Where Bruce Feldman ranks James Franklin among college football coaches

Penn State head coach James Franklin is certainly a polarizing figure. It seems Franklin has his share of supporters evenly balanced with his critics, even within the Penn State community. But nationally, Franklin carries a very positive reputation, as displayed by a ranking of the top coaches by one notable college football writer.

Bruce Feldman, of The Athletic, released his updated ranking of the top 25 college football coaches entering the 2022 season. Franklin managed to secure a spot within Feldman’s top 10, nestling in at No. 9 overall.

Franklin’s reputation as a strong recruiter has helped solidify him as a successful coach, although it is easy to criticize Franklin and his shortcomings after Penn State has gone 11-11 over the past two seasons. Feldman made note of that record while noting Franklin’s career successes to help boost his standing.

Here is what Feldman had to say about Franklin;

He’s gone from being a top 5 coach to being close to slipping out of my top 10 after consecutive 4-5 seasons in Big Ten play (11-11 overall). Before that, it was stellar. Franklin took over a program reeling from hefty sanctions and by Year 3 had led the Nittany Lions to a Big Ten title. He’s had three 11-win seasons in Happy Valley and produced a lot of talent. His work at Vanderbilt was even more impressive, leading the Commodores to Top 25 finishes in two of his three seasons. Vanderbilt hadn’t finished in the Top 25 in more than 60 years and has gone 29-65 since he left.

Of the top 10 coaches in Feldman’s ranking, Franklin is one of two coaches yet to make an appearance in the College Football Playoff. Utah’s Kyle Whittingham, who comes in one spot ahead of Franklin at No. 8, is the only other coach without a playoff appearance. Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell, No. 10 on Feldman’s list, just made his first…


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