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.
|Miss. State (7-0)||5||475||95.00|
|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|
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.
|Miss. State (7-0)||21||472||22.47|
|Ole Miss (4-3)||16||478||29.87|
|S. Carolina (6-2)||12||540||45.00|
|Texas A&M (5-2)||7||551||78.71|
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