Catchup for the non-regular CFR readers:
I created an excel document recording turnover margin over the last eight seasons for each and every team in a BCS conference as well as the "Independents". It's available for download and modification as you wish. Merry Christmas.
I thought I'd also review parts of the data that stood out to CFR and write about them, see if there's anything we can learn from it.
- Boston College
Coach Tom O'Brien has been the pilot of this ship for each of the years the data recorded (1998-2005). He's a somewhat rare CFB coach with a lengthy tenure to track long term trends with, such as turnover margin.
Here's what BC has done in that time period: (-2, -1, +14, +6, +8, +3, 0, -4)
Interesting. It's not like BC is going violently up and down each year, but it also looks like coach O'Brien can only sustain turnover success for short bursts (that +14, +6, +8 time period) before regressing. Surprisingly, the Eagles went from 8-3 during their 2001 season at -1 turnovers to 6-5 during the impressive +14 effort in 2000.
Nothing too fancy here. Just one season at double-digit margin, a -11 effort in 1998 that saw them go 3-8. Tommy Bowden was hired the next year and since then the Tigers have bounced around in a unique pattern: positive, positive, negative. from 1999 to 2001 they went +4,+6,-5 and from 2002 to 2004 they went +2,+4,-8. Last year they had a +9 turnover margin, so if the pattern holds, expect another season of positive turnover margins. Phil Steele eat your heart out!
Could be worse, as coach Ted Roof has stopped the hemorrhaging. The Blue Devils had seasons of -10,-6,-13,-14 and + 2 before he was hired. Since then he's coaxed this feebly talented team to +4,+2 and -8 efforts. At least the double-digit negative margins have disappeared.
- Florida State
A rare team that "gets it" and "gets it done". Until last year, of course, and much of that may have had to do with the unexpected rise of a freshman quarterback in Drew Weatherford who was probably anticipating another season on the bench until Wyatt Sexton caught lyme disease, jumped on cars and proclaimed himself God. Anyway. Look at these fun numbers: +12,+10,+11,+4,+11,+8,+7,-4. The Chris Rix turnover machine (42 career interceptions) probably had a hand in those double-digit positives turning into single-digit positives in three of his four seasons.
- Georgia Tech
Um... The Yellow Jackets went 10-2 in 1998 with a +5 turnover margin. Since that season, they've won either 7,8, or 9 games uninterrupted. However, their turnover numbers have been all over the map: -12,+13,+1,-8,+2,-13,+9. The associative properties of turnover margin and record swings apparently doesn't apply in Atlanta.
The Terps had 3-8, 5-6 and 5-6 records prior to the hiring of Ralph Friedgen. Since then they've gone 10-2, 11-3, 10-3, 5-6 and 5-6. In that time their turnover numbers have looked like this: -2,+9,+3,+18,+1,+1,-9,-5. The associative properties of turnovers and record swing do apply in College Park, however.
- Miami (Florida)
In Butch Davis' final three seasons, the Hurricanes were +6,+5 and +13. Larry Coker inherited a super-talented team with a veteran quarterback who didn't turn the ball over and was on the cusp of a title. He managed to keep the ship afloat and the 'Canes rallied behind him to a stunning +27 effort and a national championship. Since then, however, they've had two very uncharacteristic years at -1 and -4, a more "Miami" effort at +14 and then last year's good/not great +5. The turnover numbers are evidence that Coker hasn't been able to bottle up that Miami magic and consistently coach an aggressive, ballhawking team on the field.
- North Carolina
John Bunting may or may not be a fine coach, but his run at UNC has been an unmitigated disaster in the turnover margin department. Either he doesn't know how to or doesn't care to have a respectable effort in the turnover margin battle.
Bunting's five-year turnover margin: -10,-15,-15,-4,-1
Perhaps he's learned to slow the bleeding, but that's hard to do. Even lowly Duke didn't have those kinds of problems.
- North Carolina State
Head Coach Chuck Amato has six seasons under his belt, and they've been fairly nondescript as far as turnovers, 2004's -17 disaster aside. He keeps the Wolfpack in the positive, but hasn't found a way to reach a double-digit positive turnover margin yet: +4,+8,+7,+2,-17,+0. This looks like a Philip Rivers trend if I've ever seen one (-17,0 without him). Not surprisingly, coach Amato has been under pressure the last two years. Lesson: competent quarterbacks are verrrrrrry important to a team's success.
They might be the only BCS team to have neutral or positive turnover margins in all eight years presented in my data. The statesmanlike George Welsh rode his final years out at +11, +4 and 0 before handing the keys to Al Groh. Groh has done an equally good job controlling turnovers, going +4,+15,+5,+6 and +3. His teams have been a bit disappointing of late, but it's not because they don't know how to win the turnover battle.
- Virginia Tech
Special teams and turnovers are this team's calling card under coach Frank Beamer. Only one season in the last eight has seen the Hokies have a negative turnover margin. They've gone +11,+1,+5,+10,+8,-1,+13 and +9 in that time period. Great stuff.
- Wake Forest
Jim Grobe has spent five years at Wake, producing turnover margin totals of -3,+18,+7,+7 and -2. Not bad, as he keeps the negatives low and the positives fairly high on a team without much talent.