And “disappointing” could be a drastic understatement based on the social media comments and reactions coming out of Nittany Nation.
The realization I came to was simply that Nittany Lions
fans need to completely re-categorize what they deem as a “Big Game”. Because let’s face it, the following things are at this point factual based on James Franklin
‘s tenure in Happy Valley:
-Penn State will beat teams they are better than on paper
-Penn State will sometimes lose to teams they better than on paper
-James Franklin can recruit at a high level
-Penn State will not beat any team that is better than them on paper
Hey, you know what that sound was you heard all game long yesterday? And no, it wasn’t the occasional boo birds and nor was it the loud calls for Franklin to leave town.
It was Penn State Football continually banging its head on their proverbial ceiling.
But let’s put things in perspective for a minute.
It is a fact that many football programs would kill to finish 10-2 and go to a New Years Six Bowl game year after year.
Meanwhile, it is also a fact that Penn State
spends somewhere in the top 10-15 range of all football programs.
The Nittany Lions also have facilities that put them roughly in that 10-15 area and James Franklin continually brings in recruiting classes ranging from 6-20.
So, based on everything we know about James Franklin and based on everything we know about the climate of the football program, why on earth would anyone expect the Nittany Lions to beat some of the best teams in the nation?
Rationally break it down for me step by step. Because I just don’t see it.
Everything about Penn State Football screams that they will lose one or two games and finish somewhere around 8-20 in the nation. And that’s exactly what happens.
A James Franklin led football team does not beat teams that are better than them on paper. Period.
So, back to my main point … Rather than seeing Ohio State or Michigan as the “Big Games” every year, the reality is the fact that games at Illinois, at Northwestern, Indiana at home, and at Maryland are Penn State’s “Big Games” every season.
Each and every single one of them.
Hosting Rutgers and facing Michigan State at Ford Field to end this season? Big games.
At home against Ohio State next year? Nope. It’s a guaranteed loss. History has proven this time and time again so why on earth would someone thing differently?
I’ll circle back to a couple of more facts about Penn State Football.
James Franklin’s buyout is $64 million for this year and $56 million for next year.
The Penn State administration is in the early stages of renovations to Beaver Stadium, which is estimated to cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $700 million. And, Penn State Football’s revenue is continually in the nine-figure range.
Do you know what was the highest paid FBS buyout at this point for a fired coach?
It’s $21.45 million that Auburn had to pay Gus Malzahn after they canned him. That is, until Texas A&M Paid Jimbo Fisher $74.5 million to kick rocks.
So based on all of this, I hate to break it to you, but James Franklin isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
And I know what you’re saying, “I don’t care.”
Fine, I can’t help how you feel.
I’m just trying to explain what’s going to happen based on what has happened and based on future contracts and projects.
But I’ll also bite with the “Fire Franklin” crowd.
Who are you getting that’s immediately better than him?
How’s he doing so far at Nebraska?
Do you know his record against top-25 teams during his tenure at Temple, Baylor, and Nebraska?
Take a wild guess. Because I highly doubt you’ll come close.
Rhule is a combined 2-18 against the top-25 in the nation with both of those wins coming when he was the head man at Temple (No. 23 East Carolina and No. 19 Navy). And he’s a combined 0-13 against the top-25 while coaching in a Big Five conference.
So let’s just say I’m not totally sold on him and his $7 million buyout.
How about Manny Diaz?
Do you really not remember how mediocre Miami was from 2019-2021 when he was at the helm? Because it wasn’t that long ago.
Diaz has a career record of 21-16 as a head coach and was 4-4 against top-25 teams and 0-3 against top-10 teams.
So who else you got?
Sure, it’s impressive what’s he’s done at the perennial dumpster fire known as Kansas Football.
But his buyout is still $6 million.
And Franklin’s is $64 million!! Don’t forget that, because that’s the real elephant in the room.
Look, the reality is this, Penn State Football is a solid program but based on the current structure of college football, they will never ascend to the top. You can either accept this factual reality or you can keep living your make-believe reality.
The choice is yours.
And for everyone who’s going to inevitably say “This dude’s a clown” and “Stupid article”. Let me ask you this, if the Nittany Lions have constantly lost to better teams in the past and they’ve shown no reason to not continue to lose. Then why expect them to win?
And based on this, who’s the clown in the situation? Because it’s sure as heck not me.
So for every comment like the one above which is sure to pour in, I’ll simply respond with a “thumbs up” to signify that you’re telling me you live in some alternate reality and you don’t comprehend facts.
But I will also say this, the future is not all doom and gloom for the Nittany Lions.
The additions of Washington, Oregon, UCLA, and USC may be a blessing in disguise.
Namely because the Big Ten has essentially scrapped the divisions which means Penn State does not have to play Ohio State and Michigan every season.
Furthermore, UCLA and Chip Kelly don’t scare me, USC and Lincoln Riley continue to take L’s with a Heisman QB, and Washington is losing literally everyone on both sides of the ball next year.
Oregon appears to be the only real threat to Penn State in the near future, but I still think it’s Ohio State/Michigan, then Penn State, and then everyone else.
And as I mentioned before, the Nittany Lions do host Ohio State next season. So just chalk this up to a loss.
Don’t forget that the College Football Playoffs expand to 12 teams. There isn’t a program in the nation that benefits more from this than Penn State.
But, home against Bowling Green, home against Kent State, home against Illinois, home against UCLA, at USC, at Wisconsin, home against Washington, at Purdue, at Minnesota, and home against Maryland, those are the “Big Games” for Penn State going forward.
At least for now.