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‘I Think They got Robbed’: ‘Godfather of Recruiting’ Mike Farrell Discusses 2016 Playoff Controversy, More With NSN

Penn State Head Coach James Franklin

National Recruiting Analyst Mike Farrell hasn’t been easy on Penn State. 

For him, coach James Franklin’s program isn’t scary anymore and hasn’t been since 2016. 

But any Penn State fan who thinks Farrell is biased against Penn State might want to reconsider.

In an interview with Nittany Sports Now, Farrell said he feels that Penn State deserved to go to the College Football Playoff in that ’16 season over Big Ten Foe Ohio State.

Despite winning the Big Ten and upsetting Ohio State at Beaver Stadium, Ohio State still went to the College Football Playoff over Penn State.

Farrell doesn’t think that was right and feels that most people agree that the playoff committee cheated Penn State. 

“I think they got robbed,” Farrell said. “I think everybody kind of feels that way unless you’re an Ohio State fan.” 

In Farrell’s view, the Big Ten favors Ohio State over other schools, citing the Big Ten seeming to be more willing to listen to Ohio State than Nebraska in 2020 when the conference was deciding whether to have a season amid a raging COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The issue that I’ve always had with the Big Ten, especially recently since Urban Meyer came in, is that they’ve always catered to Ohio State,” he said.

For Farrell, the playoff committee choosing Ohio State over Penn State in 2016 made “no sense.”

“They did everything they’re supposed to do,” Farrell said, “they won the conference, and another team from their own conference goes in its place? I just can’t get my arms around that to this day.”

Moving from the past to the future of Penn State football, Farrell is impressed with the recruiting class Franklin and his staff are putting together for 2023, calling the group, which currently ranks 12th in the country according to 247Sports,  “very good.”

“They’ve done an excellent job,” he said. “They’re getting some difference makers, especially on the defensive side of the ball,” Farrell said. 

Farrell pointed out that the school hasn’t had a great linebacker since current Dallas Cowboys star Micah Parsons left Penn State before the 2020 season. 

With four stars Tony Rojas and Ta’Mere Robinson committed to the Class of 2023 and Class of 2022 blue chip Chop Robinson— who is listed as a defensive end but is capable of playing linebacker– transferred in from the University of Maryland, Farrell sees Penn State making strides in restoring the “Linebacker U” heritage. 

Obviously, I want skill players,” he said, “I want elite wide receivers and big offensive linemen, but Micah Parsons kept LBU alive… You get guys like (Ta’Mere) Robinson and Rojas; you get (Chop) Robinson in the transfer portal, which essentially counts to me as part of the 2022 class… they’re really doing a good job of sort of bringing back that tradition.”

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