Which bowl teams could have
"home-field" advantage?

When trying to predict college football bowl games, don't overlook the possibility of home-field advantage.

Updated: December 18, 2002, 3:57 PM ET
By by Jon Passman, STATS. Inc.
When asked every year to provide predictions for who is going to win the bowl games (for entertainment purposes only, of course!), one factor that we take into account is the possibility of any sort of "home-field" advantage. Some schools traditionally "travel well," with thousands of alumni converging on a southern city, turning the town into a satellite campus. However, there are only a select few schools that fall into this category for all but the biggest of the bowls. So, we look at which teams are playing in bowls closest to their campus, trying to see if any road-tripping students or alumni can give their team that 12th-man edge.

Armed with the AAA North America Road Atlas, and American Airlines' website, we calculated the driving distance between every bowl-bound campus and the bowl host city. The one exception is the use of aeronautical miles to calculate Tulane's trip to Honolulu, because, as most maps will show, making that drive is rather difficult.

Now, we'll readily admit that there is a little room for variance in our mileage figures, as we were not strict enough in our "study" to map precisely from the locker room door at State U. to the stadium entrance of the bowl venue. Rather, city centers are used in the calculations. For example, Aloha Stadium is a good 15 miles from the University of Hawaii campus (a lesson this writer learned with an expensive cab ride in 1999), but in the grand scheme of things those extra few miles are negligible. Let's first take a look at the extremes for the 2002-03 bowl season: