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American Athletic Conference Turnover Luck Trends

We take a look at teams' turnover luck, as measured by Football Outsiders' S/P+ ratings, to see if there are any notable trends to give us insight about next season.

Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

First, a primer from Football Study Hall's Bill C., who is a wee bit of a freaking genius:

The concepts are pretty simple: Over time, you're going to recover about 50 percent of all fumbles, but in a given year, you might recover 70 percent, or you might recover 30. The same goes with passes defensed; on average, you can expect to intercept about 22 percent of the passes you defense. (Passes defensed = interceptions + break-ups.) This is a bit mushier a concept ... but over time a particularly butter-fingered year will be balanced by a sticky one.

So let's take a look at the conference and see what the numbers might tell us.


So in that first column, we can see right away that Connecticut was horrifically unlucky when it came to recovering fumbles this past season. When you combine that with their incredibly poor luck when it comes to offensive interception rate, it results in the worst turnover rate in the conference by a wide margin, by just about every metric.

South Florida and Temple were on the other end of the spectrum when it comes to fumbles, and for South Florida that probably represents the lone culprit for their big turnover luck turnaround from the year before. That also doesn't bode very well for improvement come next season.

East Carolina opposes the Huskies when it comes to offensive interceptions, though that can't be entirely surprising with an offense centered around two ridiculous talents like Justin Hardy and Shane Carden. Tulane and Houston were the two unusually lucky teams when it comes to defensive interception percentage, but even that wasn't enough for the Cougars to avoid a 7.36 point drop in overall turnover luck. Though that likely says more about the fickle nature of turnovers and turnover luck than anything else.

In terms of meaning for next season, Huskies fans should probably be encouraged that the hope they feel about next season being better carries some factual weight behind it, though it's not like the year could be a whole lot worse. As for Houston, their fans should be absolutely ecstatic that Chad Morris is coming in to coach a team whose turnover luck shifted all the way from "historic" to "average" but still managed to post the exact same record.

As for SMU fans... at least your line of the chart is full your team color? Wait, that's bad. Sorry, I've got nothing.