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MrSEC.com Stat Analysis: Butterfingers And Bandits 10/25/12

Here at MrSEC.com, we like to provide you with different stats, numbers and figures throughout the football season.  Typically, we try to present them in ways that you might not find elsewhere.  Over the course of five years of doing this, we’ve stumbled across a few that tend to serve as pretty good indicators of on-field success.

For those of you who’ve read this site, you’re familiar with our five-season, 245-game study into the impact of turnovers on SEC football games.  Obviously, the more a team turns the ball over, the less chance it will have of winning.  The same applies for teams who force turnovers from their foes, obviously.  But what was surprising to us was just how important turnovers are when a pair of SEC rivals get together:

 

2007-2011 SEC Turnovers

Commit 0 Turnovers — 70-23 record, 75.2 winning percentage

Commit 1 Turnover — 95-62 record, 60.8 winning percentage

Commit 2 Turnovers — 49-65 record, 42.9 winning percentage

Commit 3 Turnovers — 22-56 record, 28.2 winning percentage

Commit 4 Turnovers — 9-40 record, 18.3 winning percentage

 

With those numbers in mind, we present our Butterfingers measure.  It’s simple really.  We look at the total number of offensive plays run by a team and compare that number to the total tally of giveaways for that squad.  What you’ll see below is the number of plays typically run by each team between turnovers.  The more plays run between giving the ball away… the better.

 

  School   Giveaways   Off. Plays   Plays/Giveaway
  Florida (7-0)   4   453   113.25
  Miss. State (7-0)   5   475   95.00
  Alabama (7-0)   6   451   75.16
  Vanderbilt (3-4)   9   471   52.33
  Missouri (3-4)   10   479   47.90
  Georgia (6-1)   10   475   47.50
  Kentucky (1-7)   11   505   45.90
  LSU (7-1)   12   539   44.91
  Texas A&M (5-2)   14   554   39.57
  S. Carolina (6-2)   14   510   36.42
  Ole Miss (4-3)   15   499   33.26
  Tennessee (3-4)   16   512   32.00
  Arkansas (3-4)   17   474   27.88
  Auburn (1-6)   19   418   22.00

 

Keep in mind that our five-season study looked at the results of turnovers in SEC contests only.  With the season still only half over, we’re using statistics from nonconference games, too (including those against FCS opponents).  For that reason, a team’s current overall record might not jive with the rate that it gives away the football.  But these trends will start to mean more the deeper everyone gets into league play.

Now let’s look at the league’s defenses.  We call this our Bandits measure.  It’s simply the inverse of our Butterfingers measure.  The more times a defense can force a team to give up the football, the better that team’s odds of winning the game.  So we compare the total number of defensive takeaways to the total number of defensive snaps run by each SEC squad.  The lower the number the number of plays between turnovers… the better.

 

  School   Takeaways   Def. Plays   Plays/Takeaway
  Alabama (7-0)   20   405   20.25
  Miss. State (7-0)   21   472   22.47
  LSU (7-1)   21   527   25.09
  Ole Miss (4-3)   16   478   29.87
  Missouri (3-4)   16   481   30.06
  Florida (7-0)   15   473   31.53
  Tennessee (3-4)   13   511   39.30
  S. Carolina (6-2)   12   540   45.00
  Georgia (6-1)   10   491   49.10
  Auburn (1-6)   9   508   56.44
  Arkansas (3-4)   7   509   72.71
  Texas A&M (5-2)   7   551   78.71
  Kentucky (1-7)   7   575   82.14
  Vanderbilt (3-4)   5   451   90.20

 

When it comes to turnover margin, it should come as no surprise that the four teams in the SEC that have the biggest gap between giveaways and takeaways have a combined overall record of 28-1.

 

1.  Florida (7-0):  113.25 – 31.53 = 81.72

2.  Miss. State (7-0):  95.00 – 22.47 = 72.53

3.  Alabama (7-0):  75.16 – 20.25 = 54.91

4.  LSU (7-1):  44.91 – 25.09 = 19.82

 


4 comments
DavidIsraelMadison
DavidIsraelMadison

4 is correct. WR Chris Smith has two fumbles. Tyler Russell has an interception and a fumble.

10Vol85
10Vol85

Here's another way to look at turnovers.  If you look at only games where teams have an equal number of turnovers, you can calculate the average number of yards per point (14.5 in SEC v. SEC games so far this year).  Then, you compare games with unequal turnovers and look at the difference in average yards/point.  From that, you can calculate what the average turnover costs in yards (82) or points (6).

 

When offenses are credited for yards or defenses for yards not allowed, turnovers are not normally considered though they should be.  Consider Tennessee's pass game v. Alabama's in SEC on SEC games:

SEC #7) AL 218 ypg, 0 interceptions/game

#8) TN 213 ypg, 2 interceptions/game

If you deduct the average yards per turnover:

#2) AL: 218 ypg

#12) TN: 49 ypg

 

Contrast rush yards:

#1) AL 236, 1 fumbles*/game (*not sure if these are all fumbles on rushing plays)

#2) TN 206, 0.5 fumbles*/game

If you deduct the average yards per turnover:

#1) TN 165 yds/game

#2) AL 155

 

BTW, did you know that Tennessee leads the SEC in yards/rush in SEC v. SEC games:

#1) TN: 5.7

#2) AL: 5.5

 

 

GoDawgs97
GoDawgs97

I may be mistaken, but I believe MSU only has 4 giveaways: 3 fumbles and an interception. (Fumbles - Auburn, Troy, MTSU; Int. - South Alabama)

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