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Popular analyst explains why James Franklin receives criticism

James Franklin often receives criticism from the college football community. But recently, a widely popular college football commentator discussed whether or not the hate is justified.



James Franklin, Popular Analyst, Penn State
Nov 26, 2016; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin holds the East Division Big Ten Championship Trophy following the game against the Michigan State Spartans at Beaver Stadium. The Nittany Lions won 45-12. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

James Franklin has been quite successful since becoming the head coach for the Penn State football team in 2014. He has comprised a 78-36 overall record and has had four 11-win seasons. Three of his four bowl wins with the Nittany Lions are New Year’s Six bowls. He has won the Fiesta, Cotton, and Rose Bowl, respectively. His most prized achievement with Penn State is winning the Big Ten Championship in 2016. Despite these achievements, there are plenty of doubters that believe he is simply not good enough to make a College Football Playoff or win a National title. But a popular analyst of college football provided us with a logical explanation.

Josh Pate speaks on the doubters of James Franklin

Recently, I asked the highly respected popular analyst of college football and host of “The Late Kick” show, Josh Pate, his thoughts on these claims via Twitter. My question to Josh read, “Why does James Franklin continuously get dragged by internet trolls who say he is holding Penn State back despite the upward trajectory of the program? Jim Harbaugh fell under the same scrutiny until two years ago.”

Surprisingly, I received a response in a recent episode of the “Late Kick Extra” podcast. Josh Pate thought that the answer to my question was rather simple and that I had already answered it myself. “Trolls are like trying to nail Jell-O to a wall. They just move on to the next ’cause du jour,'” the popular analyst explained.

Pate further explained that Franklin falls under the misconception that he can’t do something just because he has not yet. In this case, that something is making the College Football Playoff and winning a National Championship. “James Franklin hasn’t made a playoff game yet. So that means he can’t, right? No, it just means he hasn’t,” Pate stated. Franklin receives criticism from people who believe he is not up to the task of elevating Penn State to elite status. Many Penn State fans, however, hope this line of thinking is hogwash. Four 11-win seasons, three New Year’s Six Bowl wins, and a Big Ten title is no easy task.

Can Franklin silence naysayers?

James Franklin has all the power to put doubt and negativity to rest. How so? In the words of legendary Raiders owner Al Davis, “Just win, baby.” That really is all it will take for the misconception to fade for the Penn State football head coach. As I mentioned in my tweet to Josh Pate, Jim Harbaugh was looked at under the same lens just two years ago. That lens has now disappeared because Harbaugh has broken through. Some folks still are skeptical because while he has made the playoff twice, Harbaugh has not won a game. But his teams have the talent, and I have no reason to believe they won’t win a playoff game soon.

Franklin’s path to making a college football playoff is undoubtedly tough. Michigan and Ohio State, both being on the schedule, make room for error very small. However, if Penn State football wins all matchups outside of those two, they will be in good shape. At that point, splitting with the Wolverines and Buckeyes to finish with an 11-1 record will have the Nittany Lions right in the playoff mix. Only time will tell if 2023 will be the year that Franklin gets his squad over the hump.

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Mark is a proud graduate of Penn State's Class of 2019 and is a massive fan of Penn State athletics. Born and raised in a suburb of Pittsburgh, Mark is also a huge Pittsburgh sports fan and a self-proclaimed 'yinzer.' Mark is new to sports writing and cannot wait to connect with Nittany Nation in a way he never has before.