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College Football World Reacts To James Franklin Speculation

A solo shot of Penn State coach James Franklin.

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 30: Head coach James Franklin of the Penn State Nittany Lions on the sidelines during the first half of the Playstation Fiesta Bowl against the Washington Huskies at University of Phoenix Stadium on December 30, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. The Nittany Lions defeated the Huskies 35-28. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

USC's job opening has become the talk of the college football world ever since the university fired Clay Helton on Monday. There have been plenty of candidates linked to the job, but there's one in particular that continues to be brought up.

According to Dan Patrick, Penn State head coach James Franklin and USC football have "mutual interest" regarding the program's head coaching vacancy.

“By all accounts he’s done a nice job there, you know it’s the next challenge,” Patrick said. “A lot of these coaches think 'I'm done with this, next challenge.' Maybe that’s the case, I don’t know. But there’s going to be a lot of names you’re going to hear."

Franklin has been a popular coaching candidate for several years. His success at Vanderbilt earned him an opportunity at Penn State, where he's been since the 2014 season.

If the Trojans are looking to hit a home run with their next hire, there aren't many options out there better than Franklin.

Franklin isn't universally considered an elite coach, but there's definitely a sizable portion of college football fans who believe he can elevate a program.

As you'd expect, Penn State fans aren't buying this report from Patrick.

"Everyone say it with me: James Franklin is not leaving Penn State for USC," one fan said.

"James Franklin is from PA. His dream job is to be the HC at Penn State," another fan said. "He’s built PSU into a consistent top 10 program in the Big Ten. Has the current no. 1 recruiting class in ‘22. Is the 7th highest paid coach in CFB. Why would he leave all of this for USC?"

Franklin hasn't responded to these rumors because he's currently focused on Penn State's upcoming matchup against Auburn.

Make no mistake, though, Franklin's name will continue to be linked to USC's job vacancy for the foreseeable future.