With the Florida State and USC jobs appearing to be open in the last few weeks, it's been a great time for coaches to use that leverage to get more time and money. James Franklin is always a hot commodity in the gossip marketplace during these carousel turns, though it appears Penn State has decided to back up the truck for the man who has turned the Nittany Lions into a serious title contender over the last four years.
Chatter quieted. Future envisioned. Full steam ahead.
Franklin picked up some of the smoldering wreckage his predecessor Bill O'Brien couldn't handle and navigated the program back to the lofty perch it had grown accustomed to. Even if it has fallen short of the playoff, the new ultimate goal in college football, Penn State is nationally relevant again.
After going 7-6 in his first two years, Franklin has put together a 41-9 stretch. If Penn State wins its bowl game, it'll be three 11-win seasons in four years. That type of success does not grow on trees outside the most fertile ground of Columbus, Tuscaloosa, or Clemson.
Sure, there have been some shortcomings, some inexplicable playcalling in big games, and some humiliating road blowouts. But the recruiting coffers are being replenished, Michigan State is receding as a divisional challenge and the future appears bright.
For Franklin, the attractiveness of the job is much greater knowing the university has best-laid plans to trust him over the long haul. One could make the argument that, as time passes from the lowest of lows, Penn State is becoming as attractive a job as almost any other.
Happy Valley has seen only two coaching changes since 1966. The first one didn't go all that well. The second has been, if not a home run, a solid double in the gap. Franklin has some warts but they're known warts. And a known entity is always safer than a new one.
This long-term accord makes solid sense for all involved. It's my belief we'll look back in time and realize this was a smart move for both parties, too. That'd be great for a fanbase rabid to return to former glory. The classic win-win-win situation.