The Toolbox: Adjusted Turnover Margin

Once again, March Madness duties and behind-the-scenes work on the 2012 college football team profiles has led me to neglecting Study Hall, which begins to drive me crazy after a while. Consider this a large peace offering.

As part of last year's team profiles, I included a piece about Turnover Margins and Adjusted Turnover Margins. Basically, the adjusted turnover margins took a bit of fumbles luck into account -- it basically looked at what a team's turnover margin would have been had they recovered 50 percent of all fumbles in all games. That hinted at luck while still maintaining that a good portion of forcing and committing turnovers still relies on skill to one degree or another.

This year, I'm taking it a step further. Here are some further adjustments you will see in this year's version of the Adjusted Turnover Margin when profiles begin to roll out soon:

  1. Further Fumbles Adjustment. In total, defenses recovered 51.3 percent of an offense's fumbles in 2011, so instead of simply looking at a 50-50 split of all fumble recoveries, I'm applying that slight adjustment to the totals. If your opponents fumbled 40 times and you fumbled 20 times, that's 60 total fumbles, but you could have been expected to recover slightly more than an even 30.0 of them. By my quick math, it would be closer to 30.3 of them. This is a tiny adjustment, obviously, but an adjustment nonetheless.

  2. PBUs are sometimes dropped interceptions. In 2011, the 120 FBS teams intercepted 1,436 passes and "broke up" 5,131. That means that 21.9 percent of what we call "passes defended" were interceptions. Only, the spread from team to team was enormous. For N.C. State, 43.5 percent of their passes defended were INTs. For Akron, 6.7 percent.

    I looked at this data from year to year and found that, though it would appear based somewhat on skill (N.C. State had David Amerson and Akron didn't, after all), a team's year-to-year percentages have almost no correlation. Georgia's Bacarri Rambo was second in the country in interceptions (eight), but in his three years of participation, the Bulldogs' ratio of interceptions to overall passes defended has gone from 19.6% in 2009, to 35.6% in 2010, to 27.0% in 2011. Some years, you catch them. Others, you don't.

    So what that means here is that we are going to look at a team's ratio of interceptions to passes defended and apply it to the Adjusted Turnover Margin as well. Even with Amerson, we can safely assume that part of their ridiculous 27 interceptions were caused by luck, and as we know, luck is incredibly fickle.

    (NOTE: this data is readily available for defenses, but not offenses, i.e. the number of passes they threw that were broken up. So for this go-round, we are only looking at the defensive numbers.)

  3. Turnover Luck Per Game. I have found that, on average, turnovers are worth about 5.0 points. (For more on Turnover Points, start here.) So if we apply that point value to the difference between a team's turnover margin and its adjusted turnover margin, we can also take a look at how many points they tended to gain or lose from turnovers luck.

After the jump: a huge turnovers-related data dump.

Below, you will find an enormous table with the following fields:

  • Total Fumbles: the total number of fumbles in a given team's games, both committed by the team and its opponent.
  • Fumbles Recovered: the total number of fumbles a team recovered on both sides of the ball.
  • FR%: a team's fumble recovery percentage (Total Fumbles divided by Fumbles Recovered).
  • Interceptions (Offense): the number of interceptions thrown by a team on offense.
  • Interceptions (Defense): the number of passes intercepted by a team on defense.
  • PBU: the number of passes a team broke up on defense. (Interceptions + PBU = Passes Defended.)
  • Offensive Turnovers: the number of turnovers committed by a team on offense.
  • Defensive Turnovers: the number of takeaways recorded by a team on defense.
  • Turnover Margin: Defensive Turnovers minus Offensive Turnovers.
  • Adj. Turnover Margin: a team's turnover margin based on adjustments described above.
  • Turnover Luck Per Game: (Adj. Turnover Margin * 5.0 points) / Games Played

Five Teams Who Benefited Most From Turnovers Luck
1. Michigan (+3.97 points/game)
2. Maryland (+3.97)
3. N.C. State (+3.61)
4. South Carolina (+3.61)
5. Oklahoma State (+3.40)

Five Teams Who Suffered The Most From Turnovers Luck
1. Texas A&M (-4.28 points/game)
2. SMU (-4.17)
3. Utah State (-3.77)
4. Fresno State (-3.68)
5. Duke (-3.45)

That's right, luck potentially cost Texas A&M over four points per game in a season in which they lost four games by four points or less.

