Once upon a time, Joe Paterno’s Penn State Nittany Lions were the new kid on the college football block, struggling to earn respect among the established titans of the sport while battling entrenched stereotypes about the inferiority of “Eastern football.” It felt like a rigged game in which even going undefeated wasn’t nearly enough. Today’s Group of Five conference contenders – Boise State, UCF, Cincinnati – face a similar uphill climb, but the coming expansion of the college football playoff may finally afford these programs and their frustrated fans a chance to escape the on-deck circle. Meanwhile, Old State has long since graduated to the ranks of the bluebloods, and the move to 12 teams has far different implications for the Lions and their current head coach in the pursuit of a coveted national title. From opening doors for the sport’s scrappy underdogs to impacting – positively, we hope – everything in Happy Valley from recruiting to the fans’ psyches, we further explore the near-future of college ball in the chaotic playoff era.
“Taking ‘The Walk’ with James Franklin” by Ben Jones of StateCollege.com: https://www.statecollege.com/penn-state-football-taking-the-walk-with-james-franklin/
Part 1 of our Playoff Expansion discussions: https://share.transistor.fm/s/b75ef3e6
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