The SEC’s most turnover-happy teams in the last five years

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Turnovers are drive killers, and momentum usually drastically swings in favor of the team who caused the turnover. Pick-sixes are massive momentum shifters, and teams often can’t overcome the blunder, depending on at what point in the game the turnover happens.

Turnovers are more important than tackles, yardage and sacks. In fact, they’re the most integral part of the game, and the correlation of a positive turnover margin and winning is stunning. (That’s for another study). If teams get takeaways on offense and protect it on defense, they’re much more likely to win the game. Just ask Florida – the 2012 Gators had 30 takeaways and allowed only 15 total turnovers on offense. The +15 margin was absolutely one of the key ingredients to Florida’s 11-win season with a sub-par offense.

It’s always interesting to examine turnover margins year after year of proven winners and losers.

Here is 2012’s turnovers lost, gained and margin for the SEC.

The following data is from cfbstats.com.

Rank Name G Fum. Gain Int. Gain Total Gain Fum. Lost Int. Lost Total Lost Margin
1 Miss State 13 15 19 34 8 10 18 16
1 LSU 13 15 18 33 10 7 17 16
3 Florida 13 10 20 30 10 5 15 15
4 Alabama 14 11 18 29 12 3 15 14
5 Georgia 14 17 13 30 8 11 19 11
6 USC 13 9 15 24 11 9 20 4
7 Missouri 12 16 7 23 8 14 22 1
8 Vanderbilt 13 7 11 18 13 5 18 0
9 Mississippi 13 13 15 28 11 18 29 -1
10 Kentucky 12 8 5 13 6 10 16 -3
11 TAMU 13 4 12 16 11 10 21 -5
12 Tennessee 12 5 12 17 9 14 23 -6
13 Auburn 12 11 2 13 10 15 25 -12
14 Arkansas 12 6 6 12 15 16 31 -19

Here are the five-year totals for turnovers lost, gained and margin in the SEC:

Rank Name G Fum. Gain Int. Gain Total Gain Fum. Lost Int. Lost Total Lost Margin
1 Alabama 68 39 92 131 43 30 73 58
2 LSU 66 56 76 132 36 49 85 47
3 Florida 67 35 96 131 57 40 97 34
4 Miss State 63 54 69 123 44 65 109 14
6 Georgia 67 46 70 116 47 60 107 9
6 Vanderbilt 63 40 71 111 46 56 102 9
7 Tennessee 62 41 66 107 40 64 104 3
8 Kentucky 63 45 57 102 46 55 101 1
9 USC 66 62 64 126 54 78 132 -6
11 Arkansas 63 51 53 104 50 65 115 -11
11 Auburn 64 48 53 101 55 57 112 -11
12 Ole Miss 63 50 60 110 53 81 134 -24
*Missouri 13 16 7 23 8 14 22 1
*TAMU 12 4 12 16 11 10 21 -5
  • No surprise that Alabama leads the SEC with +58 turnover margin in last five years. TO margin helped win three championships in the last four years.
  • LSU is right behind them with +47 margin, and their +20 margin in 2011 was 12 more than Alabama’s. In fact, LSU’s +20 margin in ‘11 was greater than any team in the last five years except 2008 Florida, who were national champions.
  • Georgia’s +11 margin in 2012 is their highest in five years. In 2009, Georgia finished last in the SEC with -16 margin. Only 2012 Arkansas’ -19 is more than Georgia’s -16 since 2008.
  • Mississippi State is +18 in TO margin since Dan Mullen took over in 2009, and it’s helped the Bulldogs’ success.
  • Auburn is the only BCS champion in the last five years to have a negative TO margin.
  • South Carolina, Arkansas, Auburn and Ole Miss are the only SEC teams who have a negative TO margin.

Photo Credit: Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIRE

REFERENCES

COMMENTS

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  • Much of Alabama’s TO margin success can be attributed to the efficiency of the Tide’s QB’s and RB’s. Greg McElroy threw only 10 INT’s in his career at Alabama. In the two years that McCarron has been the signal caller, he’s only thrown 8 INT’s. It was also very rare to see Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson put the ball on the turf.

    The other half of the TO margin success comes from the complexity of Saban/Smart’s defense. The complexity of the coverage schemes combined with the absurd talent of the Tide secondary over the years helped cause many turnovers. Players like Marquis Johnson, Kareem Jackson, Rashad Johnson, Mark Barron, Dre Kirkpatrick, Dee Milliner, and Javier Arenas.

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