Michigan ranked No. 117 in turnover margin, heading down dangerous historical path
ANN ARBOR -- In the past 10 years, the Michigan football program has had three seasons with a negative turnover margin.
The combined record of those three years? 15-22.
For those guessing at home, those three seasons were the duration of Rich Rodriguez's tenure at Michigan (2008-2010), when the Wolverines combined for a turnover margin of -32.
In terms of simple math, negative turnover margins mean big losses and disappointing seasons.
And so far in 2012, the Michigan football team has a four-game turnover margin of -7 -- the third-worst number in America.
And though he's had a massive part in this problem, the entire issue doesn't lie with quarterback Denard Robinson, who has accounted for nine of the team's 11 turnovers to this point.
Robinson has been careless with the football, sure. But Michigan's defense and special teams haven't exactly been stellar at getting the football back. The Wolverines got one meaningless fumble recovery against Alabama, one special teams recovery late against Massachusetts and two key interceptions against Notre Dame.
Of the four gained, only the latter two had the chance to have any type of impact on the football game.
But at this point, it doesn't really matter where the blame lies, what matters is what will likely happen if the team doesn't flip the number around.
In 2011, 31 NCAA Football Bowl subdivision teams finished with a turnover margin of -5 or worse. Those teams went a combined 135-250, a winning percentage of just 35 percent, and an average win-loss record of 4-8.
Only eight of those 31 teams finished the season with a winning record, and just four won a bowl game.
This season, the five teams who actually have a worse turnover margin than Michigan have gone a combined 5-14.
It's far from elite company.
Robinson's had trouble keeping the ball, the defense has had its problems getting it back.
Add it all up, and it means danger time for Michigan.
One way or another, sooner or later.