Get that ball and go.

Going back to something Grantham said the other night…

“We actually created six turnovers and we were plus-3 for the game,” Grantham said. “In this league, when you turn the ball over you’re going to have a hard time winning. The last two years we’ve had 62 (takeaways), which is second only to LSU. If we’re plus-1 since I’ve been here we’re right around 92 percent win. It’s a critical point, we emphasize it and we work it every day. It’s a part of the game. You have to protect the football.”  [Emphasis added.]

… you might find this analysis about SEC turnover margin at of interest.  Over the last six seasons, here’s what a team’s chances of winning a conference game look like if it wins the turnover battle:

Turnover Margin   Wins   Losses   Winning %
  Plus 1   74   29   71.8
  Plus 2   52   13   80.0
  Plus 3 or more   55   7   88.7

Grantham’s percentage, you may note, is considerably higher than that, which makes sense if you think about it.  Positive territory for turnovers is an equalizer for the weaker teams, and an added boost for stronger ones.  (Of course, there will always be some teams for which you just have to toss the stats out the window.  But I digress.)

Georgia’s been second, third and fifth in the conference in turnover margin during Grantham’s time.  It’s been anywhere from plus-seven to plus-eleven in that period.  Given our expectations for the offense and defense in 2013, maintaining that consistency is likely to be a big deal.  Two keys to that:  on the offensive side, Aaron Murray needs to cut down on the picks, and on the defensive side, somebody needs to step up and assume the mantle from Justin Houston and Jarvis Jones of putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks/backfields.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

9 responses to “Get that ball and go.

  1. wnc dawg

    I have no doubt that on average turnovers play a large part in deciding games. However, I always take pause with stats like this when they don’t try and factor in favorites. Better teams will most likely force more turnovers from weaker teams, and be less prone to do it themselves. Every underdog game plan ever starts with “if we don’t turn the ball over.” A chart showing these percentages broken down by W/L with a point spread column would be rather interesting.


    • Cosmic Dawg

      Well, the interesting thing about the stat is that for *whatever* reason the turnovers happen – the team that gets even a slight advantage (+1) in that dept. is overwhelmingly likely to win the game.

      So I understand what you’re saying, but I think your point is implicit in the stat. Winning teams, teams that take their division, teams that go to bowl games, whatever – are overwhelmingly likely to have a positive turnover ratio, however slight…

      The only caveat I can imagine is if there’s a team that generally manages to create great numbers of turnovers against cupcakes then break even or go into the red with decent opponents. So I guess that would be interesting to see, but you’d figure that Alabama will beat Buffalo by a wider margin than Kentucky, and would get more turnovers, too, so it would generally come out in the wash.


    • Ruteger

      I’m with you here that we’ve got to take these stats with a grain of salt. Looking at a few UGA games last year:
      Mizzou: UGA was +1 and I’d say Jarvis going crazy in that was influential in the “W”
      Vandy: UGA was +1, but could have been -4 an beat Vandy that day
      SCU: SCU was +1 but might as well have been +100
      So those are all examples that go in line with the 72% winning percentage for +1 margin, but I only think one of those really go into what they’re trying to say about the statistic.


  2. mdcgtp

    Senator, both you and Grantham highlight an interesting twist on how this analysis should be done. the real question is NOT simply how turnovers affect the overall winning percentage, but do they affect all teams nearly equally? Put differently, are those delta’s between winning percentages the same regardless of a team’s overall winning percentage?

    You also raise another point, which is Grantham is only responsible for creating turnovers. He can’t control the offense. That said, if you go back and look at 2005-2012 and look at our turnovers by year, you will recall the years where we turned the ball over a lot (06, 09, 11) and a little (05,07,08,10,12). Its really rather remarkable. I contend that Aaron has an even higher plane in him in terms of performance. He threw 10 picks in 380ish attempts in 2012, I would contend that the Missouri, FAU, UT, and 2.5 of the UF picks, and 0.5 of one of the Nebraska picks were bad judgement, and the rest were either physical errors or bad luck. that is fully 60% of the throws. NO QB is perfect, but I think it is POSSIBLE that he could get that number down to 2% of his throws or about 2-3 less INTs. The scary thing is take an INT away from the UF, Bama, and say UT games and the complexion of those games changes dramatically!!!

    As for Grantham, I tend to think turnovers are a function of all the things we know…playing physical, playing with intensity, generating a pass rush, and having DBs cover tight and break on the ball….not much mystery to it. The key thing is that Grantham does not take chances to generate turnovers. That said, Jarvis had a knack for creating them, and many guys are going to have to replace that turnover production by being incrementally better than the guys they replaced at creating turnovers.


    • the real question is NOT simply how turnovers affect the overall winning percentage, but do they affect all teams nearly equally?

      Again, I think that’s probably answered by comparing Georgia’s winning percentage (92%) to the overall conference winning percentage (71.8%).


  3. Dog in Fla

    “Jarvis Jones putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks/backfields” and wreaking havoc on receivers. For Big Game Boom’s victory guaranteed game, Joker thinks he has a replacement for Jordan Reed. Won’t get stripped but some concern about dead ball fouls


  4. mdcgtp

    leave it to UF to trot the image of a killer (albeit in the movies) who was played by a man who died of a drug overdose. as for who fills reed’s role, its hard to argue there is scarcity value in guys who play this hybrid TE/WR position in football today. No doubt guys like Reed (or Orson Charles) help move chains and can present a bit of a mismatch for defenses, but they are generally below average blockers and less capable of making a “big play” on third down relative to the WR whose spot they fill. On the other hand, if they have someone in the Gronkowski mode that is a legit blocker and a dangerous downfield receiver, I would be more worried. My guess is they dont.


  5. W Cobb Dawg

    I’m betting Jordan Jenkins will provide a pretty good pass rush.

    Also have to give credit to CTG for bringing much-needed intensity to the UGA sideline in JAX. Muschamp can spin it any way he wants, but our D laid some big hits on fu last year.


  6. Dboy

    Senator, this post is heartening. Have you changed direction from the stance that a team’s turnovers ratio, over the course of a season, is nearly arbitrary and if in the negative one year, it is likely to “regress to the mean” in subsequent years?

    I have a always been a believer that > 50% of turnovers, both given up on offense and received on defense, are the product of savvy coaching, precise disciplined play and being the more aggressive / physically dominant team.