Does James Franklin Make Sense for Penn State and Vice Versa?

James Franklin was officially announced as the next head coach at Penn State Saturday.  He became a coveted coaching prospect after lifting Vanderbilt from 2-10 before he arrived to 6-7 in 2011 followed by a pair of 9-4 seasons.  All of that was good enough for fourth place in SEC East all three years.  He arrives in State College to a team that finished 7-5 (3rd place in its division) and is still under sanctions.  Can Franklin have enough success at PSU to satisfy fans?  Is he positioned to meet the expectations?


The Expectations in Happy Valley
For now, an 8-win season is probably acceptable for Penn State.  While the sanctions have hurt the roster some, he still has a five-star quarterback with a year under his belt.  Even with the penalties, he can probably outrecruit Pittsburgh for Pennsylvania kids and might similarly win faceoffs in New York and New Jersey with Syracuse and Rutgers.  But it won't be long before he's expected to win 10 or 11 games a season and compete for conference titles like Joe Paterno often did.  That means getting through Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan State on an annual basis with Wisconsin and/or Nebraska often thrown into the mix as well.  That doesn't sound much easier than what he faced in Nashville.  The difference is Vandy fans hadn't seen their team win 8 games since Ronald Reagan's first term and hadn't seen 9 victories in over a century.  Winning only 8 or 9 games just a few years removed from a coaching legend isn't nearly as satisfying.  Ask Bo Pelini.

Taking it to the Next Level
At major programs, the fans want to see 11 or more wins.  That seems to be the mark that would allow him to gain some measure of security at Penn State in the longer term.  But the difference between winning 9 and winning 11 might be almost as great as the gap between 2 and 6 or 6 and 9 (despite the math).  Turning a loser into a winner isn't the same as turning a winner into a contender.  In coaching, it's like the difference between Don Nelson and Phil Jackson (to use a basketball example).  Nelson won three NBA coach of the year awards by winning two thirds of his games in places with modest expectations like Milwaukee and Golden State.  Jackson by contrast made his mark by taking teams winning two thirds of their games and making them champions.  Penn State is looking for another Phil Jackson.  It remains to be seen whether or not they simply found another Don Nelson.    Jackson was never fired.  Nelson wasn't so lucky.

You'd expect Franklin to come in and win more games than he loses.  If he can't exceed the 8 or 9-win mark though, it's questionable how long he'll be welcome at Penn State.

Share the Love

Comments 49 comments so far

Franklin comes off like some Jersey Shore guido—yea, he should fit right in @ State Penn.  Plus, he had some Vandy players up for rape charges, I guess, again, perfect fit.

Based upon Nebraska standards, PS should be happy with 4 loss seasons over the next six years, especially while the program is on probation with limited scholarships available.  Question then is, what is NU’s excuse, without similar program restrictions PS has, limiting its program development?  I will await the usual kool aide response from NU diehard fans, “Just you wait.  Pelini is going to pull it together in 2014.  He loves his players.”  I consider PS sanctions to be an adequate excuse to expect no better than 4 or 5 loss seasons while they are on probation.  What is NU’s excuse?  And please don’t fall back on the 2013 season excuse only concerning player injuries.  Please include your non-Pelini excuses for 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 seasons resulting in how many losses those years?  4 per season with some embarrassing blow outs???

May God bless the PS program as it moves out of the horrors of child molestation.

Also, the guy was like 24-15 @ Vandy, not exactly a stellar record.  So, personally, I don’t see all the hype about the guy except he’s one of those ‘player’s’, ‘rah rah’ type coaches.

Give the guy a chance to lose 4 games a year, already.
Calling out a guy who hasn’t coached one down for his new team yet is ‘sour oranges’.

Who knows? This guy just might pan out. I guess he should also be allowed at least 7 years (minimum) just like someone else we all know.

I wouldn’t be surprised if his record is at least as good as Pelini’s after 6 years.


You must be a very difficult person to shop for, for the holidays. 

First off, 2007 was Callahan’s last year.  Bo wasn’t involved.
On December 2nd, 2007, one day after coaching in the SEC Championship Game as LSU’s Defensive Coordinator, a game LSU won, Bo Pelini was named Head Coach for the University of Nebraska.  So get your factual poop in a group will ya?!!

