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

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.

 

SEC Butterfingers Measure

  School   Giveaways   Off. Plays   Plays/Giveaway
  Alabama  (5-0)   3   316   105.33
  Miss. State  (5-0)   4   336   84.00
  Florida  (5-0)   4   333   83.25
  Vanderbilt  (2-3)   5   322   64.40
  Missouri  (3-3)   7   422   60.28
  Texas A&M  (4-1)   7   374   53.42
  S. Carolina  (6-0)   8   384   48.00
  Georgia  (5-1)   10   403   30.30
  Kentucky  (1-5)   11   402   36.54
  Tennessee  (3-2)   11   396   36.00
  LSU  (5-1)   11   387   35.18
  Ole Miss  (3-3)   15   434   28.93
  Arkansas  (2-4)   17   413   24.29
  Auburn  (1-4)   17   305   17.94

 

Keep in mind that our five-season study looked at the results of turnovers in SEC contests only.  With the season still so young, 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.

 

SEC Bandits Measure

  School   Takeaways   Def. Plays   Plays/Takeaway
  Alabama  (5-0)   15   290   19.33
  Miss. State  (5-0)   15   341   22.73
  LSU  (5-1)   14   373   26.64
  Missouri  (3-3)   14   413   29.50
  Ole Miss  (3-3)   14   419   29.92
  Tennessee  (3-2)   12   364   30.33
  Florida  (5-0)   10   329   32.90
  S. Carolina  (6-0)   11   397   36.09
  Georgia  (5-1)   10   428   42.80
  Texas A&M  (4-1)   7   376   53.71
  Auburn  (1-4)   6   372   62.00
  Kentucky  (1-5)   7   442   63.14
  Arkansas  (2-4)   7   469   67.00
  Vanderbilt  (2-3)   5   342   68.40

 

So who’s the best in terms of turnover margin?  Well, you would obviously want your team’s offense to run more plays between giveaways and your team’s defense to run fewer plays between takeaways.  If that’s the trick, then you’d want a really big gap in favor of the offense, no?  Of course.  And below are the current gaps for each team from best to worst in terms of turnover margin:

 

1.  Alabama:  105.33 – 19.33 = 86.00

2.  Miss. State:  84.00 – 22.73 = 61.27

3.  Florida:  83.25 – 32.90 = 50.35

4.  Missouri:  60.28 – 29.50 = 30.78

5.  S. Carolina:  48.00 – 36.09 = 11.91

6.  LSU:  35.18 – 26.64 = 8.54

7.  Tennessee:  36.00 – 30.33 = 5.67

8.  Texas A&M:  53.42 – 53.71 = -0.29

9.  Ole Miss:  28.93 – 29.92 = -0.99

10.  Georgia:  40.30 – 42.80 = -2.50

11.  Vanderbilt:  64.40 – 68.40 = -4.00

12.  Kentucky:  36.54 – 63.14 = -26.60

13.  Arkansas:  24.29 – 67.00 = -42.71

14.  Auburn:  17.94 – 62.00 = -44.06

 


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