Regular readers of this site know that we like to study the numbers and look for stats that you might not find elsewhere. From our Butterfingers and Bandits measures to our Tempo, Quick Strike and Slow Grind breakdowns, we love numbers. And sometimes they can give you a pretty good indication of why certain teams are successful and others aren’t.
Well, the next stat we’re going to look at really doesn’t tie directly to wins and losses. In fact, we’re combining a number of different types of miscues into one comparison. So before reading the numbers, know that we are not equating a turnover to a missed extra point to a penalty, etc. Heck, different penalties carry different weights of their own.
In our Bunglers measure, we simply look at which teams make winning more difficult for themselves. Put another way: How often do SEC teams cause their own fans to slap their foreheads in disgust and frustration?
We’ve used a variation of this one for several seasons and it usually — by season’s end — gives some indication of whether a team has been successful or not on the SEC standings board. Early in the season, however, that’s just not the case. And it really isn’t even the goal.
This is more of a frustration-0-meter for fanbases.
For the record, we are only looking at SEC versus SEC numbers here and those digits are:
* Giveaways — the total number of times a team turns the ball over (headslap)
* Penalties — the total number of times a team loses yardage by being called for a penalty (headslap)
* Sacks Allowed — the total number of times a team surrenders yardage by allowing its QB to go down (headslap)
* Missed Extra Points — the total number of times a team misses a gimme point-after-touchdown attempt (headslap)
We tally those miscue plays and compare them to the total number of offensive snaps, defensive snaps and extra point tries for each team. The table below shows you just how often a team — in SEC play this season — has produced a Bungler type of play:
|School||Giveaways||Penalties||Sacks Allowed||Missed PATs||Total Bungles||Total Snaps/PATs||Plays/Bungle|
|Miss. State (3-0)||3||8||4||1||16||415||25.93|
|S. Carolina (4-1)||7||23||12||0||42||656||15.61|
|Texas A&M (2-1)||6||17||7||1||31||473||15.25|
|Ole Miss (1-2)||5||15||8||0||28||415||14.82|
* Look how rarely Mississippi State is shooting itself in the foot in SEC play. The Bulldogs are 3-0 and a good chunk of the reason is they make teams beat them. They do not beat themselves. That’s the mark of a good football team and if State can keep that up, a nine-win (or better) campaign is a possibility.
* Arkansas is an interesting team to study. Early in the season and outside the SEC, the Hogs were screwing up time after time much to the frustration of their fans. But the Razorbacks have been better the last two weeks and and they’ve been better in league play than out of league play overall in terms of turnovers and the like.
* Alabama and South Carolina have been as good as advertised this season and — not surprisingly — they’re pretty good at avoiding costly mistakes. The same can be said for Texas A&M and Ole Miss, two teams who have gotten off to better starts than most would have imagined.
* Missouri and Kentucky really haven’t done a lot of damage to themselves in SEC play by way of turnovers, penalties and other “bungle” plays. Injuries and youth have taken a far greater toll on the Tigers and Wildcats than their own errors.
* Georgia, Florida, and LSU all rank near the bottom of the league in terms of making boneheaded plays that lose yardage, give away the ball, or give up sure points. As noted above, this isn’t a stat used to predict who’ll win or lose (though it often has in the past). So what their low rankings tell us is what every fan of Georgia, Florida and LSU would tell us if we asked them: Imagine how much better our team would be if we’d clean up the knucklehead mistakes.
* But it should be no surprise that the undisputed king of self-flagellation on the football field is Auburn. The Tigers turn the ball over, surrender yards due to penalty, allow a sack or miss an extra point once every 9.35 plays. There’s been enough forehead-slapping in Jordan-Hare Stadium this year to give darn near every Tiger fan one of those Peyton Manning-style red spots on the noggin.