If you’re listening closely, you can hear the heat underneath James Franklin‘s seat warming ever so slightly. Still.
Saturday afternoon, Penn State never had a chance against Michigan in Ann Arbor, falling behind 28-0 in the first half before the Wolverines hit cruise control to ease into an embarrassingly easy 49-10 win in the Big House. The Nittany Lions, with a rash of injuries up front, were outgained 298-40 in rushing yards, a microcosm of how dominated the visiting team was on the day.
Even more disturbing is this game merely continued a trend under Franklin.
Franklin-led Penn State teams have faced the Big Ten East’s heavyweights Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State seven times. Not only have the Nittany Lions lost all seven, they’ve lost those seven by an average of 22 points per game. Five of those losses were by 12 points or more, with four of those coming by 24 or more.
In other words, the Nittany Lions under Franklin aren’ even remotely ready to compete in their own division let alone climbing back onto the national stage once again. It seems doubtful that, unless the wheels and transmission and engine completely fell off between now and the end of November, the athletic director would pull the trigger on a move after three seasons.
Should the struggles against the Big Three continue into the 2017 season? That’s a situation that will bear watching, especially as Franklin’s struggles against good teams stretch all the way back to his Vanderbilt days.
James Franklin is 0-18 as a head coach vs teams which finished ranked and has never beaten an FBS team which had more than 8 wins.
— Chris Fallica (@chrisfallica) September 24, 2016