Albama Arkansas Auburn Florida Georgia Kentucky LSU Mississippi State Missouri Ole-Miss USC Tennessee Texas A&M Vanderbilt Stat Analysis: Butterfingers

As we continue to take a look at some SEC numbers after three weeks of football, we now turn our attention to the single most important stat in SEC football — the turnover.

Last month, we went back over five years of SEC seasons and compared the records of league teams playing league games to the number of times each of those teams turned the ball over in those games.

Over a 245-game span, the results were eye-opening:


2007-2011 SEC Turnovers

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

Commit 1 Turnover — 95-61 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


Pretty clear, isn’t it?  Protect the football and your team has a 75% chance of winning its game.  Turn the ball over twice or more and it’s likely to lose.

So which teams — a fourth of the way through 2012 — are coughing up the pigskin with the greatest regularity and which squads are doing a good job of holding onto it?  We give you our Butterfingers measure which compares the amount of giveaways each SEC team has committed so far this season to the numbers of offensive snaps each team has run.  It’s early in the season, so we’re just going to use all games in this comparison — SEC, FBS, FCS, doesn’t matter.  The final number at the left of the chart shows you how many plays a team typically runs between turnovers.  The more plays run, the better that team takes care of the football.  And when we get into the middle of league play, those teams taking better care of the football are going to win a lot more games than those that don’t.


  School   Giveaways vs All   Off. Snaps vs All   Plays/Giveaway
  Texas A&M   0   156   No Giveaways Yet
  Miss. State   1   192   192.00
  Florida   1   191   191.00
  Alabama   1   179   179.00
  LSU   3   205   68.33
  Vanderbilt   3   192   64.00
  Missouri   4   230   57.50
  Tennessee   5   222   44.40
  S. Carolina   5   194   38.80
  Kentucky   6   219   36.50
  Georgia   6   199   33.16
  Ole Miss   7   211   30.14
  Auburn   9   186   20.66
  Arkansas   10   197   19.70


If you’re looking for a reason as to why Auburn and Arkansas are off to 1-2 starts, look no further than our Butterfingers measure.  Defensively both have had issues, sure, but when you turn the ball over once every 20 plays — which is about three times per game in an average setting — you’re going to lose.  A lot.  The Tigers and Razorbacks will have to shore that up or else.

On the other ends of the spectrum, Texas A&M haven’t turned the ball over yet, but they’ve only played two games.  Mississippi State, Florida and Alabama have each given the ball away just once in three games.  Their combined record: 9-0.  No surprise there.

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