Penn State preparing for Texas A&M to make run at James Franklin

Penn State preparing for Texas A&M to make run at James Franklin

Penn State officials have begun internally preparing for Texas A&M to pursue head football coach James Franklin if Kevin Sumlin departs the university after this season.

Penn State women's volleyball senior Haleigh Washington joined elite company on Monday afternoon when she was awarded her eighth career Big Ten Player of the Week honor as announced by the league office, after leading the Nittany Lions to a 2-0 weekend.

But there is far more reason to believe Franklin would simply use A&M as a bargaining chip to force Penn State into giving him another raise. If Texas A&M moves on - and that's still a big "if" - it appears they'll look in Franklin's direction.

Yes, Sumlin still has his job at the moment, but the pressure continues to mount for the A&M leader. Franklin's young (45 years old), recruiting-savvy (No. 3-ranked 2018 class) and experienced in the SEC (24 wins in three years at Vanderbilt).

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A Penn State spokesman has not yet responded to a request for comment. Franklin agreed to a three-year, $19.75 million extension in August that runs through the 2022 season.

Penn State is one of 13 unbeaten FBS teams remaining, but Chip Patterson of CBS Sports ranks the Nittany Lions as the ninth-most likely program to finish the season without a loss. He's an attractive candidate for the Aggies, who'd have to pay Penn State a modest $2 million buyout.

It's not time for Nittany Lion fans to freak out over this reported interest.

He does lack some of the luster he once had. There's no guarantee that he gets fired-he's 48-23 in five-plus seasons in College Station-but still, A&M has finished 8-5 for three straight seasons, so if Sumlin can't get past eight wins, he could well get the axe.

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