Cal and UCLA face the dastardly road back-to-back
Wins by road team in the second game: One
The victory came courtesy of Utah, which won at Stanford in Week Six after a trip to Washington State.
(A 1-8 record with Utah providing the only win? That sounds familiar.)
Here are the losses in the second game of the road back-to-back for anyone who hasn’t kept track (which is probably everyone)
Washington at Oregon, Stanford at Notre Dame, Arizona State at Washington, Oregon at Arizona, USC at Texas, Utah at Arizona State, Arizona at UCLA and Colorado at Washington.
In only two of those eight cases did the road team significantly outperform the point spread.
In three cases, the road team was blown out (relative to the point spread).
Let’s not treat this as a scientific study, or even a bad imitation of a scientific study. Not yet.
Two of the nine instances involved non-conference games, another involved an overtime loss (Washington at Oregon) Ross Bowers was one of three Cal quarterbacks who saw action in the 2018 opener against North Carolina this seasonn.
and two were impacted by injuries to the road team’s quarterback (Utah at Arizona State and Arizona at UCLA).
Every conference schedules back-toback road games. The Pac-12 does it more frequently than any other Power Five except the ACC, but it’s unavoidable, particularly with a nine-game conference schedule.
And playing back-to-back roadies sure doesn’t appear as difficult as playing a Friday road game after a Saturday road game — a competitive disadvantage so
egregious, even a sportswriter could spot it.
But common sense and anecdotal evidence suggests the back-to-back roadies increases the chances for defeat, especially as we get later in the season and injuries and fatigue mount.
Let’s see what happens with the upcoming cases, then take a full assessment of the situation.
We’ll have a decent sample size by season’s end, with instances involving 11 of the 12 teams. Only Washington State drew the long straw.