For what it's worth: the Way Too Early Top 25

Jerry

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May 29, 2001
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Take this and $2.00 to Starbucks, and you can get a cup of coffee.

But still, it probably has some predictive value plus handy information about player rosters and coaching staffs.

One thing it gets right for sure: the B1G will again be ridiculously lopsided with all the power in the East. The only West team ranked here is Iowa at #25, while the East has three teams in the Top-10. Penn State is not one of them...nor do we appear anywhere in the Top-25:

 

Wallace Breen

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Mar 11, 2016
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I don't see much of an issue with this early ranking. It is early after all. I would question Pitt being that high after losing their QB but they were more than just him last year. We don't deserve to be ranked and likely won't see the top 25 until mid 2023 or even 2024 with another 7 and 5 year.
 

rohrmd9

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Apr 20, 2005
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Take this and $2.00 to Starbucks, and you can get a cup of coffee.

But still, it probably has some predictive value plus handy information about player rosters and coaching staffs.

One thing it gets right for sure: the B1G will again be ridiculously lopsided with all the power in the East. The only West team ranked here is Iowa at #25, while the East has three teams in the Top-10. Penn State is not one of them...nor do we appear anywhere in the Top-25:

I’d be surprised if $2 could get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks but I almost never go there so maybe it does.
 
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Jerry

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I don't see much of an issue with this early ranking. It is early after all. I would question Pitt being that high after losing their QB but they were more than just him last year. We don't deserve to be ranked and likely won't see the top 25 until mid 2023 or even 2024 with another 7 and 5 year.

Yeah, some serious holes to fill on D and the same old questions surrounding the OL. The game-planning and play-calling of Mike Yurcich in his first year was underwhelming at best...downright headscratching at times. The star recruits are probably a year away from big-time production on the field, though a couple of them may make important contributions this season.

On the other hand, there are some weapons at the skill positions on O if we can get consistency at QB, which we didn't have last year. And let's face it, expectations are low so it's not like there will big-time pressure on this team. Still, it looks like the ceiling is 9 wins...if everything were to break just right, which it never does. Therefore, 7 is a more realistic prediction.
 

Jerry

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I’d be surprised if $2 could get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks but I almost never go there so maybe it does.

To be honest, I don't go there either, but apparently you can get a plain old regular cup for $2.00. However, they probably do their best business in the more exotic variants, which are more expensive:

 
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Wallace Breen

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Yeah, some serious holes to fill on D and the same old questions surrounding the OL. The game-planning and play-calling of Mike Yurcich in his first year was underwhelming at best...downright headscratching at times. The star recruits are probably a year away from big-time production on the field, though a couple of them may make important contributions this season.

On the other hand, there are some weapons at the skill positions on O if we can get consistency at QB, which we didn't have last year. And let's face it, expectations are low so it's not like there will big-time pressure on this team. Still, it looks like the ceiling is 9 wins...if everything were to break just right, which it never does. Therefore, 7 is a more realistic prediction.
I feel bad for Clifford. Three years as a starter. Three radically different different offenses with radically different passing components and blocking schemes which high levels of player/schema misfit at multiple misfit at at least seven positions during the last two years. It is hard to be consistent with that type of churn. This gets me to my biggest beef with Franklin. His inability to identify and self-correct his own faults and mistakes in judgement. His history with coordinators/position coaches is not great. He has a demonstrated preference for system coordinators which is a major problem in the NIL/Portal era. He has consistently shown too much loyalty and favoritism for "his" guys to the detriment of the team. Sadly, I think what we saw last year is the new norm until he is run out of town on a rail because he isn't leaving on his own.
 

86Engineer

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Jul 25, 2015
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Yes but it is on the road. Say what you want about Pitt but they rarely have a “cupcake” non-conference schedule. Next year they have WVU, Cincinnati and ND.

they had UMass, Western Michigan and New Hampshire in 2021......then had a second cupcake once conference games started
 
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JD1976

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they had UMass, Western Michigan and New Hampshire in 2021......then had a second cupcake once conference games started
I get that, but in fairness that type of non-conference schedule is an outlier for Pitt. I will also say that the way PSU handles its out-of-conference with one P5 and two easy home games is 100% appropriate considering OSU, Michigan and Michigan State are always on the slate.
 

