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James Franklin Has An Interesting Response To USC Job Rumors

James Franklin high fives his players as they come off the field.

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 02: Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin reacts on the sideline during the first half against the USC Trojans during the 2017 Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual at the Rose Bowl on January 2, 2017 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Penn State head football coach James Franklin has responded to the rumors suggesting he might be interested in the USC job if the Trojans decide to fire Clay Helton. The Nittany Lions' head coach's response was...interesting.

Franklin did not come out and say "I'm not leaving Penn State for USC."

Instead, the Nittany Lions' head coach talked about how rumors always come up and that his team is completely focused on the end of the regular season.

"It's that time of year where all these types of things happen. We're focused on Maryland completely, 100 percent. I don't think it's fair or right to even be talking about that job. We're completely focused on Maryland," he said.

That's a fair response.

If USC does come calling, it would be in the best interest of Franklin and his family to at least consider it, right? There are many who would label the USC job a better one than Penn State, after all.

Still, Franklin's comment isn't going to put away these rumors anytime soon.

Two college football insiders, Bruce Feldman and Stewart Mandel, talked about the possibility on their 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.

Stay tuned...