Wednesday, August 4, 2010


This week's stat: TURNOVERS

Ah, we've all heard that turnovers are vital to the outcome of a football game but is it really that important? If it is, Georgia certainly didn't do itself any favors last year, boasting a -16 turnover margin. (In case you couldn't figure what turnover margin is, it's simply turnovers forced (takeaways) minus turnovers lost (giveaways)). So, let's find out if this actually matters, or if this article is a big waste of time....

Last year these teams led the nation in
turnovers forced (takeaways):

1. Ohio (37)
1b. Texas (37)
3. Boise State (35)
3b. Ohio State (35)
5. Air Force (34)

Bottom Five...

119. Tulane (10)
118. Georgia (12) OUCH
118b. Miami OH (12)
116. N.C. State (14)
115. North Texas (15)

Here were the best/worst in terms of Turnovers Lost (giveaways) last year

1. Cincinnati (10)
2. Oregon State (11)
3. Air Force (12)
3b. Alabama (12)
5. UAB (13)

119. Miami OH (36)
118. Hawaii (33) (by the way, I hereby refuse to spell it "Hawai'i" with the unnecessary apostrophe.)
117a. Toledo (31)
117b. Ole Miss (31) (Thank you Jevan Snead)
117c. Washington State (31) (shocking, I know)
117d. Colorado (31)

And here were the best/worst in terms of Turnover Margin last year (with their respective records):

1. Air Force (8-5) (+22)
2. Boise State (14-0) (+21)
3. Rutgers (9-4) (+20)
4. Alabama (14-0) (+19)
5. Ohio State (11-2) (+17)

119. Miami OH (1-11) (-24)
118. Georgia (8-5) (-16)
118b. Toledo (5-7) (-16)
116. North Texas (2-10) (-14)
115. Michigan (5-7) (-12)

Interesting Facts:
The only team to rank in the top 20 in terms of Turnover Margin (TM) and have a losing record was UAB (5-7) who ranked #15 and ended up (+9).

And yes, the worst team in terms of TM to still make a bowl was UGA (8-5) who was (-16). Other teams that had a bad TM and ended up with a winning record were: Fresno St. (-10), Idaho (-8), and Ole Miss (-7).

Here are the best/worst teams in the past five years in terms of TM, with their records and TM over that span:

1. Florida (57-10) (+57)
2. Virginia Tech (52-15) (+47)
3. Air Force (33-29) (+46)
4. Alabama (49-17) (+44)
4b. West Virginia (51-13) (+44)

119. N. Mex. St. (14-42) (-64)
118. North Texas (10-49) (-57)
117. Wyoming (26-34) (-42)
116. Fresno St. (36-28) (-40)
115. Army (18-41) (-39)

FYI Georgia (48-17) ranks #65 and had a TM of exactly 0 over the past five seasons...113 takeaways, 113 giveaways

The only really random teams in the top 10 in the past five years were Middle Tenn St.(ranked #10), who was +37 TM but only 1 game above .500 during that time, and Air Force (ranked #3), who was +46 but only 4 games above .500. The most surprising team to me was Fresno, who was -40 and still managed to be 8 games over .500. Other than that, most of the crappy teams were at the bottom and the good teams were at the top.

I think another question at hand is whether the turnovers control the team's success, or whether a team's success controls the turnovers. In other words, is a team lucky to have a high TM or is it a product of their solid play. I mean, it's not like a coach is going to go onto the practice field and say "LET"S GO...move those feet!....we gotta get our turnover margin to +10 this year!!!".... But if they did, Mark Richt did NOT get the message across last year. Let's hope it sinks in this year...

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