Joyner Calls Pryor “Vastly Overrated”

If you read this site with any regularity, you may already know that I’ve questioned Pryor’s Heisman candidacy in the past. My position since the start of the year has been that Pryor needed to show improvement in several key areas before I would say he should get an invite to New York. So far Pryor has shown improvement, but we are all certainly waiting to see how he does against a quality opponent in a hostile environment (for example Saturday against Wisconsin.) Apparently ESPN’s KC Joyner doesn’t need to wait that long.

His numbers may look gaudy at first glance, but a closer look at them and the real reasons he is among the front-runners for this award shows that Pryor may be the most overrated player in college football.

Joyner is not a fan. And I have to say I’d respect him a lot more if he would simply talk about the parts of Pryor’s game that he didn’t like, but instead he uses this argument-

Pryor is currently ranked sixth in FBS in passer rating, tied for seventh in touchdown passes, 14th in completion percentage and 13th in yards per pass attempt.

Those are all elite totals, yes — but Pryor’s performance is also skewed by favorable circumstances. Four of his games this year have come against Marshall Thundering Herd (1-4 Conference USA team), Eastern Michigan Eagles (0-6 MAC team), Ohio Bobcats (3-3 MAC team with two wins coming against Wofford and Eastern Michigan) and Indiana Hoosiers (possibly the worst team in the Big 10).

Pryor completed 83 out of 110 passes for 1,040 yards, 12 touchdowns and two interceptions in these contests. That equates to a phenomenal 187.24 passer rating when facing subpar opponents.

Now look at how Pryor did when the competition level was turned up. In the games against the Miami (FL) Hurricanes and Illinois Fighting Illini, he completed 21 of 43 passes for 309 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Put those into the quarterback calculator and it comes up with a passer rating of 127.52, a total that would rank 63rd in FBS so far this year.

So, basically Joyner says that Terrelle’s numbers are so impressive because he has faced inferior competition. I’m not really even going to argue that. The defenses that Ohio State has faced, with the exception of Miami and Illinois have not been good at all. And Pryor has put up big numbers in those games, as he is supposed to. Against Miami and a very underrated Illinois defense Pryor got the job done offensively (with an injury against Illinois remember, that forced the Buckeyes into a grind it out approach for the entire 4th quarter) while minimizing turnovers.

The biggest problem I have with Joyner’s piece is the ridiculous logic he uses. He says take away the games against easy opponents and then just use the efficiency rating for Pryor (127.52) against the rest of the league. Wouldn’t you have to adjust the ratings for all the QBs?

Or does that not grab enough headlines?

Should we discount Kellen Moore’s stats against Wyoming, New Mexico State and Toledo? Do we throw out Stanzi’s numbers against Eastern Illinois, Iowa State and Ball State? Do we judge Mallett only by his performance against Georgia and his 3 INT game against Alabama? We don’t want Andrew Luck’s 2 INT performance against Oregon to count against his totals now do we?

Again, I am not going to say that right now I think Pryor deserves the award. I am encouraged by the progress that Pryor has made this year. His performances against Wisconsin, Penn State, Iowa and Michigan will ultimately be the difference in his Heisman eligibility. I just can’t believe how weak an argument someone called ‘the football scientist’ would make.

  • ben

    you’re 100% right. As soon as i read that line, I had the same thought.

  • ClevelandStrikesBack

    How about Denard Robinson against everyone they’ve played lol. I honestly can’t WAIT till November when the Buckeyes crush the Wolverines and Robinson because it will finally show the nation how completely overrated Robinson is.

    Also, without being a homer I feel like Pryor is in the conversation, but has a long way to go if he wants to win. He has limited his mistakes this year and has been quite successful overall, but has missed out on a few long bombs. I think he’s a big game player and loves feeding off the night games ect… it will be fun to watch on Saturday to see if he can have a true Heisman coming out party.

  • Jason


    My thoughts exactly!!! This guy is just another ESPN hack. Makes a somewhat valid point but can’t back it up. Then wants to cirticise a guy and take out the “easy” games, but not remove the gimme’s from everyone else. It’s a joke.

  • eldaveablo

    I’m not even an OSU fan, and I was annoyed by this article. I also love how he didn’t even mention Pryor’s running as a factor to consider.

    It’s like article says that Pryor doesn’t deserve the Heisman because he played against some poor quality opponents, and he isn’t the best pure passer in college football.

    I’m not saying he does deserve the Heisman at this point, but based on the writers’ criteria, does anyone deserve the Heisman?

  • Denny

    He shouldn’t win the Heisman because he considers LeBron a friend. /caps

    Thought I’d put the moronic thought out there before anyone else does.

    Robinson’s still the frontrunner at this point, with LaMichael James close behind. Then I’ve got Martinez from NeBrasky and Kellen Clemens in the mix, along with Pryor. Thing is, the same arguments can be made for pretty much all of these players, James and Clemens aside. Clemens’ problem is he won’t be playing anybody of note the rest of the year. James is just lights out.

  • stin4u

    This weekends contest vs. Wisconsin will go a long way in proving or disproving this.

  • Vagabond

    ESPN loves to pull hair. They create stories when they have nothing to write about and do so to inflame large fan bases to get more hits on their sites. They’re just trying to sell advertising space. Otherwise, there’s no reason to write this article.

    While I agree with the premise that Pryor isn’t Heisman worthy, it’s not worth reading anything by The Mouse to confirm it.

  • saggy

    TP drives the nation’s numero-uno squad. that also always factors into the equation. Denny, I’d have him higher up on the list – and I think Robinson will continue to show that he doesn’t deserve the award by the fact that he can’t keep the ball out of opposing DB’s hands. And you can’t win the Heisman playing for a cruddy team – which is what Michigan really is.

