Neutral Site? Tell That to Oklahoma, Penn State

Stephen ThomasContributor IJanuary 8, 2009

While the Sooners prepare to take the field against the Florida Gators in the biggest game of their season at the Orange Bowl in Miami, they might as well be walking into The Swamp in Gainesville.

Florida, the same way as Louisiana State did last year, will essentially be playing a home game for the National Championship. Last year, many experts pointed to the speed differential between the SEC and Big 10, but playing in front of a crowd mostly filled with screaming Tigers fans has to be taken into account.

Since the BCS National Championship Game came into existence, this year will be the fifth "home" game for one of the participants. So far, the home team has been 2-2.

2008 – LSU defeats Ohio State 38-24 at the Louisiana Superdome

2006 – Texas defeats USC 41-38 at the Rose Bowl

2004 – LSU defeats Oklahoma 21-14 at the Louisiana Superdome

2001 – Oklahoma defeats Florida State 13-2 at the Orange Bowl (Miami)

Among the other BCS sanctioned bowls, the biggest home field advantage has been to the benefit of the Southern Cal Trojans. Since 2004, USC has played all but one of their bowl games at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. The only year they didn't, 2005, they played for the National Championship in Miami. The only game they lost was the 2006 National Title game against Texas.

One of the biggest thing for the rest of the bowls is to invite local schools so they can have a team that "travels well," and the bowl has it's best opportunity to sell out. 

Brief recap of this year’s bowls:

EagleBank Bowl – Washington DC

Wake Forest 29, Navy 19 (Navy plays in Baltimore)

magicJack St. Petersburg Bowl – St. Petersburg (Raymond James Stadium)

USF 41, Memphis 14 (USF plays in RJS)

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl – Aloha Stadium

Notre Dame 49, Hawaii 21 

Motor City Bowl – Ford Field, Detroit

Florida Atlantic 24, Central Michigan 21

Meineke Car Care Bowl – Charlotte, N.C.

West Virginia 31, North Carolina 30

Champs Sports Bowl – Orlando, Fla.

Florida State 42, Wisconsin 13

Emerald Bowl – San Francisco

Cal 24, Miami 17

Independence Bowl – Shreveport, La.

Louisiana Tech 17, Northern Illinois 10

Texas Bowl – Houston

Rice 38, Western Michigan 14

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl – Fort Worth, Tx.

Houston 34, Air Force 28

Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl – Nashville, Tn.

Vanderbilt 16, Boston College 14

Chick-fil-A Bowl – Atlanta

LSU 38, Georgia Tech 3

International Bowl – Toronto

UConn 38, Buffalo 20

If the BCS title game, BCS sanctioned games, and in fact, all bowl games are as important as the BCS insists, these home games should be prevented. BCS officials have stated in the past that the chief reason there is not a playoff in Division I college football is because it it would render the other bowls insignificant. 

But in all reality, when will a classic match up like Tulsa/Ball State or Florida Atlantic/Central Michigan ever be insignificant? 


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