Team: Penn State Nittany Lions B1G East
Head Coach: James Franklin 1st year
Last Year’s Record: 7-5
Key Assistant: DC Bob Shoop
Trending: Downward, new regime that frankly doesn’t have the coaching acumen as those that just left. It is my humble opinion that James Franklin is WAY overrated as a head coach. He did well making Vanderbilt relevant BUT when you peel the onion you can see why.
His record against teams with a winning record was abysmal and he stacked his schedule with easy opponents. Consider this gem. While the head coach at Vanderbilt he had 11 SEC wins. Only TWO came against teams that finished with a winning record. That means he averaged LESS THAN four wins a year in the SEC while a head coach in that league and nine of them were against less than stellar competition.
You can’t run and hide at Penn State. This is big boy football and we know he can recruit, but his mettle will be tested as a coach week in and week out. If after three years at Penn State he is averaging less than four wins a year in conference play, he is GONE!
I think he is a good person, but I know too many folks that know him in the coaching profession who all use the word, “Snake oil salesman,” for him. When speaking recently he said he had better facilities at Vanderbilt than he does at Penn State. Anyone who has seen both facilities knew instantly that was not factual and either Franklin is delusional, blind or not truthful. You be the judge. What I do know is the comment was an insult to one of the greatest college football programs of all time.
I know that one comment set back a lot of good will among influential and powerful PSU alumni and boosters. One telling me, “That bull (excrement) needs to end now. He needs to prove he is worthy of this job before I write a check for anything. Trying to shame me or any of us into giving is a joke.”
Bill O’Brien had every reason to be angry with the PSU faithful, but he was a superior coach. Franklin has no reason to poke the faithful and is not a superior coach. I am not saying he is angry with them as O’Brien was, but I know several who are key players that are with him.
UCF (Dublin, Ireland): Loss
At Rutgers: Win
At Michigan: Loss
Ohio State: Loss
At Indiana: Win
At Illinois: Loss
Michigan State: Loss
Final thoughts: If Franklin doesn’t pan out in Happy Valley his hiring can set back PSU worse than the sanctions. This is a boom or bust hire. We shall see how it turns out, but I am not optimistic Franklin can do the job that PSU fans expect. Sure he can have Vanderbilt success, but this is PSU and they won’t tolerate that.