuse's abysmal 2-12 home record, and the rest of the league is 65-33 at home, winning nearly two out of three games. But that dominance is spread out pretty evenly -- consider these home conference records: West Virginia 11-3, Louisville 10-4, Rutgers 10-4, Cincinnati 9-5, USF 9-5, Pittsburgh 8-6, Connecticut 8-6. Not a huge difference from the best in the league to second-worst ...
Road success is what seems to separate the league's elite from the rest. West Virginia, amazingly, is 11-3 on the road in the last four years. The Mountaineers have been above .500 on the road in conference every season -- compare those four winning seasons against the rest of the league, which has combined for five such seasons in the same span (Cincy the past two years, Pitt last year, Louisville in '06, Rutgers in '05).
Nobody else in the Big East has a winning record on the road since 2005 -- it drops clear to Cincinnati and Rutgers at 7-7, Pitt at 6-8, USF and Louisville at 5-9, Connecticut 3-11 and Syracuse way down at 1-13.
(And if you're wondering about overall league records since '05, USF is tied for fifth: West Virginia 22-6, Rutgers 17-11, Cincinnati 16-12, Louisville 15-13, Pittsburgh 14-14, USF 14-14, UConn 11-17, Syracuse 3-25.)
Back to our question: The biggest disparity between home and road records belongs to Louisville and Connecticut -- both have five more home wins than they have on the road, making them twice as likely to win at home than away. USF is close behind, with a 9-5 home record that flips to 5-9 on the road. The programs with the least difference are at both extremes -- West Virginia is identically dominant at home and on the road, and Syracuse tends to lose wherever it plays.
I'm figuring all this out as I try to decide how much it helps four Big East teams (Pitt, Rutgers, UConn and Syracuse) that have four games at home this season. Rutgers, for instance, went 2-2 at home against the same teams in 2007 and 2005; Syracuse went 0-4 in the same boat in '07 and '05. And those same four teams all went 1-2 on the road in 2007 and went a combined 2-10 on the road in 2005.
I'll have some links up in a bit ...