When the Oregon Ducks fell flat against the Arizona Wildcats, it secured a spot in the Pac-12 title game for the Stanford Cardinal as the representative of the North division. The Cardinal will get their opportunity to defend their conference championship from last season but will not have the benefit of playing at home this time around. Because of their two conference losses, Stanford will have to travel to Tempe to take on the Arizona State Sun Devils where they will be at a serious disadvantage.
All season long, Stanford has performed much better at home than they have on the road. On the Farm, Stanford averages 35.3 points per game on offense but have managed just 29.4 points per game on the road. That’s almost a full touchdown less when they are in hostile territory. Defensively, however, Stanford travels very well as their home and road splits for points allowed (18.9 points per game at home, 19.2 points per game on the road) are very close. It’s also important to note that both of Stanford’s losses this season came on the road in Salt Lake City and the Coliseum.
Arizona State also plays better at home than on the road, but the splits are a bit more dramatic. ASU is averaging 49.1 points per game when playing at home on offense but have managed just 35.0 points per game on the road. Defensively, the Sun Devils are giving up just 20.9 points per game at home but have struggled on the road, allowing 30.9 points per game when they are traveling. That’s a two-score advantage for ASU by virtue of being able to secure home-field advantage for the conference championship game both offensively and defensively.
While Stanford handily dispatched the Sun Devils earlier this season, that game took place in Palo Alto. With the Pac-12 title on the line, they will have to go on the road and take on a red-hot ASU team with the Rose Bowl on the line. Can they overcome the home-field advantage of the Sun Devils and defend their conference title?