Random?? If turnover margin (TOM) is truly random, then it would seem a relatively pointless exercise to even track this statistic. So, as you might suspect, my analysis indicates turnovers are not primarily random. Here is Michigan's TOM for the past 14 years.
This does not appear to be simply a random result. And, if TOs are random then RichRod was undoubtedly the most unlucky coach in history! I find it impossible to believe that the worst turnover margin over 3 years was just coincidently the 3 worst years of Michigan football ever.
2011 Review: Michigan went from a turnover margin of –10 in 2010 (ranked #109) to a +7 in 2011 (ranked #25). But, what you might not know, the improvement in turnover margin was entirely due to fumbles and not interceptions. M lost 57% fewer fumbles and gained 186% more fumbles. Interceptions, uh, not so good. Based on the number of pass attempts, M threw 47% more interceptions and intercepted the opponent 18% less.
Fumble Recovery Rates: Michigan had unusually high (i.e. good) takeaway and giveaway % in 2011 which resulted in a net of 9 turnovers in advantage to Michigan versus the typical rates of around 50%. If these rates had been around the expected 50%, the overall TOM for the year would have been negative (-2).
We should expect the fumble recovery rates to return to around to 50% and this will negatively impact the turnover margin for this year. However, the interceptions thrown as well as the passes intercepted were very poor in 2011 and that should be good news for the turnover margin this year. The experience in the secondary should also result in better performance. Overall, I expect the turnover margin to remain very good next year and into the future. Very good teams have good turnover margins.