Penn State head coach James Franklin is getting mentioned by several college football analysts as a potential candidate for another major job that could be opening up.
USC is expected by many to fire head coach Clay Helton following the regular season. The Trojans end the year against Notre Dame and, with a loss, will be a 5-7. A head coaching change seems probable at that point.
Who will USC look to hire?
A lot of people are pointing in Franklin's direction.
Two college football insiders, Bruce Feldman and Stewart Mandel, discussed the possibility on a recent podcast:
Feldman: People will say, “He’s a Pennsylvania guy.” Yes he is. And he has really done a really good job in State College. Here is the reality though, and I don’t know if Penn State fans probably will not like to hear this, but if you’re the head coach at USC, you have by far the best job, the best program in the conference. It is not even close in terms of you have all these recruits in your background. You have manageable academics to get them into school. A lot of these kids — most of these kids — grew up dreaming of playing for USC. You have really good facilities. You are also going into the Pac 12 South when it is in complete disarray, right? If you’re at Penn State. Yeah, it’s got great tradition too, and you got really good facilities. You also have Ohio State and Michigan in your division, not to mention Michigan State. I mean, I think most people who are objective and who are not diehard Penn State fans would say that’s probably the third best job in the division, right?
Mandel: Absolutely. That’s the reality of it. And another thing that should be brought up is: I don’t know if the Penn State fan base has ever fully embraced James Franklin even after winning a Big Ten Championship. I still hear the criticism every time they lose a game. They’re 8-3, you know, that’s not a bad season by any means, but I’m sure a lot of people thought it should have been better. So you could stick around and continue to butt heads with Ohio State and Michigan and trying to keep winning everybody over, or you could go to a place that is so hungry and desperate to win that you’ll be given the royal treatment the minute you step off the plane.
Of course, this is all speculation at this point, but it will be really interesting to see what happens with the USC job. The Trojans haven't hit on a head coaching hire in a while and will probably be going after some big names.