A10/CAA Home Field Advantages

Discussion in 'Football' started by GannonFan, May 2, 2005.

  1. GannonFan

    GannonFan New Member

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    Curious as to how people think certain home field advantages stack up in the A10/CAA. Which schools have a decided home field advantage from the size of the crowd, to the noise, to the field conditions, etc.?

    The way I see it:

    The top 5:

    Hofstra - There's just something about the Island that makes it a difficult place to play. Maybe it's how long it takes to get out there, maybe it's the numerous empty seats, maybe it's the marching band playing Bon Jovi songs (I can distinctly remember a harrowing rendition of Livin on a Prayer), maybe it's that dance team (shivers), but Hofstra is tough to beat at home. The artificial turf is friendly to their team speed and they seem to take it up a notch at home.

    Northeastern - Say what you will about the excuse for a football facility, but there's nothing like it in football (well, college football, I'm sure some high schools, small high schools, equal it.) It has to be disconcerting to be the visiting team and coming into that field and being speechless at the small facility. You know it's small when the coordinators in the press box (well, the top row of bleachers really) do not need headphones to talk with the on-field coaches - shouting is sufficient. Actually just a loud voice will do.

    Delaware - Kinda a big-time college atmosphere in a smaller setting, but clearly the jewel of the conferece, and one of the best home fields in IAA. Big stadium that averages almost 4-5 times what most other schools in the conference do, it's certainly one road game that every team looks towards. For most, it's their biggest stage all year, and certainly near the top of IAA games. Big band, Michigan-like unis, even hedges around the field like Georgia, make the place feel big time. And as the pre-eminent team in the conference in terms of winning percentage, always a tough place to play.

    William and Mary - Second only to Delaware in winning percentage, W&M is a very tough team to beat at home. Crowds aren't always the best at Zable, but could be getting better with night games and playoff runs. Great looking field, even if the views of the game aren't particularly good, W&M's main home field advantage is their consistency in putting out very good, if not great, teams year in year out.

    JMU - A bit like Delaware in gameday feel, the place feels like a big college football venue. The recent upgrades to the stadium (including video board) just make it more so. Another big band, and one that plays that annoying fight song (sounds like the Looney Toons theme song) and that annoying "da da dum" song with the electric guitar. It's actually intimidating to see thousands of JMU backers get up and start swaying to that song - kinda scary. Another turf field makes it a little unique and actually the crown on the field is probably the most pronounced crown in the conference. JMU was down the past few years but with the natl title last year could be a prolonged resurgence on the field to make it even harder to win there.

    The Middle 2:

    Maine - I almost put them in the top group for one reason only: weather. Playing in Maine in November is grisly, brutal cold, depressingly gray, and just not fun. It's even worse when they have later starting times and half the game is played in basically nighttime conditions. Maine actually has what I think is the best stadium of the North division, but they don't really fill it enough. Even when Maine wasn't very good they were tough to beat in Orono.

    UMass - Again, certainly one of the better New England schools in terms of home field, but not really overwhelming. Decent stadium but a relatively lackluster following. Never seems to get loud there (I wasn't there for UMass/Colgate last year so I can't vouch for that).

    The Bottom 5:

    URI - ugh, just bad all around. Horrible stadium, anemic following, bad football team. Just nothing about a road trip to URI is scary.

    Towson - at least you can say they have potential. Very good stadium, but in the Field of Dreams mode "If we build it, hopefully people will come". No one's coming yet but Towson should be more competitive in a few years and we'll see how they do then. Towson was legit in the early 90's, no reason why they can't be again.

    Richmond - Off campus stadium is the first strike, relatively light fan support is another strike, and using local high school bands is the final strike. If they had an on-campus site, as they are building, this could be something. However, being where they are the building is dead.

