James Franklin Odds: Every College Football Opening


Whenever a job opens in college football everyone assumes James Franklin is a candidate. He has been rumored to USC for the past few years and the job has finally opened. I wanted to take a look at every current opening and how James Franklin fits with the program and if they would hire him. Unfortunately James Franklin is no longer a candidate for Georgia Southern as they hired Clay Helton. We are holding out hope for UConn even if the rumors about Al Golden are true.

Akron: The Zips are the most recent opening in college football and are looking for a new coach. Akron has fired every head coach since 1995 and is looking for stability since they have two winning records since 2001. Akron’s storied tradition with former head coach, John Heisman, could attract James Franklin to be the next coach of the Zips. Tom Arth only made $500,000 so it seems unlikely they could match James Franklin’s salary. I tried to find famous alumni who could help pay his salary and the only person I could find was Charles Pilliod, CEO of Goodyear. Franklin once said beating Pitt is like beating Akron so we know he does not like Akron much. Odds: +1,000,000,000

UConn: Al Golden is not the head coach yet. We still have time for James Franklin to reconsider. Although Franklin has no ties to the state of Connecticut and UConn is on the verge of becoming an FCS team, we cannot count out the Huskies. UConn once made the Fiesta Bowl and people attended the game. Randy Edsall was making $1.25 million which is still significantly lower than Franklin makes at Penn State. UConn’s stadium is only a short 30 minute drive down the road in scenic Connecticut. What better time to look at the fall foliage than on the way to a football game? Odds: +900,000

LSU: James Franklin coached in the SEC and had success leading Vanderbilt to consecutive 9 win seasons which is unheard of in the conference. LSU has an incredibly passionate fan base and the money to support their next head coach. LSU once signed their defensive coordinator to a 4 year $10 million contract. The biggest issue with LSU is their schedule. Penn State has a tough road every year but LSU’s might be even harder. The Tigers have to face Alabama, Texas A&M, Auburn, Ole Miss, and Florida every season which results in a difficult schedule every season. Franklin may entertain the idea of becoming the next head coach at LSU but overall it feels unlikely for him to leave for Baton Rouge. Odds: +500

Miami FL: I know this job is not open yet. We are still going to explore James Franklin being the next head coach of the Hurricanes. If he does not like the administration at Penn State, he will hate the administration at Miami. If you are going to be unhappy, is it better be unhappy in the snow or unhappy in Miami on the beach? During the 2020 season, Franklin’s family stayed in Florida. He could look to move closer to where his family stayed. Maybe we will see Franklin sipping a mojito on Miami Beach, maybe he does not pick up their phone call. Odds: +1400

TCU: The Horned Frogs are looking for their first head coach since before the turn of the millennium. Gary Patterson did great things for TCU but he has not evolved with college football and the product on the field has reflected. Franklin has never coached for a team in the state of Texas but he did win the Cotton Bowl in Arlington which is not far from Fort Worth. Penn State is 2-1 all time against TCU with the last game coming in 1978 so not much to compare. TCU and Penn State both narrowly missed a playoff appearance but neither have made the playoffs. TCU does have a billionaire alumni in John Davis who created 1-800-Flowers. They would need Davis to donate a large sum money in order for Franklin’s agent to even take the phone call. Odds: +4000

Texas Tech: Did you know Texas Tech and Penn State are rivals? Would James Franklin actually leave Penn State to go to a rival school? The Red Raiders have not finished a season ranked since Mike Leach was the coach in 2009. Franklin coached in the Big 12 once for Kansas State but ironically the Wildcats did not play Texas Tech in either of his seasons. Franklin’s limited experience in the Big 12 and the thought of switching to an arch rival makes the Red Raiders an unlikely option. Lubbock and State College are both in remote parts of the country so we know the location would not drive him away. Odds: +5500

USC: This is what you all have been waiting for. Everyone has heard the James Franklin to USC rumors for the past few years and these rumors should be taken seriously. I believe USC is one of the best jobs in the country but needs the right person at the helm to help the Trojans reach their full potential. Pete Carroll had incredible success leaning into the Los Angeles lifestyle and bringing celebrities around the program. Franklin has the personality to bring juice to the USC program. Recruiting at Penn State is tough because they have to own the DMV to ensure they sign enough talent to win on a yearly basis. USC saw peak success by keeping the southern California kids at home. Franklin has taken the approach of a CEO role at Penn State and knows how to recruit. I believe he could turn USC in a national contender within a season or two. USC has a solid foundation of talent and a bright future in terms of talent. The question for Franklin is if he wants to leave home. He went to school in Pennsylvania and loves Penn State. If James Franklin leaves this offseason, it will be for USC. Odds: +150

Washington State: Did you know James Franklin once coached at Washington State and his wife an alumni of Washington State? Imagine the homecoming James Franklin would receive by coming back to his wife’s alma mater. Franklin is vaccinated so we know he could be hired by Washington State. The main reason I doubt Franklin takes the Washington State job is because of recruiting. No one knows where Pullman is on a map so how are the recruits supposed to visit? The Cougars have only signed 16 total four star recruits since the year 2000. Pullman is calling for James Franklin but a homecoming seems unlikely. Odds: +2500

Penn State: You did not think I was going to list all the options without listing his current job did you? Franklin has built Penn State into a successful program which has finished in the top 10 numerous times and has even won the Big 10 once. One title may not sound like many but since 2014 Ohio State has 5 championships, Michigan State has one and Penn State has one. Franklin has considered Penn State home and leveraged job openings to renegotiate his contract to acquire better facilities and get his assistants higher pay. Could Franklin be pulling the same move? There is a good chance this is his play but I think he is also seriously exploring his options. Of course he wants to bring Penn State a championship, but what if he is tired of the old administration and believes Penn State is close to their peak? When the offseason dust settles, I believe Franklin remains in State College because it is home to him and he takes pride in being a Nittany Lion. Odds: -200

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