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James Franklin To Resign If Penn State Football Misses Next College Football Playoff

James Franklin will resign as the head coach of Penn State football if the team misses the next College Football Playoff (CFP), he announced Sunday. Franklin, the 10-year leader of the Nittany Lions, has never made the CFP in his tenure.

“I’ve been at Penn State for 10 years,” Franklin told Onward State. “It’s time for me to show my worth. There are people out there who say I’m a fraud, and until I win some big games, they might be right. There are going to be 12 teams in the playoff next year, and that’s prime opportunity for this program to make its mark.”

“I just can’t have that as Penn State’s head coach,” Franklin continued. “If I don’t make the playoff next year, I’m resigning.”

Franklin’s announcement comes after continued struggles against the Nittany Lions’ toughest opponents. He beat Ohio State once during his 10 years, only on a fluke, but iconic kick-six score by Grant Haley. He struggled against Michigan, too, losing to the Wolverines even with head coach Jim Harbaugh suspended for the game.

Franklin said those struggles played heavily into his decision, though it was more heavily influenced by his difficulties in crucial bowl games, including losses to USC in the 2017 Rose Bowl and Ole Miss in the 2023 Peach Bowl.

“Sure, losing to Ohio State and Michigan every year was difficult for our program, but what was worse was watching Sam Darnold and his luscious hair lift that Rose Bowl trophy,” Franklin said.

“Really, what it comes down to was that I have lost the big-game battle,” Franklin added. “The team has struggled too much against top-10, top-20 teams for me to really earn this job. I think if I can’t do it this year, it’s time to hand over the reins to someone else.”

Franklin also added a shocking suggestion as to who should replace him if he resigns: former Penn State quarterbacks coach and son of Penn State legend Joe Paterno, Jay Paterno.

Paterno has hung around the university since his father’s firing and death in 2011 and 2012, respectively, and has spent time on the Board of Trustees. While he hasn’t coached football in years, Franklin said Paterno was the man for the job.

“It’s past time for a Paterno to return to running Penn State football,” Franklin said. “When I was young, I remember coming to Penn State for football camps and seeing the great Joe Paterno. I think there’s something about the Paterno clan that makes it special, and that might be what this program needs to reach new heights.”

When asked for comment, Paterno said he’d be more than happy to take over the program.

“I thought this announcement might be coming, so I spent time at my father’s grave this morning and wrote down a few words,” Paterno said.

“I would love to take over Penn State’s football program and make sure this school honors the history that defined it,” Paterno continued. “I used my father’s name to get elected to the Board of Trustees for the last 10 years, and I’m more than happy to do the same to become the school’s next head football coach.”

Should he resign, Franklin would owe Penn State $2 million as part of his contract as opposed to the $56 million the school would owe him if he was fired.

When asked if he had any thoughts about what he would do if he resigned as Penn State’s head coach, Franklin said he hadn’t given it much thought. However, he did say he wanted to leave State College, move to Maryland, and work for ESPN’s College Gameday as an analyst.

“Lee Corso told me he’s not feeling his best in the job anymore,” Franklin said. “And everyone seems to hate that new guy — I don’t think he’s coming back. I think there could be a few open seats on the desk.”

Despite the shocking announcement, Franklin said he was focused on the season ahead for Penn State. His goal remained taking the Nittany Lions to a College Football Playoff for the first time in program history.

“The goal is to go 1-0 every week and to win the game battle,” Franklin said. “That will be this team’s motto as long as I am head coach. You can all be sure I’ll stick to that.”

Editor’s note: This story is part of Onward State’s April Fools’ Day series. It is satirical, meant for entertainment, and not to be taken literally. Any quotes were made up for the purpose of this post.

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About the Author

Joe Lister

Joe is a junior journalism major at Penn State and an associate editor at Onward State. He covers Penn State football and enjoys yelling on Twitter about Philadelphia/Penn State sports. He also listens to Mac Miller more than you. If you want to find him, Joe's usually watching soccer with his shirt off or at the gym with his shirt on. Please send all positive affirmations and/or hate mail toward him on Twitter (iamjoelister) or via email ([email protected]).

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