2008, his first year at Nebraska, Bo Pelini went 9 - 4.  Rebuilding Nebraska and going to a Bowl game.  Defeating Clemson in the Gator Bowl.  They had lost to the #7 Texas Longhorns earlier in the year by 6 points in OVERTIME.  27 - 31.  Not exactly a blowout loss.  Texas would later end the season #3 with a 3 point win over Ohio St.  in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

2009, Nebraska played for the B12 Conference Championship against Texas and lost by one second.

2010, Nebraska played for the B12 Conference Championship against Oklahoma and lost by 3 points.

2011, Nebraska finishes it’s first season in the B1G with a 10 - 4 record.

2012, Nebraska played for the B1G Conference Championsip against Wisconsin.

2013, Nebraska defeats a ranked Georgia team in their bowl game and finish the year 9 - 4.

If I were shopping for you for Christmas I would have to go with a pair of socks.  Enough to show I am thinking of you, but not really enough to show that I care.

This article was really just throwing a bone to a dog.

Good catch, Johnny.  My bad on when Pelini’s first year was. 

As to your ‘spin’, I won’t waste time highlighting the good, the bad and the ugly.  We know of the blow outs NU suffered.  Excuse after excuse following how many years at the helm???  My point is, apparently PS expects more out of its new coach concerning wins and losses despite the probation straight jacket the program is in compared to NU.  We now have Texas and PS with higher expectations than NU. 

Johnny, I don’t know what the antidote is for the bigotry of law expectations, but you and others are surely afflicted with the illness.

I see similarities of Franklin leaving Vandy for PSU with Tyrone Willingham leaving Stanford for Notre Dame.  Both schools were looking for the next coach to lead them to a Nat’l Championship.  Both schools had expectations higher than the talent.  Willingham got fired and replaced by a guy who had success with his recruits.  History has a funny way of repeating…good luck, Coach Franklin. You’re gonna need it…

Naw, Realista is easy to shop for:  just get him a BOP voodoo doll.

Realista thought he had ‘broken’ the ‘record’ for ‘beating a dead horse’ but later found out that OU7 had already ‘re-dun-dit’.


Most of us already have one only we call it the “wait till next year” doll.

Hey Dogg,

I’m still enjoying the “ass whooping” you and 2 other nerds predicted that Alabama would give Oklahoma.

Why don’t you do what you do best. Sticking up for buttholes and knocking coaches (among other groups) who haven’t had the chance to coach a game yet.

Sniffing too much drywall dust, I guess.

Notice turds like NY and dead guy haven’t shown up since the beat down of Alabama.

Yuk yuk yuk…

That was ‘stooopid’.

OU7, you just reminded me, I’ve been negligent:

Congrats to OU for beating Bama
Congrats to FSU for beating Auburn
Congrats to MSU for beating Stanford
Congrats to Nebraska for beating Georgia
Congrats to Michigan and Ohio State for ... nothing.

Does James Franklin Make Sense for Penn State and Vice Versa?
It makes sense for PSU because, well, they needed a coach since O’Brien left.
It makes sense for Franklin because, well, PSU pays more.
End of article.

Did you hear Strong’s conference on recruiting?  “If Texas goes and visits an 3 star player tonight, tomorrow he is a 4 star by the recruiting services.  So how much better did that player get overnight?”  Like he said don’t put to much into the stars, Texas, Alabama, LSU, etc. can only recruit so many players, the recruiting services can only see so many players.  I wouldn’t call them diamonds in the ruff they just haven’t had the exposure like alot of kids get.  I just drink my Kool aid and hope & pray that our coaches go after kids that fit our system, can keep there grades up, and socially are a good mix with what we already have in place.  GBR


There is something of a rivalry between Penn St and Nebraska.  It has to do with a championship being awarded to us but not them.  I think it was the 94 season, but I cannot be sure.  However, since joining the B1G Penn St has yet to defeat Nebraska.  That probably had more to do with the coaching change at Penn St.  Although, considering the job he did there, I think the coach was ready to move on to greener pastures.  I really don’t see it as anything other than that.

How do you think Dantonio would have faired had Nebraska defeated MSU for the 8th straight time?  Personally I think MSU got screwed in the final standings.  I think Auburn, after losing an 18 point lead should have fell out of the top 5 at least.  This should have advanced MSU to the #2 spot.