86Engineer

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Jul 25, 2015
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I get that, but in fairness that type of non-conference schedule is an outlier for Pitt. I will also say that the way PSU handles its out-of-conference with one P5 and two easy home games is 100% appropriate considering OSU, Michigan and Michigan State are always on the slate.

other than 2020 (covid), name a year when Pitt didn't also have at least 2 non-conference cupcakes
 

HailToPitt725

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May 16, 2016
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other than 2020 (covid), name a year when Pitt didn't also have at least 2 non-conference cupcakes
In 2018, Pitt had Albany, #13 Penn State, #13 UCF, and #5 Notre Dame. Although to be fair, the series with UCF was scheduled just two years after they went 0-12. No one knew they were going to rattle off 25 consecutive wins.
 
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SR108

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Take this and $2.00 to Starbucks, and you can get a cup of coffee.

But still, it probably has some predictive value plus handy information about player rosters and coaching staffs.

One thing it gets right for sure: the B1G will again be ridiculously lopsided with all the power in the East. The only West team ranked here is Iowa at #25, while the East has three teams in the Top-10. Penn State is not one of them...nor do we appear anywhere in the Top-25:

Well, no pressure, only direction to go is up.
 
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The Kid Twist

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I don't see much of an issue with this early ranking. It is early after all. I would question Pitt being that high after losing their QB but they were more than just him last year. We don't deserve to be ranked and likely won't see the top 25 until mid 2023 or even 2024 with another 7 and 5 year.
Sad but true! We would be top 25 with Dan Mullen as our HC!!! Going on year nine of JF and it looks like another year of mediocrity once again! The worst $8M spent on a coach in CFB!
 

fkkkjm

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Jun 2, 2007
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Franklin makes this program a bigger mess every year he is here. We’re always super thin at several position groups. The play calling always looks disjointed, poorly practiced, and is scouted by our opponents. We almost never beat teams when we are an underdog. Our record after a loss is horrific. He sits on the sidelines like a cheerleader. Expectations go down every year and we are ok with it. He plays games every year with his contract and if he is interested in other jobs.

how much more do I need to add?
 
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NC2017

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Franklin makes this program a bigger mess every year he is here. We’re always super thin at several position groups. The play calling always looks disjointed, poorly practiced, and is scouted by our opponents. We almost never beat teams when we are an underdog. Our record after a loss is horrific. He sits on the sidelines like a cheerleader. Expectations go down every year and we are ok with it. He plays games every year with his contract and if he is interested in other jobs.

how much more do I need to add

His high-water mark was 2016. That's 7 years ago.
 

Wallace Breen

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His high-water mark was 2016. That's 7 years ago.

2016/17 were the high water mark under Franklin. With the exception of 2019, we have been on a downward trend every since. The 2016 run was largely driven by O'Brien's Lions and a couple of Paterno hold overs. Outside of a couple of corners and Trace, who biggest impact was in the three losses, every key player on the 16/17 squad were O'Brien recruits, this include Saquan who was a key O'Brien target. Franklin gets credit for closing the deal but never would have identified him as a prospect because he doesn't recruit Whitehall.
 

Jerry

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Franklin makes this program a bigger mess every year he is here. We’re always super thin at several position groups. The play calling always looks disjointed, poorly practiced, and is scouted by our opponents. We almost never beat teams when we are an underdog. Our record after a loss is horrific. He sits on the sidelines like a cheerleader. Expectations go down every year and we are ok with it. He plays games every year with his contract and if he is interested in other jobs.

how much more do I need to add?

I'd always been a huge Franklin fan...until this past season.

The debacle against Illinois was a wake-up call.

Then came the cynical maneuvering, at the expense of the team, with regard to the contract.

Add to that the history of finding ways to lose games late...while allowing a tough loss to ruin an entire season...and the many guys on his team not wanting to play in a bowl game...to the point that in 2020 the whole team declined.

I'm willing to give James another season before bailing because his record (before two years ago) has some good stuff in it, and this screwed-up league has never given us any breaks.

But if this coming year ends up another failure, then...different story. And in my mind anything less than 8 wins (counting a bowl game) is a failure.
 
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LandoComando

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Well Pitt’s first two games are WVU and Tennessee so I don’t see many cupcakes on their schedule.
Because they only play 8 conference games. They have Western Michigan and Rhode Island. I don't even dislike/hate Pitt but let's not pretend that's a daunting schedule.

They play Ga Tech, Va Tech, Duke, North Carolina, Miami, Virginia, Syracuse and Louisville. They couldn't have gotten a better schedule.
 
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LandoComando

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Yes but it is on the road. Say what you want about Pitt but they rarely have a “cupcake” non-conference schedule. Next year they have WVU, Cincinnati and ND.
Because they don't have an option that year and HAVE to play ND.
Their schedule is the same as everyone else most years.
 