    UNH - Classic New England program - pretty decent team, just not very good support and on top of it, a decrepit stadium (wooden bleachers still I believe). If they were more North they could copy Maine and use the wintery atmosphere as a home field advantage.

    nova - my favorite whipping boys. Horrible atmosphere for most games (really, for any but UD as they just don't draw well). The stadium is large, but is a track and field stadium so not suited all that well for football. For most games more than half the stadium is empty. Little to no student support means games are relatively quiet affairs (and with the 20 or so student that comprise the "band" little noise comes from there). Artificial turf gives them some advantage, but this is clearly not a football school.

    If I had to order them, my list is:

    1. UD
    2. W&M
    3. Northeastern
    4. Hofstra
    5. James Madison
    6. Maine
    7. UMass
    8. nova
    9. Towson (but with a good upside)
    10. Richmond
    11. UNH
    12. URI
    #1
  2. mainejeff

    mainejeff New Member

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    1. Delaware
    2. Northeastern
    3. William & Mary
    4. UMass
    5. JMU
    6. UNH
    7. Richmond
    8. Maine
    9. Hofstra
    10. Villanova
    11. Rhode Island
    #2
  3. UNH_Alum_In_CT

    UNH_Alum_In_CT New Member

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    I haven't been to all the stadiums (yet!!) so I need a little more time to think about a pick, but I did want to make a couple comments.

    I'm pretty sure the wooden bleachers at Cowell have been gone for quite a few years now, but I'll verify on my next trip to Durham. I think the replacement of the wooden visitor's side bleachers was another factor in the reduced capacity. The metal replacements were significantly smaller than the old wooden ones. On the field house side, it's all metal bleachers or chairbacks. The wooden end zone bleachers were removed and now there are track and field pits.

    While Durham is significantly south of Orono, there is one weather related aspect to Cowell that I've wondered about its impact. The prevaling wind seems to blow straight down the field toward the railroad track end. And when November rolls around, this wind tends to be quite strong and cold. (Come back in Winter and you'll understand why I call this wind the Montreal Express!!) Kicking is an adventure and that's an understatement!!

    My quick thought was to vote for Delaware, but I hesitated because I wonder how much the great crowds and atmosphere fire up visiting teams? Yes, it is often one of the only "big time" games on many A-10 schedules which must inspire visiting teams.
    #3
  4. henfan

    henfan New Member

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    Very true. Home field advantage is often negated if the opposition can manage to 'stay up' for 4 quarters. If the crowd gets to the opposing team early, it's usually lights out.

    I think Northeastern is the most difficult place to play because of the deadness of the facility.
    #4
  5. mainejeff

    mainejeff New Member

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    You make a great point about trips to Delaware pumping teams up. Maine and UNH seem to be able to handle the crowds better than they used to, but IF the crowd decides to get into the game, it still can affect the other team's psyche (it has in Maine's case at least :evil: ). I also think that some A-10 teams are being exposed to larger crowds outside of the Delaware game (for Maine - Mississippi State, Montana, McNeese, Appalachian State, Georgia Southern and Northern Iowa over the last 4 or 5 seasons), so they are not quite as intimidated as they used to be.
    #5
  6. Section J

    Section J New Member

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    Being on the visitors side, and very close to the opposition, I can report that there is a palitable boost for the teams coming into the stadium. There are usually a couple of things that dissapate the enthusiasm, #! the play of the Delaware team, #2 the non-stop taunting/abuse/vitriol that is hailed upon them from SECTION J. :twisted:

    We take pride in having been flipped off by the likes of Napolean McCallum, Mike Buck, several UMASS players the last time there were there and a Villanova coach. There was coaching staff that was regailing us with a number of curses and taunts recently that was escorted out of the stadium by security. Now that is hospitality :wink:
    #6
  7. JoeyBagODonuts

    JoeyBagODonuts New Member

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    Rhode Island is the most difficult place to play, especially if you leave your scuba gear behind.
    #7
  8. Dukie95

    Dukie95 Active Member

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    I've only been to the three VA schools, so I won't vote...

