The Big Ten should “hit the table” to qualify two teams for the College Football Playoff and maybe even help Penn State out a bit, coach James Franklin said.
Franklin told reporters Wednesday at State College that “the other conference,” by which the SEC refers, is promoting its teams for entry into the playoffs, something the Big Ten should be doing as well. After coaching at Vanderbilt for three seasons, Franklin said he’s seen how the SEC works and wants the Big Ten to be just as aggressive.
“There are a lot of things that I think the Big 10 should pound the table and promote like the other conference is doing,” Franklin said after practice. “I’ve been to that conference. I know they’re pounding the table and promoting through a lot of different sources. I’m aware of what’s going on, but I’m focusing my energy on beating Michigan State and playing well and hopefully that takes care of itself.”
Franklin was responding to a question about Michigan and Ohio’s ability to give the Big Ten two playoff teams for the first time in CFP history. The two undefeated teams will play on Saturday, with the winner advancing to the Big Ten championship game. The losing team still has a chance to make the College Football Playoff, though that would be a milestone.
Only the SEC has placed multiple teams in a single playoff during the 2017 and 2021 seasons. And Penn State was memorably omitted from the 2016 playoffs as the 11-2 Big Ten champions.
This season, both the SEC and the Big Ten were able to qualify two playoff teams. LSU could advance by beating Georgia in the SEC title game. however, this debate could end in two years.
Playoff expansion, which Franklin favors, could happen as early as the 2024 season if, according to Sports Illustrated, the Rose Bowl agrees to the terms outlined in the new CFP contract.
Franklin also referenced, in an oblique fashion, Penn State’s No. 11 spot in this week’s CFP rankings. After acknowledging the potential debate over Michigan and Ohio State, Franklin said, “There are a lot of things, like other teams being in the top 10.”
The CFP commission ranked four SEC teams in the top 10, three of which have lost twice: LSU ranked No. 5, Alabama ranked No. 7, and Tennessee ranked No. 10. Tennessee, which lost 63-38 to South Carolina, is one spot above Penn State. That matters because rankings will determine Penn State’s eligibility for a New Year’s 6 appearance in the Cotton or Orange bowls.
“I have a lot of things I could say right now, but it’s probably not appropriate,” Franklin concluded.
Check out Franklin’s comments here, courtesy of 247Sports.