P.J. Fleck, Pat Fitzgerald, Florida St. Bag Opine on College Football Turnover Prop Trend


pj fleck

Perhaps P.J. Fleck said it best: “as educators, you’re always teaching life lessons in a very cultural way.”

Turnover props, the latest craze in college football, do indeed, as the Minnesota Head Coach puts it: “teach the importance of turnovers.”

Most people believe this trend started with the Miami Hurricanes’ turnover chain last season, which is certainly the most iconic object of the genre by far. However, when Lovie Smith took over the Illinois program in 2016, his staff installed a contraption in the team room/press conference room that does exactly what all turnover props do- emphasize the importance of getting takeaways.


It has been billed the “Peanut Punch Machine,” named for legendary former Chicago Bears cornerback Peanut Tillman, who specialized in forcing the ball loose from opposing hands.

Only the team and the media get to see it, so if you missed it, it’s pictured above. As it’s not present on the sideline so it doesn’t quite fit into the same category as all the turnover props that were rated by a survey of 2,400+ college football fans. 

The results of that survey are below:

I would have to agree that the Oregon State turnover chainsaw is where we reach the apex of this trend, but rating the Florida State turnover bag dead last? Well, we strongly disagree with that as we “interviewed” the FSU backpack here in this piece, and you’ll get to him know him/her very well later on. 

That said the turnover chain is probably the first of its kind because the Peanut Punch machine is stationary. It doesn’t get passed around. Getting back to P.J. Fleck, his program does not have a turnover prop yet, but it could be coming soon. The Golden Gophers players have approached their head coach with some ideas.

“If we’re going to do anything, we’re going to do it as a team, as a defensive unit,” the second year man said yesterday on the Big Ten coaches call. 

“We’re not going to do it individually, because it takes all 11 to get that takeaway.”


“We’ve (he and his staff) said since Western Michigan that the ball is the program because it is, you win the turnover battle you’re going to win 78% of the time and you’re going to win 78% of your games (in which you win the turnover battle).” 

Fleck added that the turnover prop ideas need to be, and have been, very creative. 

So when will we see the debut of Minnesota’s new turnover prop, if/when they decide on one? “Your guess is as good as mine,” P.J. Fleck responded.

The Sugar Grove, Illinois native says that deciding on a turnover prop isn’t really high on the “bucket list” right now.

It’s also not the highest current priority for another coach in the Big Ten West, Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald.

“I think if the guys came to me, it would be something we would discuss in the offseason,” Fitzgerald said on the same coaches call.

“Right now our focus is on trying to get better as a football team.”


“It sounds like just the next gimmick in college football, I’m sure it’s fun for the kids, so if our guys wanted to do it and it wasn’t a distraction, and it was team-based, I’m sure we would have some fun with it.”

So there you have it Northwestern Wildcats players, your coach is open to the idea. 

While many outlets have done feature stories on the turnover prop trend in college football, we here at The Bank went the extra mile in our coverage. We went out and obtained “an exclusive” with an actual turnover prop.

Take that ESPN!

florida state secure the bag

He/she is the Florida State turnover backpack, and you can follow the “official” Secure the Bag account @bagfsu

(Editor’s note: given the fact that so many people in America these days don’t have the intellectual acumen to even “believe” in basic facts, we don’t want to confuse people further, so here is our disclaimer:



Paul M. Banks/The Bank: One of the coaches I interviewed for this piece referred to the trend of turnover props in college football as “the latest gimmick.” I would imagine that offends you? Being labeled a gimmick?

FSU Secure the Bag: Sounds like a swell guy. You know the average football coach is fired within like three years? So, really, this coach, whoever he is (Harbaugh…it’s totally Harbaugh isn’t it?) is the real “latest gimmick” if you think about it.

Banks: Good guess! Same conference. Another one of the coaches I interviewed for this piece said they will adopt a prop soon, but only if it’s something the entire team agrees upon. Are the Seminoles 100% in support of you? Every player?

FSU Bag: You know, I never really thought about it before. And now I’m thinking about it. Terrific.

Can you ever really know another person? Like, really know them? I mean, look at Kennesaw State. The Turnover Plank. He always looks so happy. They put a little suit on him when they travel to games. Like he’s one of them. An equal. I see that, and, I realize that I don’t know how that feels. I’ve never felt anything like that before.

I don’t know. Does that answer your question?

Banks: Very much so, thanks. You definitely seem to be a deep thinker, are you student of philosophy? any specific philosophers?

FSU Bag: Nietzsche. Definitely Nietzsche. He really speaks to the absurdity of life. I could just as easily not exist at all, and instead, there’d just be some cow out there, grazing in a field, fully intact. But instead the cow is dead and I’m here.

Banks: I’m going to have to go back and re-read that copy of “Beyond Good and Evil,” I had in grad school. You also seem to be struggling with issues of self-doubt and anxiety from time to time, so just in general how are you doing?

And I mean that in a very sincere sense, not just elevator talk, really how are you doing?

FSU Bag: I don’t think I’m ready to talk about Mom yet. So let’s go with fine. I’m fine. Thanks for asking.

Banks: Well, we’ve move on. What is your relationship like with the Miami Turnover Chain?

FSU Bag: She’s actually a very sweet girl. I’d say we’re friends. Good friends. I definitely didn’t give her any indication I’m interested in something romantic.

Funny story, we’re both huge fans of the Great British Baking Show on Netflix. So, we have a lot to talk about.

If she ever texts back.

Banks: Maybe she’ll read this and then reach out. I might interview her next. I can put in a word. Does Florida have a turnover prop? If not, what do you think would be an object befitting the Gators?

FSU Bag: A Turnover Arrest Warrant would be appropriate.

Wow! Shots fired! Tulane has turnover beads, you got to admit that’s clever?

FSU Bag: Tulane has a football team?

Banks: ZING! Again! What do you think of the Willie Taggart era so far?

FSU Bag: I’m pretty sure Willie is also a big Nietzsche guy too. I think I get what he’s going for. The whole Lethal Simplicity thing makes a lot more sense if you think of it as a demonstration of nihilism.

Banks: That’s very deep. I haven’t thought of it that way….yet. Midway through the season, what would say have been the highest and lowest points of the 2018 Florida State season?


FSU Bag: I’m heavily medicated right now so I don’t really experience highs or lows. But if I had to guess based on the reactions of others, I’d say the high point was probably the Miami game, and the low point was also the Miami game.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, is currently a regular contributor to SB Nation, WGN CLTV and Chicago Now.

Follow him on Twitter, Instagram, Sound Cloud and YouTube. The content of his cat’s Instagram account is unquestionably superior to any and all of his.

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