You may look at it as the biggotry of low expectations, however I see a lot of what we are facing as simply bad officiating and SEC Bias.  Personally, I feel I have more examples on my side than you may have on yours.

Thank you, and congrats to the Nebraska team on their win also.

“Like he said don’t put to much into the stars…”

FSU couldn’t agree more…


Yer boyz needed, like what, 5 TOs and Knight playing the game of his lifetime to just barely win that thing, so I wouldnt get too giddy ‘bout it.  Bama still beats OU 2 outta 3 times in ‘13.

I’m happy The Fighting Stoopseses beat Bama though…

Some say “Well, Alabama’s heart wasn’t in it”...“They thought they should have been in the national championship game”.

Well, That’s too bad because OU came to play and was ready to kick ass. Turnovers are part of the game or else we might as well just say ‘If we scored more points, we would have beat them’ game.

“Barely Beat them”?
Yea, OU barely beat them by 14 points and could have been 21 points if Knight wouldn’t have missed that open receiver (by 2 feet) down the middle of the field in the first half.
See what I mean about ‘shoulda-coulda’?

Coach Stoops was right about the bottom half of the SEC defenses. Lots of lousy lower ranked defenses. Same as most conferences, but the media chose to paraphrase Coach Stoops comments and make it sound like he said ALL SEC defenses were bad. He took a lot of heat for that and punched them in the mouth with the truth.

True, the SEC recruit players that are in a different dimention than the rest of the conferences on a year to year basis now, but they’re not invinceable.
OU has picked up some really nice recruits for the next season thanks to that game.

I’m feeling real positive about Oklahoma football’s future.


Ya got 7 garbage points at the end.

What I saw, is that OU had a chip on shoulder and came to prove a point.  Bama, after their 1st rasther easy score, looked like they became a bit complacent.  But bottom line, McCarren was somewhat off his game, giving up 2 unforced INTs early on, then the RB fumbles on would-be scoring drive inside 10, etc.  That stuff kept OU in the game big time.  Knight was playing out of his mind, ala Aaron Rogers type throws, which he probably couldnt do that again 9 outta 10 games.  Biggy ups to your DL, though, they played a great game, because your backend couldnt tackle for shizzle.

I still think Bama is the better team 3 outta 5, best of 7, yups.

Agree though, that W gave OU’s program a big and needed boost into the future and probably helped ‘em get that RB Dixon(Mixon?) 5* guy.


Your description of the OU - Bama game sounds like a the MSU-NU and Iowa-NU games this year.  Fumbles, INTs, etc.

So in a way you’re saying NU beats MSU 3 out of 5, best of 7, yups.


Dog like I said before, a really good qb, balanced offense and a deep defense that can slow down other offenses and make a stop once in a while and you have a good chance to go places.
you will see a lot of players in the NFL that are not 5 star guys from colleges that I know are not able to recruit these type of players.  You will find more 3 and 4 star guys there, so the NFL scouts must know something about these players, or maybe the 5 star guys have peaked before college or just matured faster.  Bottom line just get good players that fit your system that have potential and room for growth.  Yes Winston was a great get for them but without him they don’t win.

Franklin has come in and cleaned house - which I really like because DL coach Larry Johnson Sr is available and word is that a deal is being finalized to bring him to Ohio State.  That is a big coup.  Ohio St just lost a good one in Vrabel to Bill O’Brien and the Texans.  Johnson has been producing great D lines for a long time and is known as a great recruiter.  So, thanks Coach Franklin!

But to the question - I think it’s a good hire.  Vandy is a tough place to win and he has done that.  He will win at Penn State.  The sanctions make things fuzzy in terms of how much he will be able to win and whether that amount of winning will be enough to satisfy expectations.  PSUers need to understand that the worst impact of the scholarship limitations will hit in the next 2-3 years.  6-6 will be a tremendous achievement, especially considering they will be in the BIG East.  If he does any better than that, they should put a statue of him where Joe’s was.


So, according to your train of thought, Ohio Bobcats, who recruit very well to their system or, likewise, Bohl’s team, should both be very competitive with, say, FSU or Bama, nay, even beat them.  I tend to disagree.

