This is part six of seven in a series of entries analyzing eight years of turnover margin data at BCS conference schools.
(-17,+2,+12,+4,+1,0,-5,-7) Grand Total: -10
Can you believe Rick Minter coached this program nearly a decade? His reign lasted from 1994 to 2003 (with our turnover data starting in 1998). That 1998 squad finished just 2-9. Thing is, the Bearcats won eight games the season prior. The last time the Bearcats won more than eight games, the great Sid Gillman was the coach (1949 to 1954---he went 7-4, 8-4, 10-1, 8-1, 9-1 and 8-2---yes, scheme matters).
History aside, there's five seasons of neutral or positive turnover margin after the -17 debacle with Cincinnati going 3-8 (+2), 7-5 (+12), 7-5 (+4), 7-7 (+1) and 5-7 (0). Mark Dantonio was then hired and has yet to post a positive return on turnover margin. He's gone 7-5 and 4-7 in his two years. I anticipate a positive turnover margin this time around.
(+10,-11,-7,-5,+12,0,-5,+4) Grand Total: -2
The Huskies joined the D-IA ranks during the 2000 season, but our data goes back to 1998. That year also marked the program's highest victory total ever, a 10-3 effort in Skip Holtz's final season. The job has been Randy Edsall's since. Connecticut dropped to 4-7 (-11) in 1999 and won just three games in its inaugural D-IA try (3-8, -7). Thing got worse before they got better with a 2-9 effort in 2001 (-5).
The big change happened in 2002, with the Huskies going 6-6 (+12) and never looking back. The last three years look like this: 9-3 (0), 8-4 (-5), 5-6 (+4).
(-3,-5,+11,+10,-15,+3,+11,+6) Grand Total: +18
The combustible John L. Smith is responsible for the first five seasons represented here, the high bail flight threat Bobby Petrino the last three. Smith inherited a 1-10 team from Ron Cooper, and swiftly turned the Cardinals around with a pair of 7-5 seasons despite negative turnover returns. Thanks to some quality recruiting and two superb turnover margins, the Cardinals made "The Leap" and went 9-3 and 11-2 (+11 and +10 in turnovers) before a drop to 7-6 behind the disastrous -15 turnover margin. Since then, Petrino's had this team flirting with the top 10-15 rankings, going 9-4, 11-1 and 9-3, all with positive turnover numbers. Some credit is due to some great quarterbacks (Stefan LeFlor, Brian Brohm) who have not had interception issues.
(-9,0,-11,-5,+10,+5,+13,-4) Grand Total: -1
The quietly successful Walt Harris owns the first eight returns, Dave Wannstedt the last one. Harris has a spotty turnover record, but appears to have figured things out his final three seasons (+10,+5,+13). All three also mark Pitt's highest win totals during his eight-season tenure (9-4,8-5,8-4). He was able to post a pair of 7-5 seasons despite the daunting -11 and -5 turnover returns in 2000 and 2001. Wannstedt went 5-6 last year and is considered a defensive-minded guy. I hunch he won't stay in the negative turnover column for too long. Having a competent senior quarterback like Tyler Palko never hurts, either.
(-12,-5,-7,-22,-13,-6,-7,-3) Grand Total: -75
Heh. This is just tough to look at. Not a single positive turnover return in eight seasons of data. Poor Rutgers fans. At least the program's finally improving. Terry Shea owns the first three returns (5-6, 1-10 and 3-8 seasons), Greg Schiano the next five. To its credit, Rutgers has put faith in Schiano (hired from Miami, Fl) and its investment may finally be paying off after a 7-5 season. Schiano started out pretty rough, losing a combined net of 35 turnovers his first two years (2-9 and 1-11 efforts). But the program's shown life since, increasing its wins (5-7, 4-7 and 7-5) and dropping its turnover debtload (-6,-7,-3). This year they're overdue for a positive turnover margin.
Oh, also a quick side story. I was visiting family in Miami for Christmas one year (2001, I believe), and upon leaving the airport there was a huge billboard along the freeway proclaiming Christmas greetings from the Rutgers football program. It was clearly an effort by Schiano (who had coached at Miami and knew the area) to divert the eyes of overlooked Florida football recruits to
lovely New Jersey. I doubt it did him any good, but clearly the guy is willing to give it the old college try. Amazingly enough, his persistence has paid off.
(-1,-3,-2,+2,+21,-1-10,+5) Grand Total: +11
The Bulls did not join the D-IA ranks until the 2001 season and have only been playing football since 1997. Jim Leavitt's been the program's coach all nine years (eight within this data set). His best win total is unsurprisingly linked to the great +21 turnover margin posted in 2002 (9-2 record). Since then, they've gone 7-4 (-1), 4-7 (-10) and 6-6 (+5). Turnovers go down, record goes down, turnovers go up, record goes up---it's a pretty consistent pattern at most schools CFR's analyzed.
(+11,-7,-6,+18,+2,+7,+2,-4) Grand Total: +23
Paul Pasqualoni was the longtime captain of this ship, coaching from 1991 to 2004. Greg Robinson was the coach last year. Things were running smoothly for this program until 2002 when the wheels fell off. The Orange went 8-4 in 1998 (+11), then 7-5 (-7) and 6-5 (-6) before a great rebound to 10-3 (+18!), then fell to 4-8 (+2), 6-6 (+7) and 6-6 (+2). I find it unusual that they could maintain positive turnover numbers with a middling record but be above .500 with negative numbers. Confusing, but hey, that's football sometimes. Robinson owns a 1-10 mark to start his Syracuse career, but at least the -4 isn't a disastrous start.
(+6,-5,+9,-8,+19,+16,+3,+14) Grand Total: +54
The esteemed Don Nehlen owns the first three totals (coaching the Mountaineers from 1980 to 2000!). They went 8-4 (+6), 4-7 (-5) and 7-5 (+9) his final three seasons. That legacy was then inherited by a man who clearly understands the power of turnovers---Rich Rodriguez. After an understandably bumpy transition (3-8 season in 2001, -8 margin), things have gone skyward for West Virginia. Rodriguez improved to 9-4 (+19 and a 27 turnover swing in just two seasons), 8-5 (+16) and 8-4 (+3) before last year's remarkable 11-1 finish (+14). I anticipate continued turnover success, as Rodriguez is in the mold of guys like Phil Fullmer, Barry Alvarez and Pete Carroll who annually produce high positive turnover margins.
- Turnover Analysis: Pac-10
- Turnover Analysis: Big Ten
- Turnover Analysis: Big 12
- Turnover Analysis: SEC
- Turnover Analysis: ACC
- Turnover Data