    But JMU has to have the biggest, loudest band.
    #8
  9. 89Hen

    89Hen New Member

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    I agree with everything that's been said about the small crowds at NU perhaps having as big an impact on the players as the loud crowds at UD and that the UD atmosphere can perhaps pump up the visitors too. However, if you just looked at numbers under Keeler it's hard to dispute....

    2002: 5-1 at home, 1-5 on the road
    2003: 10-0 at home, 4-1 on the road (1-0 neutral)
    2004: 6-1 at home, 3-3 on the road

    Totals" 21-2 at the Tub and 8-9 on the road
    #9
  10. bluehenbillk

    bluehenbillk Active Member

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    It also goes a long way for pumping up or deflating a team. When UD plays at home the players are jacked up a few extra notches. It's not as easy to get motivated to play in front of crowds that are smaller than what they were used to playing in front of in high school.

    21-2 speaks volumes though.
    #10
  11. DTSpider

    DTSpider New Member

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    Richmond has got to be the worst home field "advantage". Nothing like playing in front of 20,000 empty seats. Stadium was built to be expandable so it doesn't hold any noise (even when there used to be some a few years ago).

    The only thing the stadium has going for it is a great field.

    Can't wait to move.
    #11
  12. DFW HOYA

    DFW HOYA New Member

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    If you thought Parsons Field was, uh, unique, did you ever see when games were played "up" on Kehoe Field at Georgetown? Gave a new meaning to "high altitude" football.

    I haven't seen Maine or UNH, but the other ten go as follows:

    1. Delaware
    2. JMU
    3. UMass
    4. W&M
    5. The better half of UR Stadium
    6. Hoftstra
    7. Towson
    8. Villanova
    9. URI
    10. NE
    #12
  13. DFW HOYA

    DFW HOYA New Member

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    If you thought Parsons Field was, uh, unique, did you ever see when games were played "up" on Kehoe Field at Georgetown? Gave a new meaning to "high altitude" football.

    I haven't seen Maine or UNH, but the other ten go as follows:

    1. Delaware
    2. JMU
    3. UMass
    4. W&M
    5. The better half of UR Stadium
    6. Hofstra
    7. Towson
    8. Villanova
    9. URI
    10. NE
    #13
  14. Dukester

    Dukester Moderator

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    Pesonally I don't get the W&M over JMU. I'd use the same comparison for W&M that you do for Nova. I guess allot has to do with personal experience. DE has had trouble at Zable. For JMU it's a home away from home results and crowd wise. The sight lines are aweful and there are no seats from the 40-40 on one side of the field.

    If you look at the additions to JMU last year and felt the new game day atmosphere - I just don't see it after visiting both fields last year.



    8)
    #14
  15. Section J

    Section J New Member

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    Zable sucks for many reason, the seating is just one. Our won/lost record there is the other. :oops:
    #15
  16. snowbird

    snowbird New Member

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    A HUGE part of JMU that makes us near the top on that list is the fact that the JMU student section is directly behind the visitor's bench. Almost all of the students harass the other team. It gets pretty vulgar during the games. I've heard some pretty nasty conversations between students and players.
    #16
  17. jski1977

    jski1977 New Member

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    Snow - I've heard that is changing for next season? Do you know anything about that? If JMU would have had a home game in the playoffs, it was my understanding that reseating would have had to be done.
    #17
  18. bluehenbillk

    bluehenbillk Active Member

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    The student section at the Tub has grown into an impressive site. The entire South End Zone is student & band seating. Even though they use those stupid thundersticks, the section is full, sometimes overflowing to the East & West stands, and they make noise.
    #18
  19. WMTribe90

    WMTribe90 New Member

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    A few additional thoughts.

    WM has a distinct advantage at home in late summer and early fall with respect to the weather. Several northern teams practice in cool fall temps all week only to play in 80 degree humidity at Zable on Sat and they wither in the second half.

