Advanced Football Stats: Turnovers

In our series finale, we look at the impact turnovers can have on a college football game.

Part One: Explosiveness

Part Two: Efficiency

Part Three: Field Position

Part Four: Finishing Drives


In a series for WKUInsider, we're exploring the world of advanced football statistics.

Similar to tempo-free stats for basketball, these numbers are more complicated than the average metrics used, but tell the story of a team (or player,) much more accurately.

SBNation's Bill Connelly, an expert on advanced football stats, says there are five factors that makeup college football's most important measurements.

In the final part of our series, we look at turnovers.


The shortest of our five-part series is also the one coaches have the least control over--Turnovers.

According to Connelly's data, if a team wins the turnover margin by 1 in any game, they have a 64.5 percent chance to win.

That number increases to a 78.6 percent chance with a +2 or more margin.

So winning turnover margin is clearly important. But, the data shows there's not much coaches can do to control for this stat.

Again according to Connelly, there is almost no correlation of fumbles a team forces from year-to-year.

And there's not even much of a correlation with say, a ratio of passes defended to passes thrown (in theory, the better defense would defend/intercept more passes.)

WKU forced 23 turnovers in 2013, but gave up 24, for a minus 1 margin on the season.

However, their 15 fumbles lost ranked among the worst in FBS last year--No. 116 out of 123 teams.

So with everyone already expecting WKU to score a lot of points in 2014, maybe they'll be able to earn even more than we thought--With a bit more luck falling on the ball.


For more from Connelly, check out his book "Study Hall", available for order on Amazon.com.

Talk about the full advanced stats series with other Topper fans over at WKUInsider's free "Topper Club" forum.


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