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Ole Miss fans shouldn’t care what Shea Patterson is doing at Michigan

There was plenty of schadenfreude after the former Rebel golden boy’s opening game struggles. Let’s leave it be.

NCAA Football: Michigan at Notre Dame Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

After the Texas Tech game last Saturday, I was sitting at a great bar in Houston (shout out to the Conservatory, which is kinda like a grown-up food court). While drinking glasses of Weller for seven dollars a pop, I saddled up to a table with several friends.

After several moments rejoicing in Ole Miss win, the conversation quickly turned to the Michigan vs. Notre Dame game on the bar’s televisions. Of course, we had to discuss Shea Patterson, the former Rebel QB who bolted to Ann Arbor over the offseason.

“Shea was just too scared of competition. He wasn’t even all that good anyway.”

“I bet he’s going to really struggle tonight just like he did in big games at Ole Miss.”

“He’s good, but he does turn the ball over a lot; sometimes he just tries to hard.”

These comments, and comments like them, have become a common refrain among Ole Miss fans. I understand why fans feel some happiness in the pain of those who are seen to have deserted the program. I just don’t understand why people continue to fixate so much on Patterson (who struggled during Michigan’s 24-17 loss). Moving on from the former blue-chip quarterback is easy for me, and the reason why was summed up best by one of our own (who shall remain nameless) after more than a few drinks:

“It doesn’t MATTER! WE HAVE AN AWESOME HAWAIIAN QB WHO IS BETTER. I DON’T CARE TO TALK ABOUT SHEA PATTERSON!” (Except when he/she said it, every other letter was capitalized because he/she is annoying as hell.)

In this case though, he/she is right. Jordan Ta’amu is a good quarterback for Ole Miss, so why should we care about who the quarterback at Michigan is?

Sure, Patterson was the No. 1 player in the country and someone everyone hyped up a lot. In college, he was thrust into the limelight after Chad Kelly’s knee injury, and, with very limited experience, was a good-but-not-great quarterback until his own knee injury. At that point, Jordan Ta’amu came in and played quite well. This meant that there was almost definitely going to be a quarterback competition in Oxford heading into this season. For that, and many other reasons, Patterson transferred to Michigan. He’s a good quarterback and is now the starter there.

Our interest in him should probably stop there. It makes no sense to dwell on the success or failure of a potential backup who transferred to a different school. I haven’t heard anyone talking about other players to have transferred out of Ole Miss. People aren’t talking about safety Deontay Anderson’s eight tackles for Houston, or that receivers Tre Nixon and Van Jefferson scored two touchdowns apiece for their new schools (UCF and Florida, respectively). People correctly recognize that one is only wasting time by thinking too much about players who aren’t playing for Ole Miss any longer.

Some fans, however, are quick to point out their bitterness around Patterson’s claims to have been misled by the Ole Miss staff. Claims made when he was trying to transfer out of the program. These claims seemed, themselves, misleading to many and even malicious to some. But, on that, two things;

  1. It’s definitely possible that he was misled by the Ole Miss coaches. We don’t know what was said to him during his recruitment or while he was on the team.
  2. At the time, Patterson was trying to get an NCAA waiver to play immediately and had to make a case for why he should be able to do so. Perhaps he was being a bit Machiavellian and leveraging a sympathetic media to his cause. In that case, if he did stretch the truth, who really cares? Why, now, should it matter? It didn’t have any bearing on Ole Miss’ NCAA case, which had already been decided by that point.

It sucks that Patterson couldn’t more easily transfer as it is. Quarterbacks, unlike other positions in football, need to be starters if they’re going to have any shot at the NFL. Shea Patterson hurt his knee, got eclipsed by a pretty good quarterback, and lost his head coach and offensive coordinator—the guys who recruited him—almost overnight. After all of that, Shea wanted to play right away somewhere else, Michigan wanted him to play right away in Ann Arbor, and the NCAA wouldn’t let any of that happen because of #amateurism. He gamed the system at what ultimately came out to be nobody’s expense. So, really, good for him.

But again, the biggest point here is that it shouldn’t matter to us who the starting quarterback at Michigan is, because a great quarterback is playing at Ole Miss. If Patterson had left us high and dry at the most important position in football, I’d probably be upset too. That’s just not the case here though.