Enjoy.

Team
TOTAL
FUM.
FUM.
REC'D
FR% Off INT Def INT PBU Off TO Def TO TO
Margin
Adj. TO
Margin
TO Luck/
Game
Air Force 55 26 47.3% 8 12 23 26 26 0 -2.9 1.13
Akron 41 22 53.7% 11 2 28 24 15 -9 -6.0 -1.25
Alabama 30 15 50.0% 8 13 56 12 20 8 10.2 -0.83
Arizona 37 14 37.8% 15 11 45 21 16 -5 0.8 -2.42
Arizona State 48 27 56.3% 13 15 43 23 32 9 3.8 2.01
Arkansas 43 22 51.2% 7 12 36 20 21 1 -1.1 0.83
Arkansas State 38 13 34.2% 16 19 56 27 29 2 5.5 -1.35
Army 49 23 46.9% 4 8 21 26 17 -9 -9.5 0.21
Auburn 43 21 48.8% 13 11 37 21 23 2 2.1 -0.04
Ball State 23 10 43.5% 11 10 30 18 17 -1 -0.7 -0.11
Baylor 50 27 54.0% 6 16 49 24 29 5 1.0 1.54
Boise State 45 23 51.1% 10 15 42 18 26 8 5.0 1.15
Boston College 25 7 28.0% 10 13 40 20 16 -4 0.0 -1.68
Bowling Green 37 16 43.2% 14 6 34 28 15 -13 -7.8 -2.15
Buffalo 27 15 55.6% 9 6 39 15 13 -2 0.3 -0.96
BYU 39 20 51.3% 15 13 56 27 25 -2 -0.4 -0.60
California 46 27 58.7% 12 12 50 24 23 -1 -3.6 1.00
Central Florida 30 13 43.3% 8 9 55 18 15 -3 3.9 -2.89
Central Michigan 26 15 57.7% 18 8 30 23 11 -12 -13.8 0.75
Cincinnati 50 32 64.0% 14 16 52 21 33 12 3.9 3.11
Team
TOTAL
FUM.
FUM.
REC'D
FR% Off INT Def INT PBU Off TO Def TO TO
Margin
Adj. TO
Margin
TO Luck/
Game
Clemson 46 20 43.5% 12 14 51 24 23 -1 2.2 -1.14
Colorado 38 18 47.4% 11 7 30 19 15 -4 -1.9 -0.81
Colorado State 42 23 54.8% 14 8 31 26 22 -4 -5.5 0.62
Connecticut 44 23 52.3% 9 18 54 23 31 8 4.7 1.39
Duke 32 12 37.5% 12 6 41 21 12 -9 -0.7 -3.45
East Carolina 42 22 52.4% 20 7 36 35 21 -14 -12.7 -0.55
Eastern Michigan 31 13 41.9% 8 5 43 17 12 -5 3.0 -3.33
Florida 43 21 48.8% 13 8 37 26 14 -12 -9.9 -0.82
Florida Atlantic 43 24 55.8% 16 10 22 27 18 -9 -14.7 2.36
Florida International 35 17 48.6% 5 14 48 15 20 5 4.9 0.02
Florida State 37 19 51.4% 12 16 54 19 23 4 2.8 0.47
Fresno State 44 18 40.9% 10 5 44 23 9 -14 -4.4 -3.68
Georgia 60 29 48.3% 14 20 54 25 32 7 4.2 1.00
Georgia Tech 54 27 50.0% 8 14 47 19 21 2 1.2 0.31
Hawaii 57 23 40.4% 10 14 52 26 24 -2 3.9 -2.26
Houston 36 13 36.1% 6 21 61 15 31 16 18.1 -0.74
Idaho 40 17 42.5% 16 9 34 26 19 -7 -3.5 -1.44
Illinois 60 26 43.3% 13 10 42 28 22 -6 -0.6 -2.06
Indiana 32 17 53.1% 11 5 31 18 16 -2 -0.1 -0.81
Iowa 44 17 38.6% 8 10 39 18 19 1 6.8 -2.23
