As we move into the top three home-field advantages in the nation, it's important to keep in mind that when referring to “home-field advantage,” it's more than just the stadium that matters.
One program that has both an intimidating stadium and a fanbase that would turn any stadium into a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks is Louisiana State.
LSU's Tiger Stadium is also known as “Death Valley,” and for good reason.
Many teams, even top teams in the nation, come to Baton Rouge with expectations of victory. The atmosphere inside Tiger Stadium is so overwhelming, the opponents often leave with the chances for a championship season dead.
The difficultly for opponents at Tiger Stadium is nothing new. Even Bear Bryant said Tiger Stadium was “The worst place in the world for a visiting team. It's like being inside a drum.”
Sportscasters, sports writers, opinion polls and opposing coaches have agreed for years: LSU is perhaps the most difficult place to play in the nation. It even set off the seismometer at the Louisiana Geological Survey offices on campus during a last-second win against Auburn in 1988.
The fans are loud, the stadium is big, the band is second to none, the students are rowdy. It's quite simply a great place to play football—if you're LSU.
So what keeps LSU from the top spot on our home-field advantage list? After all, the Tigers were 7-0 at home last season.
LSU fans do, on occasion, have the nasty habit of bolting the game early, especially if LSU is trailing.
In the 2008 game against Troy, the Trojans led 24-3 at halftime. At the end of the third quarter, things weren't much better, as Troy still held a 31-10 advantage. As the fourth quarter got underway, many of the Tigers fans in attendance made their way to the exits.
The tens of thousands of fans who departed early missed a spectacular 30-point fourth quarter, as LSU edged out the Trojans, 40-31. A historic comeback in front of half-full stands somehow diminishes the greatness that is LSU's Tiger Stadium.
Still, LSU is definitely on their way to recapturing the best game-day atmosphere in the nation.