Also, the reason why their arent alot of 5 * guys in the pros is their arent that many to begin with.  But, I did my own l’il research project last year rgdg 5* QBs in the pros and there was about a 50% success rate, or thereabouts, maybe as high or higher success rate as lesser star recruits.


Yep, as to Nu/MSU game.  As to whether we beat them 3 of 5 etc, I dunno, doesn’t look llike it this year(‘13), anyway.

Teams that turn the ball over 5 times in a game rarely win, doesn’t matter who they are.

Of course, Clemson can get away with 144 yds in penalties and beat tOSU just cuz…they NASTY!


Clemson can beat tOSU cause tOSU’s defense can’t defend.  :)

Hoping that will change immediately, if not sooner.


Poor CB play spelled tOSU’s doom this year, plus, Clemson is NASTY!

Lemme see here, passing yards allowed by tOSU in key games ‘13:

Clemson(Boyd—378)  L—35—40
Sparta(Cook—304)  L—24—34
Mitten(Gardner, that would be Devon Gardner—451)  W by 1 pt—42-41

tOSU 110th in passing yds allowed in ‘13.

Clemson sacked Brax 5 timess too, that wasn’t good.  That’s cuz they is NASTY!

Dog like I said before, a really good qb (Winston), balanced offense and a deep defense that can slow down other offenses and make a stop once in a while and you have a good chance to go places.  5* Immediate impact player, like I said in another post not many out there.  If you were a 5* athlete and had a chance to play for the major college near your home and be the star would you go out of state?  I think not, until Nebraska starts to develope this type of player in state, odds are we aren’t getting many.  We have traditionally taken 4* and 3* players and developed them over a year (redshirt) and brought them through our system and devoped them.  And comparing NDS, and OHIO to Alabama, FSU or Nebraska recruits I think your going from one extreme to another trying to make some point.  No they should not be able to recruit to our level and I know they don’t.  That is not to say though that in there recruiting class of getting their NR or 2* player that by the time he is done with college he is as good or better than some of the 4* players on the Nebraska, Alabama, FSU, ETC teams hence being drafted into the NFL.  Each recruiting class ranking can be unjustly ranked depending on the needs of the team, lineman are very rarely ranked higher than 3* coming out of HS because of the development that needs to be done.  Yet we all know that any 5* QB is dead meat if his line sucks.  Therfore you need to base your recruitng on needs and if the player can develope to help you fill the holes.  Most of Nebraskas running backs, defensive backs are not rated 5*‘s yet get drafted.  Reasoning, some kids just develope later, some need that but have great skills but need the time.  Just my opinion but I know the talent we have brought in the last 3 years and these classes may not be ranked as high as other schools but the talent is there to compete very highly with any school if we stop beating ourselves proof of last years MSU game.

Last two QB’s we have recruited both 4* and dual threat QB’s don’t get ranked as high as traditional QB’s so things are looking up at that posistion for us with TA in the mix as well 3*

There is a certain mischaracterization of the 5* athlete often times, especially from fans of programs that aren’t getting any.  Basically it says, “he’s going stricly on god given talent, is a prima dona and doesnt need to try or work as hard, doesn’t have the “heart” of a good ol’ hard workin’ 3* guy…”, blah blah blah.  Well, I think more times than not, this is all untrue.  What many times makes a gifted athlete into a 5* guy is his own hard work and thru his own effort he separates himself from the pack of guys that aren’t working as hard.  No matter how much ‘god given’ talent a guy has, he has to usually work hard to be a star—5* star.  Manziel was ranked as a 3* I guess, but he is certainly 5 star now, and there is no doubt as to the kid’s work ethic.

Ohio Bobcats according to ESPN since 2010 82 recruits 9 (3*) and 2 (2*) so your comparison is a little over the top.  Now if they recruited to the caliber of say Nebraska or Alabama than yes they could compete with any school!!

Ohio State is instructional for all CFB fans to look at.  Teams are not always what they appear.  All of them have strengths and weaknesses.  Alabama looked invincible at a certain point in the season, so did Oregon, Flordia State, and maybe a couple of others.  The key is when you mix it all together and put it on the field every week, who can mask their weaknesses and have their strengths compensate for those weaknesses.

Ohio State’s weaknesses were masked by a weak schedule and the most prolific offense in school history.  When they ran into defenses that could limit their offense, the weakness became fatal.

