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MrSEC.com Stat Analysis: Butterfingers And Bandits 11/30/12

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.

The numbers are from SEC versus SEC contests only:

 

  School   Giveaways   Offensive Plays   Plays/Giveaway
  Kentucky 0-8   8   492   61.50
  LSU 6-2   10   569   56.90
  Florida 7-1   10   515   51.50
  Alabama 7-1   10   514   51.40
  Texas A&M 6-2   13   659   50.69
  Vanderbilt 5-3   11   557   50.63
  Georgia 7-1   11   545   49.54
  Miss. State 4-4   12   534   44.50
  S. Carolina 6-2   13   523   40.23
  Ole Miss 3-5   17   589   34.64
  Tennessee 1-7   17   575   33.82
  Missouri 2-6   19   586   30.84
  Arkansas 2-6   22   569   25.86
  Auburn 0-8   20   444   22.20

 

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   Defensive Plays   Plays/Takeaway
  LSU 6-2   22   546   24.81
  Alabama 7-1   19   511   26.89
  Florida 7-1   20   539   26.95
  Georgia 7-1   19   525   27.63
  Ole Miss 3-5   19   557   29.31
  Miss. State 4-4   18   550   30.55
  Missouri 2-6   13   564   43.38
  S. Carolina 6-2   11   529   48.09
  Texas A&M 6-2   11   567   51.54
  Arkansas 2-6   9   528   58.66
  Auburn 0-8   9   549   61.00
  Kentucky 0-8   9   570   63.33
  Tennessee 1-7   8   587   73.37
  Vanderbilt 5-3   6   549   91.50

 

So what about just straight turnover margin in SEC games?  Here’s that info:

 

  School   Turnover Margin
  LSU 6-2   +12
  Florida 7-1   +10
  Alabama 7-1   +9
  Georgia 7-1   +8
  Miss. State 4-4   +6
  Ole Miss 3-5   +2
  Kentucky 0-8   +1
  Texas A&M 6-2   -2
  S. Carolina 6-2   -2
  Vanderbilt 5-3   -5
  Missouri 2-6   -6
  Tennessee 1-7   -9
  Auburn 0-8   -11
  Arkansas 2-6   -13

 

Observations:

*  In terms of tomorrow’s SEC Championship Game, Alabama again holds a small edge over Georgia in each of the three turnover categories.  The squads’ numbers are eerily similar in fact.  Against Arkansas, Alabama was plus-5 in turnover margin, their biggest advantage all year.  In their other seven SEC games, the Tide was plus-4.  Georgia’s biggest turnover advantage came against Florida.  The Gators turned the ball over six times, but the Bulldogs finished just plus-three for the day.  Take that game out of the stats and UGA was plus-5 in its remaining seven SEC games.

 


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