James Franklin Says Penn State Is Focused On Illinois, Despite It Being Ohio State Week

Penn State head coach James Franklin might be checked out of Happy Valley sooner than anticipated. Amid rumors of the 49-year-old departing for Southern California, Franklin did nothing to put the flames out during his press conference on Tuesday.

Asked if his future has been a distraction, Franklin said his focus was on Illinois. Fair, if this was last week. No. 20 Penn State already played them on Saturday, a 20-18 loss with nine overtimes played. The Nittany Lions are slated to travel to Columbus to face No. 5 Ohio State this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on ABC. That appears to be in back of Franklin’s mind, however, which isn’t a good sign for a team that has dropped back-to-back games after being ranked in the top 10.

While you could argue this is nothing and Franklin simply misspoke, this wasn’t the only occurrence during the same press conference. Franklin began with an opening statement as all coaches do, except he got the opponent wrong yet again. Strike two for Franklin.

Uh, did Franklin just say, “going on the road to the Big House?” As in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the home of the Michigan Wolverines? Did somebody forget to notify Franklin that Michigan has their own showdown with Michigan State this weekend?

If this is how Franklin is going out, well then it’s surely an entertaining one. Painful for the Penn State faithful, who just a month ago were talking College Football Playoff. Now, they’re staring an at best appearance in the Outback Bowl squarely in the eyes.

That five-year, $32 million extension that he signed in 2020 doesn’t figure to hold much security any longer, as USC seems destined to swoop in with a better offer at season’s end.

Written by Nick Geddes

Nick Geddes is a 2021 graduate of the University of Central Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. A life-long sports enthusiast, Nick shares a passion for sports writing and is proud to represent OutKick.


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  1. Well, no wonder they’ve played terribly the last two weeks. Someone please get the man a corrected schedule so he knows who to prepare for!

    “Right. Okay, people, you have to tell me these things, alright? I’ve been frozen for 30 years, okay? Throw me a freakin bone here. I’m the boss. Need the info.”
    Dr. Evil

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