Michigan State Football: Payton Thorne egregiously disrespected by PFF

Michigan State's Payton Thorne runs the ball against Western Kentucky during the fourth quarter on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021, at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing.211002 Msu Wku Fb 203a
Michigan State's Payton Thorne runs the ball against Western Kentucky during the fourth quarter on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021, at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing.211002 Msu Wku Fb 203a /

When you’re a Michigan State football fan, you’re used to watching your favorite team disrespected by the national, and even local, media.

It’s almost like a yearly tradition for the media to show Michigan State next to no respect.

Let’s take a look at the last year of disrespectful takes by the media and how they’ve turned out thus far:

  • Mel Tucker projected as one of the worst Power Five coaches for 2021. Result: He’s 5-0 on the year and a coach of the year candidate
  • Michigan State projected to win 4.5 games by Vegas and the bottom of the Big Ten by most experts. Result: Michigan State is 5-0 and 2-0 in the Big Ten through five games.
  • A Saturday Tradition writer had MSU has the No. 14 team in the Big Ten power rankings in the preseason. Result: Yeah, no.
  • Kenneth Walker III wasn’t listed on preseason award watch lists. Result: He’s a Heisman contender and the nation’s leading rusher.
  • Jayden Reed wasn’t even All-Big Ten candidate in the preseason. Result: He’s the nation’s all-purpose yards leader.

But the latest batch of disrespect might be the most egregious.

Pro Football Focus ranked all 130 starting quarterbacks in the country heading into Week 6 and Payton Thorne got a joke of a ranking. The site listed him as the No. 53 quarterback in the country after five games. Yes, No. 53. That’s not a typo.

And it’s blasphemous.

Who ranks ahead of the Michigan State football quarterback?

Thorne is fifth in the Big Ten in passing yards, eighth in completion percentage, tied for third in touchdown passes, he’s one of two Big Ten quarterbacks with 130 attempts and just one interception, and he’s second in passer rating.

All-in-all, Thorne is probably a top-three all-around quarterback in the conference in terms of accuracy, yardage, and turnovers. He’s been fantastic this year.

But Pro Football Focus has him listed as the sixth-best quarterback behind CJ Stroud, Cade McNamara, Aidan O’Connell/Jack Plummer, Taulia Tagovailoa, and Michael Penix Jr. in the “average” group of quarterbacks. Flat-out disrespectful.

  • Stroud is a solid top Big Ten quarterback — hard to argue this one.
  • McNamara has 500 fewer passing yards, a lower completion percentage, fewer yards per attempt, six fewer touchdown passes, a lower passer rating, and about 50 fewer attempts.
  • O’Connell/Plummer each have fewer yards per attempt, lower passer ratings, and combine for as many touchdowns as Thorne and four more picks.
  • Tagovailoa is coming off a five-interception game, has a lower passer rating, fewer yards per attempt, and has attempted 46 more passes (which is why he has 260 more yards).
  • Penix Jr. is currently injured and is having a really bad year. He has about 300 fewer passing yards, seven fewer touchdown passes and six more picks, a horrid 5.8 yards per attempt average, a completion rate about 10 percent lower than Thorne’s, and a much lower passer rating.

He’s also behind D’Eriq King and Bailey Zappe who he arguably out-dueled this season.

It’s time to start questioning how Pro Football Focus comes up with these rankings because the nation’s No. 32 passer (in yards) with 11th-best yards per attempt, 14th-most touchdown passes, 12th-best passer rating, and one of the best touchdown-to-interception ratios is somehow ranked 53rd overall?

Just not right.

Next. 3 things that must happen for Kenneth Walker to win Heisman. dark