Part four of seven today: The Big Ten.
(-11,+13,-2,+4,-8,-18,-6,-11) Grand Total: -39
The first seven totals represent year two through eight of the Ron Turner era. Turner inherited a 2-9 team from Lou Tepper, and then "led" his first squad to a winless season. He improved to 3-8 the next year (-11) and then pushed the next team to a winning 8-4 record (+13). His incredible 10-2 effort in 2001 had the benefit of a fairly modest +4 turnover margin but then things went downhill. Record of 5-7 (-8), 1-11 (horrible -18) and 3-8 (-6) led the Illini to can him and hire one Ron Zook. Zook didn't fare much better last year, engineering just two wins and a sad -11 turnover margin.
(+3,+1,-16,+7,-12,+3,+4,-8) Grand Total: -18
These totals almost date back to the Bill Mallory era (1984-1996). The three Hoosier coaches during this time period are Cam Cameron (first four years and his second through fifth season at Indiana), Gerry DiNardo and Terry Hoeppner. During this time Indiana has yet to record a single winning season, topping out at 5-6 in 2001 in Cameron's final year.
Indiana's best record (5-6 in 2001) is mirrored by its best turnover margin (+7). The DiNardo years were sad despite two positive turnover totals, and Hoeppner fared better (4-7) despite a bad -8 margin his first time out. There is hope with Hoeppner and it's likely the Hoosiers will improve their turnover totals and perhaps their win total this year.
(-1,-5,-3,0,+15,+4,+13,-1) Grand Total: +22
The great Kirk Ferentz is responsible for all but one of these totals, with Hayden Fry the owner of the first, part of a 3-8 effort to end his fine coaching career. Ferentz had difficulties his first two years, going 1-10 and 3-9, but pushed the Hawkeyes to 7-5 despite three straight years of negative or neutral turnover returns. His next three seasons were even more brilliant, going 11-2, 10-3 and 10-2, mirrored by +15, +4 and +13 turnover returns.
Last year the Hawkeyes returned to orbit a bit, finishing at 7-5 with a -1 turnover margin. What's interesting is that Ferentz was able to get the Hawkeyes into a 7-5 type season before their big run without the power of positive turnover margin. He then was able to make that giant leap into elite status by harnessing the power of high positive turnover margin. If the Hawkeyes are to contend again this year, keep a lookout for their turnover totals, they may be a good indicator of whether they're on pace for a good 7-5 season or a great 10-2 season.
(-3,+10,+13,-6,+9,-2,+6,+5) Grand Total: +32
Lloyd Carr is responsible for all eight years detailed here. The first total is from 1998, a post-championship year that probably explains the -3 and a 10-3 record (down from the previous 12-0). Michigan owns four 10-win seasons in these eight years, going 10-3 in 1998 (-3), 10-2 in 1999 (+10), 10-3 in 2002 (+9) and 10-3 in 2003 (-2). Five positive totals in eight years is a fine effort and Michigan is a fine---if maddening---team. Michigan hasn't embarrassed itself with turnovers in any given season and great turnover margins are often punctuated with 10-win seasons. Good stuff.
(+3,-3,-8,-1,-7,+11,-10,-1) Grand Total: -16
First total (+3): Nick Saban. Next total (-3): Nick Saban and Bobby Williams. The difference: one season the Spartans went 6-6, the next one 10-2. Sometimes turnovers don't tell the story. Bobby Williams coached the next three years (-8,-1,-7) going 5-6, 7-5 and 4-8. John L. Smith has been the Spartans' cranky commander since, rallying around a +11 effort to go 8-5 before the chaos (-10,-1) of the last two seasons at 5-7 and 5-6 have him on thin ice in East Lansing.
(-1,-2,+2,+2,0,-1,+7,-1) Grand Total: +6
Look above once more. That's hilarious. Is Glen Mason the kind of guy who dangles his feet in the pool, never to dive in or what? Mason has done a great job with this program, giving them five winning seasons in his nine years in charge. I'd say more, but turnover margin isn't telling the story here. The outlier at +7 followed 2003's 10-3 effort, Minnesota's first 10-win effort since 1905! Of course, that +7 meant a drop from a 10-3 record to 7-5. Go figure.
(-3,-6,+13,-1,-6,-2,+4,+9) Grand Total: +8
Gary Barnett left the Wildcats in 1998 (-3, 3-9 record), and what follows is the recently departed Randy Walker era. Northwestern went from 3-8 (-6) to 8-4 (+13) in his first two years on the job. Walker's two best efforts were aided by his two best turnover margins: the aforementioned 8-4 season in 2000 and last year's 7-5 at +9.
(+5,-8,+8,+9,+13,+1,-1,-9) Grand Total: +18
John Cooper coached the Buckeyes for the first three years of the available data, going 11-1, 6-6 and 8-4. Jim Tressel has been the Buckeyes' coach for five years now, winning a national championship in 2002 (+13). He has lost a bit of the early turnover momentum but the Buckeyes are likely poised for a turnover margin rebound after three consecutive pedestrian years (turnover margin, not record).
(+3,+2,+4,-11,+14,-6,-3,+3) Grand Total: +6
Obviously Joe Paterno is responsible for the eight-year window of data we have here. The most notable information here is the swing from -11 in 2001 to +14 in 2002. In those two years the Nittany Lions went from 5-6 to 9-4, before falling to 3-9 and 4-7 the following years (-6,-3) before last year's revival at 11-1 (+3).
(+5,+1,0,+11,-10,+12,-3,+3) Grand Total: +19
Joe Tiller has been the coach here all eight years (and one season previous). The turnover data here is interesting. In 1998 Purdue went 9-4 with a +5 turnover margin. The next year they went 7-5 at +1. The next year they went 8-4 at 0. Not much of a correlation there. But then their record fell to 6-6 despite a tremendous +11 effort. The next season, they improved slightly to 7-6 despite a huge negative swing at -10. That was followed by 2003's 9-4 effort and +12 margin. Purdue then dropped to 7-5 (-3) and 5-6 (+3).
(+23,+11,+7,+2,+18,-3,+2,+13) Grand Total: +73
Awesome. Barry Alvarez retired last year, but leaves a legacy as a turnover wonk. In an eight-year window he manufactured four double-digit positive turnover margin returns, including an impressive +23 and +18. The Badgers' win total during this time nicely mirrors the ascent/descent of their turnover margin.
11-1 (+23), 10-2 (+11), 9-4 (+7), 5-7 (+2), 8-6 (+18), 7-6 (-3), 9-3 (+2), 10-3 (+13). That's a very noticeable pattern.
Praise goes to the Badgers for simply doing the near-impossible in controlling their turnover numbers year-after-year, it's something few coaches have any ability to manage based on the data I've analyzed.
Alright, that's it for the Big Ten, more to come as CFR concludes this presentation.