    Few also realize how horrendous the visiting locker room is at WM. Easily the worst in the league (note: the home locker room is fairly nice). For starters it isn't even big enough to fit all the players coaches and trainers at one time. It isn't air conditioned and hasn't been remodeled/refurbished in 30 years or more. It is a virtual sauna on hot days. Some teams opt for the grassy area outside the locker room its so bad.

    UD

    Crowd can pump up visiting team, but its also hard to change momentum and come from behind if the Hens jump out early.

    UNH

    They cut the grass about a foot high to compensate for the overall lack of team speed. VMI does they same thing.

    Northeastern

    Seriously might be the best homefield advantage of all. Incredibly hard to get up to play in that atmosphere or lack of atmosphere. A problem the home Huskies do not appear to have.

    JMU

    Turf fits their team speed, especially on defense. I think the band pumps up the visitors as much as the home team.
    #19
  20. Dukester

    Dukester Moderator

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    Ski - that will not be the case next year. I believe the not sitting behind the visiting teams is only for the Playoffs - even though someone posted on here last year it would be for the regular season.
    #20
  21. Big Green

    Big Green New Member

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    In the next three or four year period, with work beginning this summer,
    W&M will finally (since 1935!!!!) upgrade physically the Zable complex:

    *lights coming this summer...late day (3-4 PM) games and night games afforded by lights will increase both student attendance and the general attendance by 20-25% easily

    *Construction should start this year, finally, on the seven million dollar Laycock Football Building which will be constructed as part of the Cary complex on the open end of the stadium on the W&M side nearest the Alumni building lawn and building.

    * The open space between the 40 yard lines on the pressbox side will
    see 1000-2000 permanent seasts installed (probably two years out)

    *The track circling the football sield itself is to be removed by the fall
    of 2006 (new Olympic track to be situated elsewhere outside the stadium)
    and additional seating (portable--to be used on a "as-needed" basis
    replacing it

    * Not guaranteed (1.5 million required) is a modern new scoreboard and
    large-screen TV replay screen

    So last year's incredible season has finally started things moving.
    #21
  22. JMU2004

    JMU2004 Active Member

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    From reading the W&M board, lights are no longer a sure thing for next year.
    #22
  23. jski1977

    jski1977 New Member

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    And even if they did...increasing student attendance by 20-25% is really a stretch. To be honest, I think students prefer the Saturday afternoon games - takes up a less "meaningful" piece of their day. I am not sure attendance at JMU games is any greater at night...
    #23
  24. WMTribe90

    WMTribe90 New Member

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    I have not heard this before. I'm all for it, but last I heard they we're refurbishing the existeng track. Where will the new track be located, assuming it is going to be removed from Zable?
    #24
  25. jski1977

    jski1977 New Member

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    After reading Big Green's posts for a few years now, I'm inclined to think he/she makes things up out of thin air.
    #25
  26. WMTribe90

    WMTribe90 New Member

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    I wouldn't attempt to put a percentage on it, but lights will increase student attendance. Student attendance for night vs day soccer games on Busch field is doubled typically. The later starts mean cooler weather and a chance to sleep in, study, etc. before rolling over to the stadium. An early evening game is a nice lead into the rest of Saturday night and doesn't cut into any real "party" time. Lastly, the atmosphere of a night game under the lights is just much more attractive.
    #26
  27. Tribe4SF

    Tribe4SF New Member

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    Last I heard (about 2 weeks ago), the track is staying where it is.
    #27
  28. Aviator

    Aviator New Member

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    The lights will be going in starting in July. Trust me.

    Whether there will be a true night game played this year at Zable is another matter.
    #28
  29. jski1977

    jski1977 New Member

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    I'm much more inclined to believe you Aviator. Not like that means anything to you, but its a fact.
    #29
  30. Aviator

    Aviator New Member

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    Thanks. I truly have good reason to believe that the lights will be installed in July.
    #30

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