Shea Patterson is one of the country's premier college football players this season. The new Michigan quarterback (a transfer from Ole Miss) is said to be the piece that completes Jim Harbaugh's puzzle.
Last season, Michigan's offensive failed in most of its challenge games. A full season "total offensive" ranking of 105. actually underestimates the big game inability of the Wolverines. Look at these totals per game, compared to the best competitions. Keep in mind that Michigan totaled 5.2 YPP in 2017:
Malaise and Blue: YPP 2017
- 4.1 Michigan State
- 3.8 Penn State
- 3.7 Wisconsin
- 4.3 vs. Ohio State
- 3.6 vs. South Carolina
The Wolverines scored only 1
This for a team that was expected by the markets and the media to shine under Harbaugh. Michigan was ranked 11th in the preseason AP Survey 2017 nationally but started 2-5-1 against dissemination, then ended up missing a 14-point market in its bowl. Michigan enters 2018 ranked No. 14 in the AP preseason survey. The Wolverines begin their season Saturday night at No. 12 Notre Dame (7:30, NBC). Although pollsters see the Fighting Irish as the superior side, the market is not. The point spread was throughout the week via Pick-em or Notre Dame -1. Since the advantage of the home field is generally worth three points (and some would say that it would be worth even more under the observation of "Touchdown Jesus" in the northern end zone), we can conclude that the wolverines are a favorite in the neutral field would the Irish.
Patterson is the main reason.
Oddsmakers and respected weather who talk about their money expect big things. Michigan is nine in the regular season. Bets at -155 on the money line, despite a schedule that includes games at Notre Dame, Michigan State and Ohio State, with home-based winners against Wisconsin and Penn State.
Patterson's statistics for Ole Miss were superficial in 2017, before he was injured against LSU, but those numbers were frontloaded against non-threats to South Alabama and Tennessee-Martin (28-of-35, 0 INTs, 429 yards and 32-of-43, 1, 489, respectively). Against the big competition, Patterson's TD / INT ratio was only 8/8. His line in Alabama was a poor 14-29-2-165. Before he left the injured LSU game, he was 10-23-3-116
If Patterson is the answer, Michigan will storm through the first half of his 2018 plan. If he's just the kind of passer-by who can embarrass weak opponents, the Wolverines will be in dire straits against their toughest conference rivals in October and November. Handicap and bet accordingly.