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Penn State HC James Franklin Favors Playoff Expansion… as Long as It’s in Moderation

It’s a “better late than never” case for Penn State coach James Franklin.

Franklin and Penn State could have used a 12-team playoff in 2016, the year the team won the Big Ten, and many people’s opinions, including “The Godfather of Recruiting.” Mike Farrell’s,  deserved to be one of the four teams in the college football playoff. 

Instead, Penn State settled for the Rose Bowl and Big Ten foe Ohio State got to go to the playoff. 

The day after Penn State’s season-opening win over Purdue, news broke that the college football playoff will expand in 2026, with that date perhaps moved up to 2024.

Franklin hasn’t looked too much into the expansion’s details. He’s kind of busy this time of year.

“In season, I haven’t really spent a whole lot of time on this,” Franklin said at his weekly press conference Tuesday. “This obviously came out in season.”

Overall, Franklin favors expansion, as long as the number doesn’t get too crazy.

“I do think if you look at most of the sports in college football or sports in general, more opportunities for more teams to get in without going too far,” Franklin said. “I think (that) is important.”

The expanded playoff will help mid-major schools so that the presence of teams like Cincinnati, who made the College Football Playoff last season, won’t be such a rarity. 

Franklin also touched on his personal experience of his team’s exclusion.

“There’s obviously always the discussion about teams maybe that aren’t Power Five schools that had great years but are left out or a situation like us, where we won the Big Ten championship, arguably top two conferences if not the best conference in all of college football, and be left out,” he said. “I think (the expansion) helps resolve and solve some of those issues.”

If the College Football playoff had been at 12 teams starting in 2016, Penn State would have made it every year from 2016-19. Penn State has never made the playoff in its current format.

Of course, Franklin would like to be in the dance every year, but he doesn’t want the expansion to come at the expense of his or any other team’s players. 

“We in our sport also have to look at the length of the season from an academic calendar perspective,” Franklin said, “but also just from a physicality perspective.”

Overall, Franklin sees the expanded playoff as good news for College Football. 

“There’s a lot of things that go into it, but I think, in general, it’s a positive,” Franklin said. “I think it’s something that was needed. I’m also a believer that I don’t think the answer, not just in this but in everything, I don’t think the answer’s always more is better. We got to find the sweet spot for college football, for the fans, and most importantly, for the student-athletes.”

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