Why Turnovers Affect Outcomes

Football coaches put great emphasis on avoiding turnovers and making takeaways. Along with explosive plays, they are among the most important statistics regarding winning and losing.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban said that on average a turnover results in a loss of 3.6 points. Bama is doing a bit better than that this season, in part perhaps because the Tide hasn't had many turnovers – three lost fumbles and no interceptions.

Alabama is 5-0 this year and ranked first in the nation and South Carolina is 6-0 and ranked third in the nation.

The Crimson Tide and the Gamecocks have not allowed any points when an opponent starts a drive after a takeaway. The Southeastern Conference average is 24.3 points per team at the midpoint of the season.

Moreover, Bama has scored 84 points off drives started when the Tide gets a takeaway. The SEC average is 36.2 points per team.

Here are some other notes on SEC play at the midpoint of the season:

Alabama opened the season against eighth-ranked (at the time) Michigan. SEC teams have played only four games to date against non-conference opponents who were ranked in the nation's top 25. Bama, of course, defeated Michigan, 41-14. Otherwise, the SEC is 0-3 in games against non-conference ranked teams.

Texas A&M plays against No. 23 (AP) / No. 24 (USA Today) Louisiana Tech today in Shreveport. It will be the fifth time this season that an SEC team has played a non-conference Top 25 team (ranking at time game was played). Teams from the SEC have posted 38 wins in the last seven seasons (2006-12) against non-conference Top 25 teams (at time game was played).

Florida visits Vanderbilt today. Since 1992, the Gators have the best record away from home (Gainesville / does include Jacksonville games) in conference games at 68-23 (.747). Alabama and Tennessee, which have the second best record (51-30, .630), are also on the road this weekend – the Crimson Tide at Missouri and the Vols at Mississippi State.

Alabama and Missouri kick off at 2:30 p.m. CDT at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium with television coverage by CBS.

Alabama leads the SEC, averaging 3.22 points for each offensive drive. The Tide also leads the league in percentage of drives ending in scores (TD+FG) at 56.9 per cent (33 scores on 58 drives) and TD scoring efficiency (37.9 percent / 22 of 58). South Carolina is close behind on TD efficiency (37.8 / 31 of 74).

As for drive chart efficiency on defense, Alabama (0.59 / 35 points allowed on 59 opponent drives), South Carolina (0.81 / 63 on 78), Florida (0.95 / 57 on 60) and LSU (0.95 / 77 on 81) are averaging less than one point on every opponents' offensive drive. Alabama leads the SEC in allowing least amount of scores per opponents' offensive drive (08.5 per cent / 5 – all TDs – of 59 drives).

LSU leads the SEC in opponents' three-downs-and-out percentage at 45.7 per cent (37 of 81 drives). Alabama is second (42.4 per cent / 25 of 59) and Florida is third (41.7 percent / 25 of 60). The SEC average is 33.1 per cent.

Since the start of the AP poll in 1936, a team has received all first place votes a total of 51 times. Three SEC teams – Alabama, LSU and Tennessee – have received unanimous No. 1 votes in AP polls. Alabama has received all first place votes during the last two polls as well as the final polls of the 1992 and 2009 seasons. LSU has been a unanimous selection 5 times including four polls last season and Week 6 poll in 2007. Tennessee all first place votes in two polls, both in 1998 (week 14 and final).

Florida is the only NCAA FBS team to not allow a fourth-quarter point this season. The Gators are outscoring opponents 41-0 in the fourth quarter this season, the largest scoring margin of any SEC team this season. South Carolina has outscored opponents by 40 points (61-21) in the fourth quarter this season. Nine SEC teams are outscoring opponents in the fourth quarter this season, including Bama by 41-7.

SEC teams have scored on drives lasting less than two minutes 149 times during the first six weeks of the season. SEC teams have scored on drives lasting more than five minutes 41 times so far this season.

SEC kickers have accounted for 213 touchbacks so far this season on 459 kickoffs, a 46.4 per cent ratio. Alabama has 40 kickoffs with 24 touchbacks, 60 per cent. In all of last season, SEC kickers had 190 touchbacks on 841 kickoffs, a 22.6 per cent ratio.

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