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Penn State Football

‘We Love It’: Penn State HC James Franklin Jokes About Big Ten Scheduling Quirk

Photo by Matt Lynch, Nittany Sports Now: James Franklin

Saturday’s game at Illinois will mark the 13th time in 14 seasons that Penn State football’s opened up its Big Ten season on the road. 

Coach James Franklin and Athletic Director Pat Kraft have mentioned this in this in the past, with Kraft being the more outspoken. 

“We’ve had pretty good practice over the last nine years of opening the season in the Big Ten on the road,” Franklin said at the 2022 Big Ten Media Days ahead of its last season’s road opener at Purdue, “so we’re looking forward to that opportunity.”

“It stinks, it stinks,” Kraft said at media days. “(Franklin) called me the other day (about it). I said, ‘What?’ I called the conference office and said, ‘this is unacceptable.’ So we’re addressing this right away.

“This shouldn’t happen at Penn State. We should be at home for our opener. I think it’s nine or seven years (now.) That’s crazy. That stinks.”

More than three months after those comments, the 2023 Big Ten schedule came out and, again, had Penn State opening on the road. 

And again, Kraft had something to say. 

“It is incredibly frustrating and disappointing Penn State will be starting our Big Ten football slate next year on the road for the eighth straight season and for the 13th time in the last 14 years,” Kraft said in a statement.

“When I arrived on campus, I shared with the conference staff my concerns and repeatedly referenced their failure to address this issue in the past. I have been in communication with Commissioner (Kevin) Warren, and I am confident this issue will be addressed.”

The 2024 Big Ten schedule hasn’t been revealed yet, but Franklin joked at his Tuesday presser that Penn State would try something different to change the trend of starting on the road, something Franklin called “a tradition around here.”

“Opening on the road in the Big Ten, we love it,” Franklin said. “I actually called Pat a little bit ago and I think they’re coming out with a new schedule, so we’re going to try kind of reverse psychology and ask to be on the road (next) year and see what happens.”

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