Team
TOTAL
FUM.
FUM.
REC'D
FR% Off INT Def INT PBU Off TO Def TO TO
Margin
Adj. TO
Margin
TO Luck/
Game
Iowa State 53 26 49.1% 17 11 45 35 24 -11 -9.4 -0.61
Kansas 45 26 57.8% 12 8 32 23 18 -5 -7.9 1.21
Kansas State 43 23 53.5% 6 18 45 15 27 12 6.2 2.23
Kent State 46 23 50.0% 9 14 39 19 31 12 9.8 0.94
Kentucky 40 20 50.0% 12 15 37 24 25 1 -2.7 1.54
Louisiana Tech 35 18 51.4% 11 21 55 20 31 11 6.1 1.88
Louisville 39 15 38.5% 13 10 34 22 21 -1 3.3 -1.64
LSU 48 26 54.2% 5 18 58 10 30 20 16.7 1.17
Marshall 37 19 51.4% 15 14 46 27 29 2 0.7 0.51
Maryland 43 29 67.4% 16 11 30 23 27 4 -5.5 3.97
Memphis 49 29 59.2% 8 12 29 18 30 12 4.5 3.11
Miami-FL 39 18 46.2% 11 6 24 19 15 -4 -1.9 -0.88
Miami-OH 26 11 42.3% 11 10 37 21 17 -4 -1.8 -0.93
Michigan 44 33 75.0% 16 9 35 22 29 7 -3.3 3.97
Michigan State 42 19 45.2% 10 18 42 18 25 7 4.1 1.03
Middle Tennessee 50 25 50.0% 15 4 23 28 20 -8 -6.0 -0.82
Minnesota 31 16 51.6% 10 4 28 17 9 -8 -5.6 -1.01
Mississippi State 45 22 48.9% 13 12 39 20 20 0 -0.3 0.13
Missouri 35 16 45.7% 11 13 51 19 22 3 5.5 -0.98
Team
TOTAL
FUM.
FUM.
REC'D
FR% Off INT Def INT PBU Off TO Def TO TO
Margin
Adj. TO
Margin
TO Luck/
Game
Navy 41 23 56.1% 6 10 27 15 24 9 4.6 1.82
NC State 54 23 42.6% 12 27 35 25 39 14 4.6 3.61
Nebraska 48 29 60.4% 8 10 43 19 18 -1 -4.7 1.40
Nevada 41 24 58.5% 12 15 54 25 25 0 -3.6 1.39
New Mexico 46 21 45.7% 8 3 26 21 13 -8 -2.7 -2.20
New Mexico State 44 26 59.1% 14 10 42 25 22 -3 -5.7 1.05
North Carolina 48 23 47.9% 14 14 50 26 24 -2 -1.1 -0.36
North Texas 40 23 57.5% 9 9 39 17 25 8 6.6 0.58
Northern Illinois 38 18 47.4% 6 13 55 19 25 6 8.8 -1.02
Northwestern 32 16 50.0% 9 12 30 17 20 3 0.2 1.09
Notre Dame 34 16 47.1% 17 8 41 29 14 -15 -11.4 -1.37
Ohio 45 23 51.1% 11 15 60 27 27 0 0.8 -0.27
Ohio State 42 18 42.9% 5 13 40 15 20 5 6.6 -0.60
Oklahoma 37 16 43.2% 16 15 67 29 27 -2 3.5 -2.10
Oklahoma State 42 25 59.5% 13 24 63 23 44 21 12.2 3.40
Ole Miss 37 14 37.8% 13 10 30 25 17 -8 -4.8 -1.34
Oregon 47 23 48.9% 7 17 74 20 29 9 12.4 -1.20
Oregon State 42 26 61.9% 19 11 39 31 23 -8 -13.2 2.18
Penn State 47 30 63.8% 12 14 59 25 26 1 -3.8 1.83
Pittsburgh 46 30 65.2% 14 8 47 22 21 -1 -4.1 1.17
Team
TOTAL
FUM.
FUM.
REC'D
