Like most everyone else I was a little irked that we're opening on the road for the 5th consecutive year. But then I began to wonder if it really made any difference. So I looked back at the opening games for the last 20 years (1989-2008), and found the following statistics:
During that span, we opened at home 12 years, and on the road 8. So if you take out the last 4 away starts, we had 16 years where we opened at home 12 times and on the road 4. This includes a span of 6 straight years of opening at home (1994-1999).
We went 14-6 in our opening games during that time; we were 10-2 in home openers and 4-4 in away openers. Is this significant? Not really. In the 12 seasons that we started at home, we had 7 > .500 seasons (58%). The 8 years of starting on the road, we had 5 > .500 seasons (63%). Thus, it could almost be argued that the odds of a winning season are greater when we open on the road.
What's more statistically important, however, is what we did with those opening games. In seasons where we opened the season with a win (14 seasons) we had a > .500 season 9 times (64%) and 8 of those years we made it to the post season. On the other hand, in those seasons where we started with a loss (6 seasons) we only had 3 > .500 seasons (50%) and only made it to the post season twice.
So I'm of the mind that we jump on the Coach McD bandwagon, cheer the guys on as hard as we can throughout the rest of the summer and into the season. If we open with a win, the odds could just be on our side.