Turning over the Tide

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- It’s not exactly a revelation that taking care of the ball is critical to winning any football game.

But when it comes to beating Alabama, taking it away from the Crimson Tide is a must.

Over the past four years, Alabama is a combined 48-5. In those five losses, the Crimson Tide are minus-6 in turnover margin and turned the ball over 10 times.

They had three turnovers in their only loss this season, a 29-24 setback to Texas A&M. In fact, the only one of their five losses over the last four years in which they didn’t turn it over at least two times was the 35-21 loss to South Carolina in 2010.

“It’s why we concentrate on us and playing the way we’re supposed to play,” Alabama senior center Barrett Jones said. “If we do that, then everything usually takes care of itself.”

The Crimson Tide are tied for 13th nationally in turnover margin this season. They’ve forced 28 and lost 15 (plus-13). Notre Dame is tied for 21st. The Irish have forced 23 and lost 14 (plus-9).

During the SEC’s streak of six straight national championships, the lowest any of those teams has finished in turnover margin was Florida in 2006. The Gators were 37th nationally with 29 forced turnovers and 24 lost.

Here’s a turnover margin breakdown for the last six national champions:

  • 2011 Alabama -- 20 forced and 12 lost (plus-8), tied for 23rd

  • 2010 Auburn -- 22 forced and 17 lost (plus-5), 33rd

  • 2009 Alabama -- 31 forced and 12 lost (plus-19), 4th

  • 2008 Florida -- 35 forced and 13 lost (plus-22), 2nd

  • 2007 LSU -- 36 forced and 16 lost (plus-20), 2nd

  • 2006 Florida – 29 forced and 24 lost (plus-5), 37th