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‘Pretty Rich…’: Fox Broadcast Takes Shot at Penn State HC James Franklin

Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin November 12, 2022 David Hague/NSN

UNIVERSITY PARK–  FOX’s Gus Johnson (PXP) and Klatt (color) will be calling the Penn State-Ohio State game next Saturday afternoon in Columbus. 

This Saturday, Johnson and Klatt were in Ann Arbor for Michigan-Indiana.

As Michigan was doing what it was expected to do and pounding the Hoosiers 38-7 with about five minutes left in the third quarter, Johnson and Klatt mentioned Penn State coach James Franklin. Here’s what they said. 

Johnson: “According to James Franklin, Michigan isn’t playing anybody. You know, they’re ‘opting out of contracts.'”

Klatt: “Pretty rich for a guy playing UMass this week.”

Klatt’s response got a laugh from Johnson.

Klatt then predicted that his phone would “blow up,” and Johnson agreed. 

Here’s the context. 

During his Tuesday presser, Franklin was asked if the College Football Playoff expanding from four teams to 12 starting next season would alter anything about the way Penn State approaches its out-of-conference scheduling.

The short answer Franklin gave was that it wouldn’t alter it. 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.”

He didn’t say which school he was referring to, but well, Michigan fans thought he was talking about their favorite team. 

The next day, Franklin gave an opening statement before taking questions from reporters— something he seldom does after a Wednesday practice— and made it clear in that opening statement that he wasn’t upset with Penn State’s beat writers.

But he wasn’t happy with how others perceived what he said and was displeased with those who made conclusions based on that part of his answer, during which he also said: 

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

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

Having more challenging conference games will likely lead to less difficult non-conference games.

“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 yourself a 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),” he said. “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.”

Overall, Franklin doesn’t think the scheduling mindset will change. 

“And from the ADs and head coaches and people I’ve talked to,” he said, “if anything, I think it magnifies it even more.” 

Fast-forwarding to Wednesday, Franklin said he wasn’t taking a shot at any school the day before, but rather the opposite.  

“It can be frustrating and a little sad sometimes when you have non-media members but they have some social media presence and they put something out that is not accurate,” Franklin said, “and then some national media don’t read the transcript or they don’t watch the interview and then they put something out there. Anybody that watched the entire interview or anybody that read the whole transcript, I was complimenting the schools from a scheduling perspective.”

“It’s what we’ve been doing. Even in the question that was asked to me, that’s what was said. So I know every fanbase and different schools (are) looking for a reason to get angry and get mad and get motivated over something, but, that, to me is disappointing when real media members grab a partial quote and use it out of context. That’s frustrating and disappointing.”

Franklin said he doesn’t feel he can “control the person that just has their own little social media page or whatever and they’re doing it from their mom’s basement.”

“I can’t really control that person,” Franklin said. “But it’s disappointing when I think some respected national and other people put things out that are inaccurate and don’t do the homework of actually watching the interview or reading the transcript. So, that’s it.”

Penn State fans reacted to the Fox broadcast’s  comments how one probably would think they would.

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