FanPost

Why this week's game might be tougher than you think

OK, so obviously after a team wins in New England to move to 2-0, a lot of people will realize that they aren't complete pushovers. But there's something else I wanted to highlight.

Last year, home teams went 145-111, winning 56.6% of their games.

This year, home teams have been favored in 17/30 games, with two pick 'ems. So we might have expected them to win 18 of 32, which would be 56.3%. In other words, it doesn't seem like there's been a scheduling quirk where the better teams got more home games in the first two weeks.

And yet so far this year, home teams are 23-9, winning 71.9% of their games.

Is this just a statistical quirk? Maybe. It's a small sample size, and that's definitely possible. But there's another possible explanation, something that's different this year from past years -- the refs.

Several studies have suggested that the biggest source of home field advantage in sports is the referees being influenced by the crowds. This doesn't mean they're actively pandering to the home fans, but it's a more subtle psychological thing, where knowing that a lot of people think one way can affect your judgment.

It's not hard to imagine that Division III refs who have never played in front of more than a couple hundred people might be more prone to this, might have less experience in ignoring a sold-out NFL crowd.

Until the regular refs are back, I'm going to assume that every road game will be a tough one.

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