In addition to talent, having limited weaknesses, luck, and great coaching, I think quality depth is what separates the pretenders from the contenders.  You have to deal with attrition over the course of 12 games, a conference champ game, and a bowl game.  Guys get hurt and are limited or out, and have to be replaced. 

Florida State did that better than anyone this year along with having all the other factors.

Johnny ~ I appreciate your lucid comments following my postings.  I am, however, a bit perplexed at your disdain for Dananananatoooooooonio at MS.  He tied for the B10 Title in 2010 and won it outright in 2013.  There seems to be steady progress under his helm by an objective standard one might apply to the coaching evaluation. 

Interesting to note that in Stoops 15 years at OU, he has had one 4 loss season and one 5 loss season.  Pelini, in the meantime, has had six 4-loss seasons in a row.  You may correct me in that regard if I am wrong.

Before Texas let Mac Brown go, he had the following record leading to his demise:
5-7   2010
8-5   2011
9-4   2012
8-5   2013

It apparently took Texas four years of mediocre seasons to realize Mac had his run and it was over.  It has taken NU six years of Pelini with 4 losses every season to conclude he deserves more time.  Putting aside Bo’s “melt down” on national TV during and after the Iowa game, he should feel lucky as hell that he still has a HC job.  I am still trying to decide who the bigger fool is, Pelini, the University Admin, or the fans who support such results after six years.

Other than Solich, Osborne, and Devaney, Pelini has the best W% record at NU since Dana X Bible.
Many believe firing Solich was a mistake, so I think they (HP and SE) are giving Pelini the benefit of the doubt.
I think this year will be the litmus test, JMHO.

tOSU’s offense, yea, prolific, his name be Brax, as in, unidimentional.


Uh, well, 3 0f those 4 loss season’s were due to having the misfortune of being good enough to get to the CCG.  B12 doesnt have a CCG as of a couple years now, so, one less game for Stoopseses.

NU Realista,

Oh yea? Well just ‘wait till next year’ year…next year…


Your Quotes:

“2009, Nebraska played for the B12 Conference Championship against Texas and lost by one second.

2010, Nebraska played for the B12 Conference Championship against Oklahoma and lost by 3 points.

2011, Nebraska finishes it’s first season in the B1G with a 10 - 4 record.

2012, Nebraska played for the B1G Conference Championsip against Wisconsin.

2013, Nebraska defeats a ranked Georgia team in their bowl game and finish the year 9 - 4.”

Under Bo Pelini:

- 2009 Big 12 Championship Game: NU scores no touchdowns, scores 6 points in both halves, ‘amasses’ 106 total yards, runs 55 plays to 74 for UT. Loses by 1 point.

- 2010 Big 12 Championship Game: NU scores 20 first half points and no 2nd half points against OU. Loses by 3 points.

- 2012 Big 10 Championship game: Allows 640 yards in a 39 point loss, Wisconsin has 2 stringers play 4th quarter.

- 2013 Capitol One Bowl: Loses the game by 14 to Georgia allowing 589 yards.

- 2014 Gator Bowl: NU beats Georgia by 5. Georgia plays the ‘all thumbs’ receivers that drop 2 passes that would have been a first downs and most likely could have beaten NU with the time remaining.

That’s not even re-hashing the NU vs Washington bowl game.

That’s how I see it, anyway. Very little in that bowl bgame (except holding onto the rock for once) that would leave anyone thinking much will be different next year. True statement?

You can put lipstick on a pig, and it’s still a pig.

I think that’s a personal attack.  I feel sorry for your wife. FUou


In Georgia game, played in the rain, you use dropped passes as an excuse for Georgia?  Talk to Turner and Newby about that, I think even Enunwa let at least one get away.

Dead guy!

Where ya been! No doubt repairing your trailer with the nice weather and all.

I really have enjoyed that ass whoopin’ from Alabama!

Yuk yuk yuk.

Just thought I’d let it ride for a while. See how long before you’re back to asshole, without be’n poked. Not long, and you are. It’s too bad a prick like you, are the mouthpiece for oklahoma. Some descent posts uptill very recently. It’ll be a long spring and summer and you won’t be making it longer. TA-TA SHITHEAD


Pelini’s still a bum. Just remember that, numbnuts.

Yuk yuk

Commenting is not available in this section entry.
More Recent Stories...