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Why Delaware? Penn State HC James Franklin Explains the Value in Scheduling FCS Schools

Photo by Matt Lynch, Nittany Sports Now: James Franklin

UNIVERSITY PARK— Why did Penn State schedule Delaware?

This is a question plenty of PSU fans ask, and it’s understandable.

Penn State hasn’t played in-state rival Pitt since 2019 and God knows if or when the series will resume.

The season opener against West Virginia at Beaver Stadium was the first time those schools had met since 1992, and by the time PSU and Syracuse play in 2027, it will have been 14 years since those two schools met. The two haven’t played annually since 1990.

So why did Penn State scheduled Delaware, fans will ask, and not an FBS game with history or at least a game against a Power Five school.

Allie Berube of ABC 27 News in Central PA asked coach James Franklin about Penn State’s scheduling process following Penn State’s 63-7 win over Delaware.

“Yeah, you know, I think a couple things (go into it),” Franklin said.

What might those things be?

“I think if you look at the model of teams that have been in the championship, teams that have been in the playoffs, teams that have won conference championships, I think there’s pretty good data and evidence on what’s the right thing to do.”

The facts back up Franklin’s words.

Georgia’s won the past two national titles.

In 2021, coach Kirby Smart and company scheduled an FCS school in Charleston Southern, and last season, they scheduled another one in Samford.

Shockingly, Georgia won both of those games.

Franklin also pointed out that the Big Ten’s conference schedule creates fewer out-of-conference dates.

“Nine (conference) games factors into that as well,” Franklin said. “Those things have kind of changed college football more than anything back when you used to play kickoff classic games and things like that, but with eight conference games it was different. So, I think at the end of the day, you’re trying to do what you think is right for your university and your program.”

Franklin said that he and athletic director Pat Kraft are trying to do what’s best, but also includes “doing studies and studying the data and seeing what the data says.”

“So, this could be a long discussion,” Franklin said.

Penn State’s played a non-Power Five OOC opponent in each of Franklin’s 10 seasons aside from the pandemic-themed 2020 campaign, in which all nine of Penn State’s games were against Big Ten opponents.

Franklin also mentioned the value in getting Penn State’s young players extra work, work which they might not get in a non-conference game against a Power Five school.

Penn State will be back in Power Five play next week and back in the Big Ten. The conference season opens at Illinois next Saturday at noon.

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