    I think Pryor wins the award if the Buckeyes go undefeated.

  • Tsunami


  • Denny

    saggy – Just talking about things to this point in the season. I think UM will drop at least two more, but to this point I think it’s undeniable that Nard Dog is playing out of his mind. I hate mid-season Heisman talk as much as I hate pre-BCS ranking polls and BCS predictions. But I guess to the point of Ricks piece, Pryor’s certainly not overrated. He’s I think appropriately rated.

  • Max

    I agree that this guy is just trying to make a wild argument to beef up ratings. It’s like me saying that I was 6 over par today if I don’t count the quad, triple and four double bogeys. The concern would be if he WASNT teeing off on leeser competition. He has skills, and you can’t deny that

    I also notice that somehow this thread veered off into a “bash Denard and Michigan” tangent without provocation…are Buckeye fans perhaps a bit leery?

    I’m not calling any shots or saying any team is better than any other, or that anyone is going to beat anyone else (especially not with that “defense?” in AA). I’m just saying the knee-jerk reaction is interesting.

  • Gabe

    HMM…need a headline. lets bash some Ohio sports!!!

  • hans

    lame columnist is lame?

    lame sports channel/site/magazine/evil empire is lame?

    lame Michigan QB, future Browns kick returner is lame, for now?

    CRIBBS FOR QB 2011! (training 2nd round pick Terelle Pryor who somehow doesn’t win Heisman…and falls in draft value due to horrid ESPN articles written on wasted paper/megabytes which could be better spent reporting on llama farming than tripe like this)

  • boogeyman

    I’m not sold on Pryor either and especially not Robinson from Mechigan. That kid from Auburn is the next one. I’d still rather take a Mallett or a Locker or Luck over these guys.

  • Markoleptic

    No doubt the article was a blatant flame job intended to lure subscribers, but that’s what I’m starting to expect from ESPiN.

    As far as #2 goes, there are probably better passers in college football, and I suppose better runners as well, but who else has the whole package? It seems whenever someone wants to downgrade Pryor they only look at one or the other in comparison to the rest of the field.

    Also I think there’s a “hype hangover”. Terrelle is only doing what he was expected to do. Lest we forget, he was expected to be Superman … but we’re only getting what we ordered so it seems hum-drum.

    I’m not ready to hand Pryor the hardware yet, but I wouldn’t have anyone above him right now either.

  • mgbode

    he’s a ‘scientist’ so he must have his math right. don’t pay attention to obvious common sense :)

    martinez from Nebraska would be my pick so far this season. the Huskers have an offense? good thing it wasn’t last year, that just would have been unfair.

  • bobby

    I dont see how Denard is the Heisman right now. He’s had a few good plays, but he showed against MSU that he isnt there yet. Had an awful pass that should have been an easy TD but instead was an INT.

    As for Pryor, of course he still has a few kinks to fix, but I do agree he is a complete player and perhaps maybe not the best player in college football but he is the MVP of the current #1 team in the nation.

    As for other QBs and their NFL prospects, I like what Ive seen, limited thus far, of Luck. He looks solid and I would take him over Mallet or Lockler in next draft… if McCoy doesn’t light it up….

  • Danny

    The ‘Worldwide Leader’ never lets me down when it comes to Ohio State bashing.

    He could have written the same article about any number of players in college football (ESPECIALLY Denard Robinson). The season is only entering the third week of conference play, a lot of teams have played week opponents up to this point.

  • Ike

    Overrated? Every play of Pryor’s career has been overly dissected by Ohio State fans and outsiders alike. As an OSU fan, I nitpick at everything Pryor does…every Saturday. That’s not to say he’s unfairly criticized, but he’s certainly not overrated.

    Wit Alabama losing, I personally think ESPN is doing everything they can to hype up OSU-Wisconsin. This article just gives the casual fan more of a reason to tune in Saturday evening.

  • Dan

    That guy is an idiot. So tired of these analysts acting like everything tOSU and Pryor has done is meaningless. We faced tougher competition in Miami and Illinois than most of the Top 5 has faced.

  • barry

    historically, players who win the heisman come up big in the games that count – probably the main reason peyton manning never won the heisman because he never beat florida. perhaps if joiner had stated it that way, the truth would be a bit more palatable?

    i don’t see anything in pryor’s play that’s going to going to change the trend of osu QB’s after college – playing in an indoor football league or making a living broadcasting or selling real estate within the confines of I-270 after washing out of the NFL.

  • Tristan

    I don’t think that most people realize that TP has already passed the ONLY two-time heisman winner ever.

  • Chad

    KC Joyner be trolln’ the Buckeye Fans. Ignore him and he’ll go away

  • Nick

    Well, I guess tonight we see it again. 14-28….In big games against legitimate talent, he throws for 50% or under. This means he will be just like every other OSU QB on Sundays….holding a clipboard, or serving burgers at McDonalds

  • Dave

    You don’t need stats to see that he is overrated. He doesn’t pass the eyeball test. He would be better as a pure option QB or a TE/WR. He’s just not a very good passer. At this point in a QB’s career, he shouldn’t need to develop throwing skills.

    He’ll never, ever be more than a journeyman pocket passer at the NFL level, probably after a flame out as a high #1 draft pick.

    It’s unfortunate that developing NFL skills trumps winning and success at the college level. This could be a dynamic, unstoppable offense with Pryor running a pure option with guys like Saine, Hall, and Berry. Instead, we jam a square peg into a round hole and the entire team suffers.

  • Bob

    Joyner is just tellin’ it like it is. Pryor shines when they play crap, and folds when they play quality. I pity the team that drafts him for anything besides clipboard holder.