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Turnover Analysis: SEC

This is part of a series looking into turnover margin data during an eight-year period in the various BCS conferences.


(0,+5,-8,+3,+15,+1,+6,+8) Grand total: +30

Nice effort overall, with just one season of negative turnover numbers and an eight-year sum total of +30.  Coach Mike Shula has posted improving turnover margin numbers in his three seasons at one of the game's top programs.  His predecessor Dennis Franchione worked wonders his first year at +15 and helped improve the Tide's record from 3-8 to 7-5 despite all kinds of sanctions and other program issues.


(+12,+5,-8,+4,+17,+11,-3,-1) Grand total: +37

This data is unique because it mirrors coach Houston Nutt's eight-year tenure at Arkansas.  His results are pretty good, including three seasons of double-digit positive turnover margins and just three years with negative results.  Of little surprise, those disappointing turnover numbers the last two years also coincide with Nutt's two worst records while at Arkansas (5-6 and 4-7).  Of note: all three double-digit turnover years saw Nutt post nine wins.  It looks like things may be getting away from the coach, however unless he can squeeze out more positive numbers from his team.


(-2,+6,-1,-1,+9,+1,+4,-3) Grand total: +13

Tommy Tuberville has coached the Tigers in seven of these eight seasons.  He has yet to post a double-digit positive turnover margin in any single season, but hasn't had any terrible negative efforts either.  It's pretty clear he's not a turnover wonk, but has gotten good results by more or less holding the line.  His two best seasons, however, did coincide with two of his three best turnover numbers (2002's 9-4 effort and +9 margin and 2004's 13-0 effort and +4 margin).


(-5,-5,+18,-6,-9,+7,+4,+18) Grand total: +22

Those +18's are pretty sweet.  But they're surrounded by ugly -5,-6 and -9's.  The first four are the ownership of Steve Spurrier, who may or may not have cared about turnover margin as he dusted the SEC regardless (10-2,9-4,10-3,10-2).  Ron Zook tried the same lazy turnover thing his first two years with less stellar results (a pair of 8-5's).  The much-balloyhooed Urban Meyer went out and fixed things to the tune of +18 and a 9-3 record.  That +18 it should be noted, was a more impressive debut than Turnover Margin GodTM Pete Carroll's +16 in 2001.


(+1,+9,+1,-3,+8,+11,-2,+11) Grand total: +36

Jim Donnan is responsible for the first three seasons and their quality but boring (9-3,8-4,8-4) marks.  Mark Richt assumed the reins in 2000 and posted his worst turnover margin (-3) and also worst record 8-4).  Since then it's been all gravy, with seasons of 10,10,11 and 13 wins.  I think he gets it, as he's posted two double-digit positive turnover margin seasons and nearly a third at +8.  I hear his career record's pretty impressive.


(-13,+3,-12,-8,+7,-1,-2,-9) Grand total: -35

Blame Hal Mumme for those first three numbers.  Guy Morriss slowed the bleeding for two years before Rich Brooks assumed control for the last three years.  Morriss went from 2-9 to 7-5 by making his turnover margin go from -8 to +7.  Take note, young coaches.  It will help you get a job at Baylor if that's your thing.


(+1,-7,+4,+4,-1,+5,-2,-9) Grand total:-5

Gerry DiNardo is responsible for the first two totals.  Nick Saban owns the next five marks and Les Miles the last one.  Minus-nine is not a great way to start your LSU career, but somehow Miles managed 11 wins so what do I know?  Nothing too impressive here.  Saban won a lot and did it mostly with defense but surprisingly pedestrian turnover margins.  Odd.


(-4,+3,+5,-1,+5,+6,-3,-5) Grand total: +6

David Cutcliffe owns the first seven of those totals, Ed Orgeron the final one.  Nothing too notable here, as Cutcliffe kept things mostly positive but in the low single digits.  Hist best turnover season (+6) was also the year of his best overall record at Ole Miss at 10-3.

Mississippi State

(+3,+4,+10,-4,-15,-21,-1,+2) Grand total: -22

The first six totals all belong to longtime coach Jackie Sherrill and tell a pretty common story---that of a coach who might've stayed just a bit too long and let the wheels fall off.  Those first three years Mississippi State went 8-5, 10-2 and 8-4, very respectable numbers for that program.  Those Bulldogs played tough defense and easily made a handful of bowl appearances.  After that however, things fell apart as Sherrill notched 3,3, an 2 wins his final three seasons in Starkville.  Sylvester Croom was hired in  2004 and has done little to improve the record.  However, he's managed to stop the bleeding via turnover and that offers a bit of hope for his viability as the Bulldogs' coach.

South Carolina

(-13,-4,+5,+8,-5,+7,+1,+2) Grand total: +1

Brad Scott's final season the Gamecocks went 1-10 and sported a nifty -13 turnover margin.  Lou Holtz would coach the next six seasons and of little surprise, his two best records (8-4, 9-3) were during two of his three best turnover margin seasons (+5, +8).  Turnover ignorant Steve Spurrier is now the coach and he managed a stable +2 to help the Gamecocks to a 7-5 record and a one win improvement over Holtz's final year.


(+16,+3,+3,+5,+2,+3,+6,-7) Grand total: +31

This is a fun one.  Phil Fullmer is a longtime coach at Tennessee and is responsible for all eight returns documented on here.  Last year was the first time in eight year where he failed to post a positive turnover margin and not surprisingly, Tennessee had a disastrous (by their standards) season finishing just 5-6.  It's brutally obvious that Fulmer is very aware of the power of turnover margin and does the near impossible in having positive annual returns a vast majority of the time.  Only once in the eight-year period did he post double-digit returns, but it was also the season Tennessee went 13-0 and won the national championship!  Coach Fulmer is superb at finding ways to control his team's turnover margins, and it's a big part of his success as a head coach.


(-11,-8,-3,-2,-14,-10,+4,-2) Grand total: -46

Interesting numbers.  Woody Widenhofer is responsible for the first four seasons, Bobby Johnson the last four.  Neither coach has had much success, topping out at five wins and bottoming out at two wins.  It appears that both have recognized the importance of turnover margin and found ways to steadily reduce their totals during their stay.



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