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James Franklin Set to Become Head Coach at Penn State

All signs are that James Franklin is going to leave Vanderbilt for the B1G. At this point, the only thing surprising about the move would be if it doesn't happen

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Kevin C. Cox

Barring an almost unforeseeable change of circumstances, Vanderbilt's James Franklin will be named the head coach at Penn State on Saturday afternoon. Word of the change will likely become official sometime before that.

The evidence right now overwhelmingly points in favor of Franklin moving to State College on Saturday. What we know or at least reportedly know:

Vanderbilt has called a team meeting tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. ET. This is not, by itself, an indication that a deal is done. Coaches do call a team meeting to do away with speculation every once in a while. But it's rare; generally, if the coach wants to meet with the players, it's because he's moving on.

Franklin is reportedly being offered a very generous contract at Penn State. Details like this usually only leak when the deal is done or near done; after all, if there's little or no interest in a coaching vacancy, numbers never really get discussed. Being the second highest-paid coach in the B1G is not a bad payday, given the caliber of coaches in the Up North Conference. Another bit of information that suggests a deal is done: Board of trustees committees don't meet on Saturdays unless it's important.

Penn State has scheduled a "major announcement" at 4:15 p.m. ET. Barring gross incompetence, which is always possible when discussing Penn State, this will be where Franklin is introduced as the next head coach. They're not calling a hastily scheduled press conference to announce adding a new opponent to the 2017 schedule. The chances that an announcement would be scheduled without Franklin telling Penn State he will take the job aren't worth mentioning.

The fact that Vanderbilt-centric media folks like Chris Lee are already lining up to bash Franklin -- justifiably or not -- also indicates that this is all but done. Or perhaps just done. A reporter doesn't do that unless he or she is pretty sure that the guy they're taking shots at is headed out the door.

So, unless something truly bizarre happens, Saturday will be the end of the James Franklin Era for Vanderbilt. David Williams' next hire will decide whether that era is the beginning of a new period for Vanderbilt football or a blip in a string of mediocre seasons. No pressure.