Alabama By the Numbers: Points Off Turnovers

AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 26: Dee Milliner #28 of the Alabama Crimson Tide returns an interception for a touchdown against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The consensus concerning turnovers is that they are bad when you commit them and great when you get them. The more difficult question is how can you measure their impact?

Coach Saban's answer to this is to itemize every one of Alabama's turnovers -- both those gained and lost -- then examine the outcome of the drive that resulted. By dividing the resulting points by the number of turnovers a "scoreboard value" per turnover can be derived.

In an attempt to replicate this analysis, we have gone through the play-by-play accounts of every game over the past five seasons and listed every interception and fumble turnover. We then noted the outcome of the drive that change of possession produced. This has been split into turnovers Alabama gained and those that the Crimson Tide lost (which, obviously, were those "gained" by the opponents.)

The charts with all of this information can be found after the jump but, for right now, we'll look at a few graphs that show what that data reveals year-to-year.

Points per Turnover 2007-2011

Source: RollTide.com

Last season, the value of each Alabama turnover was 2.5 points more than those of the Crimson Tide's opponents. It was the largest margin of difference during Coach Saban's tenure in Tuscaloosa and the only time since his arrival that the value exceeded 2 points. Obviously, a key reason for this disparity in 2011 was the relatively low numbers of turnovers committed by the Tide -- which is exactly the point of the exercise.

The only season the Tide's margin of difference was negative was in Coach Saban's inaugural season but, since then, the gap between the value of Alabama's turnovers and the opposition has remained fairly constant. One interesting tidbit this data reveals is that a quarter of all Alabama's points scored in 2008 came on possessions started by turnovers. That figure hasn't topped 20% in any other season over the past half decade.

Now lets break the data down by the type of turnover. Here is a chart of the point values for fumble turnovers.

Points per Fumble 2007-2011

Source: RollTide.com

The gap in point value for Alabama's fumble turnovers and the opposition has remained positive over the past half decade but the margin of difference did dip to less than a point in 2010 and 2008. Last year the difference between the value of the Crimson Tide's fumble turnovers and those gathered up by opposing players was 2.75 points, the best tally since 2009 when just one of Alabama's seven fumble turnovers translated into opponent scores.

This chart also dramatically shows how the bad fumble "luck" we've discussed at some length this week hit Alabama in the scoreboard. Fumble turnovers produced just ten points in 2010 -- less than half of any of the past five seasons. Even though the Crimson Tide secondary reeled in 80 points worth of interceptions (as we'll see in the next chart) it wasn't enough to overcome the drought of points from fumbles.

Now for the interceptions:

Points per Interception 2007-2011

Source: RollTide.com

All during this week we've noted how, on the face of things, it would seem the Alabama secondary has something of a lackluster year. But while total number of interceptions were down from seasons past the value of those picks were extremely high -- 3.71 points to be exact. That was bolstered even further as the Crimson Tide's dominant defense limiting opponents from cashing in on the relatively few picks they were able to amass. The value difference between turnovers gained and lost was 2.46 points in 2011, by far the best under Coach Saban.

Conversely, it's pretty clear to see why Major Applewhite was invited to leave town after the 2007 season. Not only did Alabama's quarterback corps deliver more footballs into the waiting arms of opposing defenders, those teams tended to turn those turnovers into points. Opposing teams cashed in Crimson Tide picks for a whopping 45 points that season -- more than double any season since (welcome to Tuscaloosa Kirby Smart!). The lesson here? Rack up a -2.16 point margin of difference in turnovers gained and lost and you'll find yourself coaching running backs somewhere in the Big XII.


An index of all the Alabama By the Numbers articles can be found on Roll Bama Roll's Facebook page.

The charts below list each turnover in every Alabama game over the past five seasons as well as the outcome of the ensuing drives. They do not include fumbles that were recovered by the team which had possession of the ball. Touchdowns do include the points after when they were made (because that's the way Coach Saban does it). The source of this information are the play-by-play accounts of Alabama games available on RollTide.com. A list of the abbreviations used is at the bottom of the post.

