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James Franklin: 12-Team Playoff Won’t Bring Marquee OOC Games Back to PSU’s Schedule

Penn State ranking James Franklin Franco Harris
Penn State Athletics

Penn State coach James Franklin got a lot of people who aren’t fans of him or his school talking on social media due to comments he made during this week’s Tuesday presser.

Next season, the College Football Playoff will be expanding from four teams to 12.

PennLive’s Johnny McGonigal asked Franklin if these changes would alter anything about the way Penn State approaches its out of conference scheduling.

The short answer Franklin gave was “no.” But in the longer answer, Franklin mentioned that he feels there’s a Big Ten team “that’s buying out of  a ton of game contracts that are already signed, to go in the complete opposite direction.”

Franklin didn’t say specifically which team he was referring to. In recent years, Michigan has developed a reputation for having easy non-conference schedules. Last season, Michigan’s three non-conference matchups were Colorado State, Hawaii and UConn. This season, Michigan played East Carolina, UNLV and Bowling Green. Next season will be tougher. Michigan’s scheduled to play Texas in Ann Arbor and is also scheduled to host Fresno State and Arkansas State.

The “buying out of contracts” part of Franklin’s answer applies to Michigan. Michigan bought out a home-and-home series with UCLA to host Hawaii and East Carolina, respectively.

That comment could also apply to Ohio State, who pulled out of a home-and-home with Washington during this past off season.

Ironically enough, UCLA and Washington will both be playing in the Big Ten starting next season.

Some Michigan fans  had their thoughts.

“So no, I don’t think it’s changed,” Franklin said. “You can even make the argument that it’s magnified. That’s why people are changing their schedules.”

Franklin also pointed out that the Big Ten’s going to be improving after 2023. UCLA, USC, Oregon and Washington are all coming in from the PAC 12.

Having more challenging conference games could lead to less difficult non-conference takes.

“You look at who people are going to have to play just in our conference,” Franklin said. “It’s going to be even more challenging than it’s ever been. So I don’t think the philosophy or the model has changed. You have to do whatever you possibly can to give chance number one to be undefeated at the end of the season.”

Franklin acknowledged that having more teams in the playoff will create “probably a little more wiggle room.”

“Right now, it’s kind of undefeated or at the most one loss (required to get into the playoff). And then on top of that, you know, if you’re scheduling to have at least as many losses as possible to give yourself a chance to be in the playoffs.”

Franklin mentioned that there’s “another team in this conference that has had a ton of success in the last couple of years

“Again, I think it would follow the same argument,” James Franklin said. “So no, I don’t think (the scheduling mindset will change)  and from the ADs and head coaches and people I’ve talked to if anything, I think it magnifies it even more.”

This lines up with one of Franklin’s quotes from his postgame press conference after last season’s win at Auburn.

Coincidently, this was also in response to a question asked by McGonigal regarding if Franklin wanted there to be games between Penn State and SEC games in the future.

Franklin said “no.”

“There’s a reason that (Penn State-Auburn) is like one of the only games that’s been scheduled in the history of the Big Ten,” Franklin said. “All the data, all the analytics show you have to do whatever you can to win your conference. To win your conference.”

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