Sunday, June 04, 2006

What happened to home field advantage in 2005?

Heading into the 2005 season, the Wolverines had won 15 consecutive games at the "Big House" dating back to 2002. This consecutive home game winning streak encompassed the final two home games of the 2002 season and the entire home schedules of the 2003 (7 games) and 2004 (6 games) seasons. Thus, I was confident heading into last season about our ability to continue our prowess on our home turf. (note: I am using "home turf" both figuratively and literally as Michigan switched back to Field Turf from grass for the playing field surface after the 2002 season. Sorry Amy Fouty, the Prescription Athletic Turf (PAT) experiment never worked out. But I digress).

U of M was 58-6 at the "Big House" under Coach Carr heading into the 2005 season. I knew we had a couple of tough home games in Notre Dame and Ohio State but we had beaten both of those teams in 2003 including a 38-0 drubbing of ND so I was not overly concerned. So you can imagine my surprise and dismay when U of M stumbled to a 4-3 home record in 2005. U of M had not suffered three home losses in a single season since 1994. I am still at a loss to explain why the rug got pulled out from under us last season after we had enjoyed so much success for so long in the seasons leading up to 2005. The explanation could be as simple that our home field "advantage" was neutralized in that our team on the field is going to play equally well (or poorly) at home or on the road. That is a double-edged sword. I like the fact that the guys won't be affected on the road but I think most U of M fans would like to think that they can help influence the Wolverines to win by cheering them on in the "Big House". I'm not sure how much of an impact the fans can have on the outcome of the game but I do know one thing for certain. I know that I prefer to leave the "Big House" after having witnessed a victory. Therefore, I hope that Coach Carr can recapture that home-field advantage he had in prior seasons and that 2005 was just an aberration.

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