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James Franklin Named Coach Of The Year By Sporting News

After back-to-back 7-6 seasons to start his Penn State tenure, James Franklin broke through for an 11-2 2016 and a Big Ten title. Now, Sporting News has named him coach of the year.

Sporting News cited Franklin's team knocking on the door step of the College Football Playoff, and the fact that the jump takes place as Penn State moves out of the NCAA sanctions from the Jerry Sandusky scandal as reasons for Franklin edging out candidates like Colorado's Mike MacIntyre and Washington's Chris Petersen.

The Nittany Lions won nine straight games, took the Big Ten East Division and beat Wisconsin 38-31 in the Big Ten championship. That 11-2 season, which almost ended in a College Football Playoff berth, is why Franklin is the 2016 Sporting News Coach of the Year.

There were other deserving candidates, notably Washington’s Chris Petersen and Colorado’s Mike MacIntyre, but Franklin’s efforts stood out a little more. Franklin had dubbed this “Year 1” for the program after finally coming out of the NCAA sanctions resulting from the Jerry Sandusky scandal and the end of the Joe Paterno era in Happy Valley.

I might have gone with MacIntyre, who elevated a Colorado team that had been one of the worst in the major conferences for almost a decade to champion of the Pac-12 South. Still, it is hard to argue with James Franklin, whose team eclipsed every reasonable expectation it could have had in 2016.

[Sporting News]