James Franklin’s Penn State NCAA Football Odds Preview

Posted by Daniel Strum on October 14, 2015 in

In Week 6, Penn State hosted Army…and almost lost as College Football betting fans might recall. After the game, Nittany Lions coach James Franklin got up and started a vigorous speech about how important it is to remain positive when things are not going well on both ends of the football. Eventually, though, someone asked him about how the win over the Black Knights compared to the season-opening loss to…Temple.

Let’s Take a Look at James Franklin’s Penn State NCAA Football Odds Preview

Franklin admitted that there is something wrong in the football culture at Penn State. The team doesn’t look that energetic on offense, even though he has something rare in Nittany Lion lore – an NFL-caliber quarterback in Christian hackenberg. However, he then backed off, essentially saying that there was no benefit to anything resembling brutal honesty at that point in time.

It might be that Franklin is right at this point. In the Twitter age, his players will be able to see everything he says – and the fan responses as well. It might be that a 4-1 stretch against the nether regions of the Big Ten will allow him to finish 9-3 or even 10-2, and people will be too happy with Franklin to actually analyze what he says. It is his persistent salesmanship that makes him one of the nation’s best recruiters. It’s likely that this tendency is why Penn State brought him after the tenure of the extremely candid Bill O’Brien came to an end.

What Will Franklin Have To Do To Pick Penn State Up?

At his heart, Franklin is all about sales. This doesn’t make him a creepy guy, though. It worked for him at Vanderbilt, where he turned a program that had long been terrible into a decent presence. There is some worry among the Nittany Lions hopeful, though, that he doesn’t really have anything to sell. After all, what it took to make Vanderbilt look a little decent is much different than what it will take to make Penn State a national power once again, especially with Urban Mayer and Mark Dantonio also coaching in the conference – not to mention Jim Harbaugh.

Franklin, of course, has to coach under the shadow of Jerry Sandusky. You might think that the story should have faded, but it’s only been four years since Sandusky’s scandal hit the papers, with Joe Paterno still alive and on the Nittany Lion sidelines – and his statue still intact. At the Army game, the school was set to honor military veteran Bruce Heim, until some people remembered that Heim was on the board of Sandusky’s children’s charity, and school president Eric Barron yanked the invitation. As the school considers what to do with the aging Beaver Stadium, the debate about how to remember Joe Paterno in the school’s history continues to rage. These are questions that Franklin (like O’Brien, his predecessor) stays away from answering. Until this shadow passes, it may never quite be the time for Penn State to become a national contender. For now, though, Franklin is left selling what he has. It might not be enough.