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Penn State Hires James Franklin

It's official now.

Kevin C. Cox

Vanderbilt's James Franklin has left to become the head football coach at Penn State. PSU announced it this morning with a press release, and it will introduce Franklin at 4:15 pm this afternoon. Franklin is favored to win the press conference by 50.5 points in the latest line from Vegas.

There's not much to be said about Franklin at this point that we haven't yet said. He guided Vandy in 2012 to its first nine-win season since 1915, and this year he made it two nine-win seasons in a row for the first time ever. He brought energy and excitement to a program that lacked it for a long, long time, and he leaves it in the best shape its ever been in.

Franklin is from Pennsylvania, went to college at a small school in Pennsylvania, and spent eight total years in two stints as an assistant at Maryland before taking over in Nashville. He makes a lot of sense for Penn State from that alone. PSU seems to have made the best of things, with Bill O'Brien being a steady hand for a couple years to give the real long-term guy some distance from the old legend. The program still has a way to go to get through the massive NCAA sanctions, but it's reportedly paying him $4.5 million per year for his troubles.

As for replacements at Vanderbilt, there should be a number of choices. Franklin showed that you can, in fact, win there, and he's showing today that you can turn that job into something big if you do. Vandy very nearly hired Gus Malzahn, who had a last-minute change of heart, when it hired Franklin, so it wouldn't surprise me to see it go after the Malzahn-like Chad Morris from Clemson. Football Scoop is saying that Vandy will target Derek Mason, the assistant head coach and co-defensive coordinator at Stanford.