2011
Turnovers GAINED Turnovers LOST
Game Turnover Unit Result Points
Kent St. INT DEF EOG 0
Penn St. FUM DEF TD 7
Penn St. INT DEF PUNT 0
Penn St. FUM DEF TD 7
Arkansas INT DEF TD 7
Arkansas INT DEF EOG 0
Florida INT DEF TD 7
Florida INT DEF TD 7
Vandy INT DEF FG 3
Vandy INT DEF TD 7
Ole Miss INT DEF FG 3
Ole Miss FUM DEF TD 7
Tenn. INT DEF TD 7
Tenn. FUM DEF DOWNS 0
LSU (1) INT DEF BFG 0
LSU (1) INT DEF FG 3
Auburn INT DEF TD 8
Auburn FUM DEF EOG 0
LSU (2) INT DEF MFG 0
LSU (2) FUM DEF TD 6
Total 20 79
Game Turnover Unit Result Points
Kent St. INT OFF PUNT 0
Kent St. INT OFF PUNT 0
Kent St. INT OFF TD 7
Kent St. FUM DEF DOWNS 0
Kent St. INT OFF DOWNS 0
N. Texas FUM OFF PUNT 0
N. Texas FUM OFF DOWNS 0
Tenn. INT OFF DOWNS 0
LSU (1) INT OFF FG 3
LSU (1) INT OFF DOWNS 0
Miss. St. INT OFF MFG 0
Auburn FUM OFF TD 7
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
Total 12 17
2010
Turnovers GAINED Turnovers LOST
Game Turnover Unit Result Points
SJSU INT DEF TO 0
Penn St. INT DEF TD 7
Penn St. FUM DEF TO 0
Penn St. INT DEF PUNT 0
Penn St. INT DEF DOWNS 0
Duke INT DEF TD 7
Arkansas INT DEF TO 0
Arkansas INT DEF TD 7
Arkansas INT DEF EOG 0
Florida INT DEF FG 3
Florida INT DEF TD 7
Florida INT DEF TD 7
Florida FUM DEF PUNT 0
S. Carolina INT DEF DOWNS 0
Ole Miss INT DEF MFG 0
Tenn. INT DEF TD 7
Tenn. INT DEF DOWNS 0
Miss St. INT DEF PUNT 0
Miss St. INT DEF TO 0
GA State INT DEF TD 7
GA State FUM ST TD 7
GA State INT DEF TD 7
GA State INT DEF TD 7
GA State INT DEF TD 7
Auburn FUM ST FG 3
Mich. St. INT DEF TD 7
Total 26 90
Game Turnover Unit Result Points
SJSU FUM OFF DOWNS 0
Penn St. FUM DEF PUNT 0
Duke INT OFF PUNT 0
Duke FUM OFF PUNT 0
Arkansas INT OFF PUNT 0
Arkansas INT OFF TD 7
S. Carolina FUM OFF TD 7
Ole Miss FUM ST FG 3
LSU INT OFF FG 3
LSU FUM OFF FG 3
Miss St. INT OFF DOWNS 0
Miss St. FUM OFF EOG 0
Auburn FUM OFF PUNT 0
Auburn FUM OFF PUNT 0
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
Total 14 23
2009
Turnovers GAINED Turnovers LOST
Game Turnover Unit Result Points
VA Tech FUM ST FG 3
VA Tech FUM ST FG 3
FIU INT DEF EOG 0
Arkansas INT DEF DOWNS 0
Kentucky FUM DEF TD 7
Kentucky INT DEF DOWNS 0
Kentucky INT DEF FG 3
Kentucky INT DEF FG 3
Ole Miss INT DEF PUNT 0
Ole Miss INT DEF FG 3
Ole Miss INT DEF TO 0
Ole Miss FUM ST FG 3
Ole Miss INT DEF FG 3
S. Carolina INT DEF TD 7
S. Carolina FUM DEF FG 3
Tenn. INT DEF FG 3
LSU INT DEF EOG 0
Miss. St. INT DEF DOWNS 0
Miss. St. INT DEF FG 3
Miss. St. INT DEF EOG 0
UT Chatt. INT DEF TD 7
UT Chatt. INT DEF PUNT 0
UT Chatt. INT DEF FG 3
Auburn INT DEF FG 3
Auburn FUM DEF MFG 0
Texas INT DEF PUNT 0
Texas FUM DEF TD 7
Texas INT DEF TD 7
Texas INT DEF TD 6
Texas INT DEF EOG 0
Total 30 77
Game Turnover Unit Result Points
VA Tech INT OFF FG 3
VA Tech FUM OFF PUNT 0
N. Texas FUM OFF PUNT 0
Ole Miss FUM OFF TO 0
S. Carolina FUM OFF MFG 0
S. Carolina FUM OFF PUNT 0
S. Carolina INT OFF PUNT 0
S. Carolina INT OFF TO 0
Tenn. FUM OFF TD 7
LSU INT OFF EOH 0
Auburn INT* ST PAT 0
Texas INT ST FG 3
Texas FUM ST PUNT 0
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
Total 12 13

* The Alabama interception in the Auburn game was on a two point attempt
after the touchdown and isn't included in the overall stats.

