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A letter to the editor: We Are - J(ames)ust F(ranklin)latlining

To the editor,

Let me start off by saying I am a proud and passionate fan of my alma mater, Penn State University. I am forever indebted to PSU for all it has given to me during my time as a student and alumni. However, after ANUDDER loss to Ohio State I write to you today as defeated fan with a simple question : When is enough, enough?

Penn State lost for the 7th year in a row to OSU in a fashion that once again displayed an offensive prowess that can be best described as feeble and nightmarish. While there were many things that went wrong for PSU, they were in the game until halfway through the 4th quarter and OSU didn’t actually look THAT much better than them.

In general across my sports fandom, I recognize myself as someone who is typically more pessimistic and looks at things with a “guilty until proven innocent” lense. This attitude and criticism has not fallen short towards PSU head coach James Franklin over my years as a student and alumni. My friends and family know how vocal I am towards my displeasure of JF over the years and it’s a song and dance that I imagine has become redundant, boring, and irritating to hear.

First off, I do not subscribe to the idea that “it’s just how college football works” and that PSU is not / won’t ever be elite. We can agree to disagree there because it’s likely a point you will not concede on. But the way I look at it, we aren’t talking about Kent State football here against Georgia or Alabama. It’s Penn State. A staple team with a long history in the story of college football with 2 national championships. Over the past decade, they have built a rapport as a solid, top 5 team in the Big Ten. However, they have been absolutely abysmal against top opponents and James Franklin has utterly failed to move the needle to move PSU into the elite category.

I recognize Saturday’s game included underwhelming execution and play and cannot blame solely the loss on anyone - but if Michigan were to lose to OSU 10 years in a row, Michigan would point at Jim Harbaugh and say “don’t let the door hit you, where the good lord split you”. While its not a complete 1:1 and that rivalry is another level, its really not THAT different. Penn State is MOST of the time fairly/very competitive in the games against OSU and UM but they can just never get the job done.

Franklin moves his record to 2-13 on road against ranked opponents, 0-9 on road against the top 10, 1-11 against the top 5, and 1-9 against OSU. He just cannot get the job done in the big games. And while he does have conference championship along with a handul of new years six wins, I want to see Penn State win a national championship in my lifetime – and if that’s wrong then so be it ! While I do think largely the “1-0” mindset JF is good in some sense - it’s totally ineffective and ridiculous to tell us you are preparing the team for OSU with the same mindset and urgency as you do against U Mass when you win by over 50 points. JF’s antics over the years around this and the frivolous timeouts, spread-covering plays, and fake-knees are embarassing when you lose the same games every year in the same fashion.

Another argument I hear a lot against the JF criticism is, “if not JF, then who” ? And while I can understand some grounds on this point nor do I have the answer to it, there have been some incredible assistants under JF over the past years including now with a guy like Manny Diaz (whose defense IS at an elite level) who I would love to roll the dice and see if they can take the reigns for PSU.

In summary, JF has done incredible things for the university and has done more good than bad, but I implore you to draw a line in the sand at some point and ask yourself when is enough, enough – how many years in a row can you tolerate of losing: 10, 15, 20 years? WE ARE.

Thanks, Ill hang up in listen

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