FR% Off INT Def INT PBU Off TO Def TO TO
Margin
Adj. TO
Margin
TO Luck/
Game
Purdue 41 21 51.2% 11 12 42 20 21 1 0.3 0.28
Rice 42 24 57.1% 7 13 44 19 27 8 4.4 1.49
Rutgers 47 24 51.1% 16 19 42 28 34 6 -0.1 2.35
San Diego State 43 20 46.5% 8 15 49 16 28 12 12.6 -0.25
San Jose State 45 27 60.0% 15 13 31 32 33 1 -6.9 3.31
SMU 48 19 39.6% 19 6 48 32 16 -16 -5.2 -4.17
South Carolina 51 27 52.9% 15 19 32 27 32 5 -4.4 3.61
South Florida 43 22 51.2% 11 12 43 24 26 2 1.5 0.20
Southern Miss 41 16 39.0% 12 19 75 30 28 -2 3.9 -2.11
Stanford 42 21 50.0% 10 7 48 17 22 5 10.2 -2.01
Syracuse 33 15 45.5% 9 10 27 19 21 2 1.6 0.15
TCU 48 25 52.1% 7 10 44 21 23 2 2.7 -0.28
Temple 36 16 44.4% 4 15 37 12 21 9 7.4 0.63
Tennessee 45 29 64.4% 12 9 27 18 18 0 -7.7 3.23
Texas 40 22 55.0% 15 12 76 26 26 0 5.2 -2.02
Texas A&M 43 17 39.5% 15 7 55 24 15 -9 2.1 -4.28
Texas Tech 48 25 52.1% 10 5 31 18 19 1 3.0 -0.82
Toledo 39 23 59.0% 7 14 54 14 30 16 13.5 0.96
Troy 46 20 43.5% 15 8 26 31 19 -12 -9.6 -0.98
Tulane 39 14 35.9% 15 12 48 26 19 -7 -0.4 -2.55
Tulsa 45 18 40.0% 17 18 59 33 28 -5 -1.7 -1.26
Team
TOTAL
FUM.
FUM.
REC'D
FR% Off INT Def INT PBU Off TO Def TO TO
Margin
Adj. TO
Margin
TO Luck/
Game
UAB 41 22 53.7% 15 9 21 26 21 -5 -9.0 1.66
UCLA 47 22 46.8% 9 14 47 26 21 -5 -4.4 -0.21
UL-Lafayette 41 21 51.2% 10 14 45 23 23 0 -1.7 0.67
UL-Monroe 29 16 55.2% 10 13 26 18 21 3 -3.0 2.51
UNLV 39 25 64.1% 10 7 33 17 20 3 -0.8 1.57
USC 38 15 39.5% 7 9 45 18 17 -1 5.8 -2.84
Utah 54 29 53.7% 10 19 56 23 33 10 5.3 1.79
Utah State 46 20 43.5% 6 4 46 24 15 -9 0.8 -3.77
UTEP 29 17 58.6% 17 12 41 27 19 -8 -11.1 1.28
Vanderbilt 54 21 38.9% 18 19 51 28 29 1 3.4 -0.94
Virginia 42 20 47.6% 16 12 51 28 21 -7 -4.3 -1.04
Virginia Tech 39 23 59.0% 10 16 51 18 23 5 0.0 1.78
Wake Forest 30 19 63.3% 8 13 59 12 21 9 7.7 0.49
Washington 39 17 43.6% 13 10 49 22 23 1 6.6 -2.14
Washington State 43 23 53.5% 12 8 33 21 17 -4 -4.6 0.25
West Virginia 49 23 46.9% 9 14 42 22 23 1 0.7 0.13
Western Kentucky 31 13 41.9% 13 13 52 23 20 -3 0.7 -1.53
Western Michigan 58 27 46.6% 16 12 43 34 31 -3 -0.9 -0.80
Wisconsin 38 14 36.8% 5 16 41 10 26 16 17.7 -0.61
Wyoming 51 30 58.8% 11 13 38 19 31 12 5.8 2.40
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