Friday, July 11, 2008

Aaah! Turnovers!

Here's some interesting data from Rock M Nation's The Boy. First, though:

What happens if we count both values (the value of the offense's field position at the time of the turnover and the value of the resulting starting field position for the opposition) fully, combining the two to gauge the 'points' involved in a given turnover. Where does that take us?

For one thing, it means we're looking at quite a few different numbers here. For every time your offense turns the ball over, you've got a "Points Lost" number (your own field position at the time of the t/o) and a "Points Given" number (opponent's resulting field position). For every time your defense benefits from a takeaway, you have a "Points Prevented" number (your opponents' field position at the time of the t/o) and a "points Taken" number (your resulting field position). Obviously Points Lost and Points Prevented are the same number (depending on whether you're on offense or defense), as are Points Given and Points Taken.

(Field position point values were determined by going through the play-by-play from the 2007 season and determining the expected point value of a given spot on the field.)

Night terrors, ma'am:

Worst Turnover Points Margins

120. NC State (-8.87 points per game) (tied for #116)
119. Florida International (-8.67) (#119)
118. Idaho (-8.43) (#113)
117. Baylor (-8.16) (tied for #116)
116. Nebraska (-6.58) (tied for #116)

Nine points per game! (The number in parentheses is each team's national ranking in turnover margin, so this points-based method squares pretty well with the more conventional statistic.)

NC State ranked 117th in both points prevented (just a few) and points given (lots; often immediately).

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