Payton Thorne Left Michigan State For Auburn, Who’s Basically The MSU Of The SEC
Payton Thorne has officially transferred out of Michigan State to Auburn.
He made it official Friday on social media.
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Thorne is a graduate transfer, meaning he's eligible to play for Auburn immediately. He has two seasons of NCAA eligibility remaining.
Thorne appeared poised to start at quarterback for MSU for the third consecutive weekend just three weeks ago. During the Spartans' annual spring football game/practice, Thorne showed the most command of the offense among MSU's cadre of QBs. It's important to remember, though, that a public scrimmage/practice is a small sampling of the overall body of work from the spring season. For all we know, one or both of Thorne's competitors, Noah Kim and Katin Houser, were showing that same kind of command of the offense in the spring action we didn't see.
RELATED: Maybe Pump The Brakes On Pronouncing Michigan State Football Dead Over Recent Transfer Portal News
In speaking with reporters following MSU's spring game, it was clear that the Spartans' open quarterback competition bothered Thorne. Odds are good that that at least played a part in his decision to leave. There are also rumblings that he found out he would have to win back his starting job at the same time as everyone else, when MSU head coach Mel Tucker made that announcement during his first spring press conference.
Some have speculated that Thorne decided to leave State once he heard that teammate and would-have-been No. 1 receiver Keon Coleman had entered the transfer portal. The thinking there is that Thorne foresaw a ton of difficulties for the Spartans against a tough schedule this coming season without an NFL prospect at receiver.
If that's the case, his transfer doesn't exactly come with a brighter outlook. Auburn finished tied for last place in the SEC West a season ago. The Tigers went 5-7 and struggled to win two conference games — sound familiar. By the way, those SEC wins came first in overtime versus Missouri (6-7) and later against Texas A&M (5-7). Auburn was at home in both cases.
Here's Auburn's 2023 schedule:
|9/23||at Texas A&M|
|11/18||New Mexico State|
As if the commonalities between MSU and Auburn's 2022 seasons weren't enough, there's this. Auburn regularly plays second fiddle to its in-state rival. The rivalry is downright toxic, but instead of tunnel fights it features grown-ass men poisoning trees. The key difference between MSU and Auburn is that the Tigers' rival actually backs up its talk about being elite by winning crystal footballs instead of referencing achievements from before black people were allowed to play college football.
Thorne had been State's starting quarterback since the beginning of the 2021 season. He threw for 3,240 yards and completed 60.4 percent of his passes that year, with 27 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Last season, hindered by injuries to himself and his offensive line (not to mention the noticeable absence of a Heisman contender at running back), Thorne sputtered to 2,679 passing yards on 62.5 percent completions, 19 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions.
Michigan State's Protected Rivalries In A Division-Less Big Ten
There's much speculation that the Big Ten will abandon it's division-based format for football in the 2024 season.
If/When that happens, each team will likely have three opponents that are protected. That means that those specific games will be played each season.
With that in mind, we've come up with some choices for Michigan State's three protected games in a division-less Big Ten.