PSU&Trout

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I'd always been a huge Franklin fan...until this past season.

The debacle against Illinois was a wake-up call.

Then came the cynical maneuvering, at the expense of the team, with regard to the contract.

Add to that the history of finding ways to lose games late...while allowing a tough loss to ruin an entire season...and the many guys on his team not wanting to play in a bowl game...to the point that in 2020 the whole team declined.

I'm willing to give James another season before bailing because his record (before two years ago) has some good stuff in it, and this screwed-up league has never given us any breaks.

But if this coming year ends up another failure, then...different story. And in my mind anything less than 8 wins (counting a bowl game) is a failure.
I have to regrettably agree, the Illinois loss was soo- pathetic. So embarrassing. Franklin simply can't coach. Disappointing since he appears to be a quality person, one u would like to head your program .
PSU is destined to no wheresville under Franklin. Sad but true. Grin and bare it.
 
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MacNit07

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Aug 5, 2017
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Franklin makes this program a bigger mess every year he is here. We’re always super thin at several position groups. The play calling always looks disjointed, poorly practiced, and is scouted by our opponents. We almost never beat teams when we are an underdog. Our record after a loss is horrific. He sits on the sidelines like a cheerleader. Expectations go down every year and we are ok with it. He plays games every year with his contract and if he is interested in other jobs.

how much more do I need to add?
Pretty obvious (sadly). But the Vince Lombardi of Southern Columbia thinks all is well! Que the “ 10 more years chant…”
 

Jerry

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May 29, 2001
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I have to regrettably agree, the Illinois loss was soo- pathetic. So embarrassing. Franklin simply can't coach. Disappointing since he appears to be a quality person, one u would like to head your program .
PSU is destined to no wheresville under Franklin. Sad but true. Grin and bare it.

I haven't given up on the guy yet. As listed above, however, there are some serious red flags, and the seemingly panicked contract extension was a big mistake in my view. Honestly, by the time that deal was driven (after the Illinois loss), Franklin was damaged goods in terms of the glamour coaching vacancies around the country.

Despite all that, the fact is that his record between 2016-19 was darn good: a conference title, three 11-win seasons, couple W's in big bowl games...hard to argue with that. And it's also hard not to like what he accomplished at Vanderbilt. So the man has had some major success over the years.

Also, remember that only last year we were into game 6, controlling Iowa, and looking at a top-4 national ranking...until a hit on Sean Clifford changed everything. After that, the wheels came off the cart.

Problem is, that's become the trend under Franklin: a tough loss...and then the season implodes. In 2020, unfortunately, it happened in the very first game of the year. This raises questions about the quality of leadership in the program.

All this said, in college football the narrative can change (for better or worse) overnight. One big win...and all is forgiven. Until a big loss, that is. We've had more of the latter than the former under Franklin. But hope springs eternal.
 

fastlax16

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Jan 1, 2014
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I feel bad for Clifford. Three years as a starter. Three radically different different offenses with radically different passing components and blocking schemes which high levels of player/schema misfit at multiple misfit at at least seven positions during the last two years. It is hard to be consistent with that type of churn. This gets me to my biggest beef with Franklin. His inability to identify and self-correct his own faults and mistakes in judgement. His history with coordinators/position coaches is not great. He has a demonstrated preference for system coordinators which is a major problem in the NIL/Portal era. He has consistently shown too much loyalty and favoritism for "his" guys to the detriment of the team. Sadly, I think what we saw last year is the new norm until he is run out of town on a rail because he isn't leaving on his own.

So we should expect top 5 rankings followed by injuries to key players on an annual basis?
 

Wallace Breen

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So we should expect top 5 rankings followed by injuries to key players on an annual basis?

There were plenty of signs we were a paper tiger before Clifford (and PJ) got hurt. We could have finished 5 and 7 just as easily as we could have finished 9 and 3 had Clifford stayed healthy. Bottom line, we were the fourth best team in the east and fifth best in the Big Ten regardless of injury or early season ranking.
 
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Wallace Breen

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Also, remember that only last year we were into game 6, controlling Iowa, and looking at a top-4 national ranking...until a hit on Sean Clifford changed everything. After that, the wheels came off the cart.

That is a bit of revisionist history. We were not in control at Iowa. We got off to a good start but Iowa demonstrated they could move the ball by running off tackle and throwing to the middle third of the field against our linebackers or over the top of the blitz. Their defense had begun controlling our offense before the injury (the outcome per play was steadily going down as it almost always does for MY coached offenses). It was a seven point game and Iowa had momentum before anyone knew Clifford was out.
 

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