Penn State Football

Franklin discusses College Football Playoff, Big Ten title significance

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Penn State football coach James Franklin and senior linebacker Von Walker thanked fans after the Nittany Lions beat the Spartans, 45-12. Penn State was presented with the Big Ten East Championship and the Land Grant trophies. Walker told fans to "
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Penn State football coach James Franklin and senior linebacker Von Walker thanked fans after the Nittany Lions beat the Spartans, 45-12. Penn State was presented with the Big Ten East Championship and the Land Grant trophies. Walker told fans to "

Since Penn State captured the Big Ten East division title with its 45-12 win over Michigan State, debate has waged on about whether or not the conference should have two teams reach the College Football Playoff — one being an 11-1 Ohio State, the other being an 11-2 Big Ten champion.

Whether that 11-2 champion is Penn State or Wisconsin will be decided Saturday night at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

But when asked point blank if the Big Ten champion should get a spot the College Football Playoff, Penn State coach James Franklin was noncommittal.

“To be honest, I don’t have a strong opinion,” Franklin said on Sunday’s Big Ten Championship coaches teleconference. “We’re focused on Wisconsin and focused on this opportunity. After that game, whatever the powers decide, we’ll be happy and excited for whatever that opportunity is.”

However, Franklin did speak highly of the conference itself.

“If you follow college football ... I think you can make the argument that the Big Ten is as strong or stronger than any conference in the country,” Franklin said. “We’ll see what happens.”

Additionally, Franklin said he believes conference championships should “carry a lot of weight” in selecting teams for the College Football Playoff. The four-team playoff, approaching its third year, has featured the Big Ten champion in the 2014 (Ohio State) and 2015 (Michigan State).

“If you’re playing in the Big Ten Championship game, both teams have earned the right to get there,” Franklin said. “It’s one thing to do predictions and rankings based on a lot of factors, but it’s another thing to go on the field and actually do it.”

John McGonigal: 814-231-4630, @jmcgonigal9

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