North Texas Boasts Nation’s Best Statistical Home-Field Advantage Since 2000
A successful college football team, and further, a successful college football program starts with success at home. By the numbers, that home-field success appears to be a key contributor to the overall success of North Texas football, particularly since Apogee Stadium opened in 2011.
Prediction Machine, a statistical outlet that simulates games, studied which teams have the biggest home-field advantage since 2000, comparing home performance relative to road performance, relative to level of competition and expectations, and North Texas led all 127 FBS schools with a standardized home-field advantage of 5.9 points.
The statistical outlet also made note that recent seasons are given more weight and seasons in new stadiums, such as Apogee Stadium, which opened in 2011, are also given stronger consideration. The home-field advantage value, 5.9 points in the case of North Texas, is the expected advantage a team would gain for playing at home compared to a neutral field against an average opponent played at an average pace.
“The crowd that we get here is unbelievable, and in most cases, unmatched,” said senior quarterback Andrew McNulty, who scored the first touchdown in Apogee. “It brings a different environment when you’re at home, whether you’re on defense or the fans are cheering after a touchdown. Apogee Stadium really gets rocking on game day. It really brings a new feel around here.”
The Mean Green have posted a 39-40 home record since 2000, including a 16-7 mark since 2011, when Apogee Stadium opened and Dan McCarney was named head coach. The home record includes a 5-0 season in 2003 and four one-loss seasons at home, the most recent in 2013. It also includes power-five wins over Baylor in 2003 and Indiana in 2011.
Despite a 4-8 record in 2014, North Texas posted a 4-2 home record, including wins over SMU, Florida Atlantic and FIU. The Mean Green open their five-game home slate Saturday with their Conference USA home opener against Rice. The matchup also featured one of the more memorable moments in the history of Apogee, an eight-play goal-line stand that helped preserve a 28-16 win to clinch bowl eligibility for North Texas in 2013.
“This is a big week ahead,” McCarney said. “It’s our Conference USA opener, it’s our home opener, it’s a chance to go 1-0 in the Conference USA race, and it’s a chance to go 17-7 since we opened Apogee Stadium.”
“Every win at home is a sweet win because we know that we’re protecting our house and protecting our fans,” McNulty said. “That’s something that we strive for every year, to protect our house. We know that we have win on the road, but it starts with winning at home and winning in front of your own fans.”