2008
Turnovers GAINED Turnovers LOST
Game Turnover Unit Result Points
Clemson FUM DEF FG 3
Clemson FUM DEF FG 3
West KY INT DEF TO 0
West KY FUM DEF FG 3
Arkansas INT DEF TD 7
Arkansas INT DEF TD 7
Arkansas INT DEF TD 7
Arkansas INT DEF PUNT 0
Georgia FUM DEF TD 7
Georgia INT DEF EOH 0
Kentucky FUM DEF TD 7
Kentucky INT DEF MFG 0
Ole Miss FUM DEF TO 0
Ole Miss INT DEF FG 3
Ole Miss INT DEF TD 7
Ark. State INT DEF TD 7
LSU INT DEF TD 7
LSU INT DEF TD 7
LSU INT DEF PUNT 0
LSU INT DEF EOG 0
Miss. St. FUM DEF FG 3
Auburn FUM DEF TD 6
Auburn FUM DEF TD 6
Auburn FUM DEF TD 7
Utah FUM DEF TD 7
Total 25 104
Game Turnover Unit Result Points
Tulane FUM OFF TD 7
West KY INT OFF TD 7
West KY FUM OFF PUNT 0
Arkansas INT OFF TD 7
Georgia FUM OFF NP 0
Kentucky INT OFF PUNT 0
Kentucky FUM OFF PUNT 0
Kentucky FUM ST DOWNS 0
Ole Miss FUM OFF TD 7
Ole Miss INT OFF PUNT 0
Tenn. FUM OFF FG 3
Ark. State INT OFF PUNT 0
LSU FUM OFF TO 0
LSU INT OFF PUNT 0
LSU FUM ST TD 7
Florida INT OFF EOG 0
Utah INT OFF TD 7
Utah FUM OFF FG 3
Utah INT OFF EOG 0
x
x
x
x
x
x
Total 19 48
2007
Turnovers GAINED Turnovers LOST
Game Turnover Unit Result Points
W. Carolina FUM DEF MFG 0
W. Carolina FUM DEF TD 7
Vandy INT DEF TO 0
Arkansas INT DEF TD 7
Arkansas FUM DEF PUNT 0
Arkansas FUM DEF FG 3
Georgia INT DEF PUNT 0
Georgia INT DEF TD 7
Fl. State INT DEF PUNT 0
Houston FUM DEF TD 7
Houston INT DEF TO 0
Houston INT DEF EOH 0
Ole Miss INT DEF MFG 0
Ole Miss INT DEF PUNT 0
Ole Miss INT DEF FG 3
Tenn. INT DEF FG 3
Tenn. INT DEF EOH 0
LSU INT DEF PUNT 0
LSU INT DEF FG 0
LSU INT DEF TD 7
ULM INT DEF FG 0
Auburn INT DEF TO 0
Colorado FUM DEF FG 3
Colorado FUM DEF FG 3
Total 24 50
Game Turnover Unit Result Points
Vandy INT OFF DOWNS 0
Arkansas INT OFF FG 3
Arkansas FUM OFF TD 7
Arkansas INT OFF TD 7
Georgia FUM OFF MFG 0
Fl. State FUM OFF TD 7
Houston INT OFF TO 0
Ole Miss FUM OFF MFG 0
Ole Miss INT OFF TO 0
LSU INT OFF TD 7
LSU FUM OFF TD 7
Miss. St. INT OFF TD 7
Miss. St. INT OFF TD 7
ULM INT OFF PUNT 0
ULM INT OFF TD 7
ULM FUM OFF PUNT 0
ULM FUM OFF PUNT 0
Auburn INT OFF EOH 0
Colorado INT OFF TD 7
Colorado FUM OFF PUNT 0
x
x
x
x
Total 20 66

Abbreviations
DEF: Defense. INT: Interception.
DOWNS: Turned over on downs. MFG: Missed field goal.
EOG: End of game. OFF: Offense.
EOH: End of half. PUNT: Punt.
FG: Field goal. ST: Special teams.
FUM: Fumble. TD: Touchdown.

Statistical note: For much of these more in depth analyses we are relying on the numbers provided by Alabama Athletics on RollTide.com. We have used the NCAA numbers available on CFB Stats to compare Alabama's performance across college football but those are not as detailed as the UA information. In addition, there are slight discrepancies between the two sets of data.

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