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Urban Meyer has had the upper hand on Jim Harbaugh, and a new quarterback in Ann Arbor shouldn't change anything this season.

Ohio State football: Shea Patterson at Michigan won’t scare Buckeyes

Austin Ward

During the week, Land of 10 reporters following the Buckeyes address pressing questions on the minds of the Ohio State fan base with our daily feature. To ask Austin Ward a question, follow along on Twitter and suggest a topic right here. Check back Monday through Friday as we dive into the Ohio State Question of the Day. Go here to see all of our previous answers.

There’s a distinct déjà vu feeling every offseason with Michigan under Jim Harbaugh, and it always feels as if a transfer quarterback is triggering it. Bringing in outside help at that critical position seems to generate a lot of buzz for the Wolverines in the summer, but it has yet to pay off in November in The Game. And there is no reason to think that Shea Patterson is going to be any different or cause Ohio State to lose any sleep.

So, does Patterson’s immediate eligibility change the odds on the Buckeyes winning the Big Ten? Maybe the Wolverines are going to look better out in the desert, but on the field, there are still far more reasons to install Ohio State as the smartest bet to claim the championship and defend its Big Ten crown. The Buckeyes have the deeper, more talented roster and they have a coach in Urban Meyer who has absolutely owned the rivalry with a perfect record in six matchups. Plus, Michigan’s biggest issues haven’t necessarily been at quarterback.

Ohio State-Michigan-The Game-Ohio State Buckeyes-Michigan Wolverines
Ohio State has never lost The Game under Urban Meyer. (Land of 10/file photo)

Obviously there have been deficiencies at that spot the last couple years. There were throws available last season in the Big House that a better quarterback would have completed and maybe knocked off Ohio State. But those were the kind of passes that Jake Rudock or John O’Korn were supposed to deliver when they transferred to the program once upon a time, and that didn’t wind up happening. They aren’t solely to blame, though, because the offensive line at Michigan has been a disaster and there has been no ground game to help the cause. Last season in Ohio State’s comeback win on the road, the Wolverines gave up 5 sacks while rushing for just 2.8 yards per carry. Patterson does’t really have the skill set to help much in that department, even with his athleticism.

There are still problems for Michigan to solve offensively, and Patterson has to be included in that equation after throwing 9 interceptions in seven starts last season for Ole Miss. Against top-notch defenses in Alabama and LSU, Patterson combined to complete just 24 of 52 attempts for 281 yards and 5 interceptions — and no touchdowns. With the Silver Bullets bringing back one of the best collections of defensive back talent in the country, and with a pass rush that could be even better than last season, Patterson alone doesn’t seem like enough to tip the scales in the Horseshoe this fall.

Will Michigan be improved? Probably. But at this point, the safest pick clearly is Ohio State.

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