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Penn State preparing to keep James Franklin if other schools pursue him

13 October 2017

Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports reported Thursday afternoon that the Nittany Lions are expecting Texas A&M to court Franklin from the Nittany Lions should the Aggies part ways with current head coach Kevin Sumlin.

But there is far more reason to believe Franklin would simply use A&M as a bargaining chip to force Penn State into giving him another raise. He's led a resurgence over the last two years, winning the Big Ten championship last season and now has the Lions ranked No. 3 after a 6-0 start. Murmuring over his job security has increased in recent years, especially this season after the Aggies started with an epic collapse, blowing a 34-point lead at UCLA.

But because of the way Texas A&M has played in recent weeks, the Aggies might not be getting rid of Sumlin this winter. Franklin agreed to a three-year, $19.75 million extension in August that runs through the 2022 season.

If they can navigate that SEC slate with just one loss, they'd be 9-3 heading into bowl season.

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Would Franklin make for an upgrade over Sumlin in terms of what he brings to the Aggies?

It's too early to make a judgment either way, but perhaps Penn State might be worrying over nothing - for now. At the opposite end of the buyout spectrum is A&M, with Dodd writing that Sumlin "is reportedly guaranteed the remainder of his contract if fired without cause".

Franklin, of course, spent three years in the SEC as the head coach at Vanderbilt before bolting for Happy Valley after the 2013 season.

Penn State preparing to keep James Franklin if other schools pursue him