You would think, after everything that has gone on at Penn State University over the past 10 years, all the horrible and disgusting revelations coming from the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal, with Joe Paterno tied up in it, that a man leading the football program there would try very hard to be above reproach.
To not make waves, to go above and beyond to be classy, conducting the program on the up and up, and trying hard to restore the luster to a college team that had for decades been among the most admired and revered.
I thought Penn State hired a man who would do that a few years ago; a man named James Franklin. He had done a great job at an impossible place to win (Vanderbilt) and seemed like a decent, caring human being.
Not one who did what he did Saturday.
I never write about college football here because it’s not a sport I follow, but this, this forced me to say something, in my mind. So last Saturday Penn State was playing host to Georgia St., a much smaller program with a huge talent gap compared to Penn State.
As expected, the Nittany Lions dominated, leading 56-0 with just a few seconds to play. Georgia St. had finally put together a decent drive, and with :11 lined up to kick a field goal. Would three points matter in the grand scheme of things? Probably not. But the Panthers would be spared the indignity of a shutout, and would at least be able to feel a little better about themselves.
And then, something unbelievable happened: James Franklin called a timeout. To “ice the kicker,” a make-him-nervous technique coaches often use when a game-tying or game-winning kick by the opposition is about to occur. Forget the fact that it hardly ever works, coaches just keep trying it.
Panthers kicker Brandon Wright, after the timeout, missed the kick. And Penn State won 56-0. And so those big, bad Nittany Lions got to shut out a school that didn’t even have a football team until six years ago.
ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME???? This was absolutely, 100 percent classless, even for a college football coach, and I’m on record saying college football coaches are the least-classy people in sports I’ve ever covered. It’s FIFTY-SIX to nothing! You have to pull a bullshit move like that when you’ve kicked their ass up and down the field the whole game?
Franklin was asked about after the game, and again on Tuesday when this became a controversy. Here’s what he said.
“To very clear, I was not icing anyone. I want to be as clear as I possibly can be. We had our fourth-team defense, some threes, mostly fours on the field; we’ve never worked a fourth-team field goal block. I’m on the headset, the [defensive coaching staff] is talking about how those guys won’t be able to line up, I call timeout, we get the second team on the field, and from that point on, we’re going to go block the kick.”
Just atrocious. Who gives a shit if it’s your fourth-team defense out there, it’s FIFTY-SIX to NOTHING! I never, ever, ever agree with blowhard arrogant sports talk radio host Mike Francesa, but for once he absolutely nailed it wit this rant.
Just disgusting and classless by Franklin. Show a little respect for your opponent, huh?
**Next up, a happier little football moment. Texas Lutheran kicker Tyler Hopkins converted a field goal in a way I’ve never seen before. Watch this, and let me know if you’ve ever seen a guy make a FG on their second attempt!
**And finally today, you know I’ve become a little obsessed with this season of “America’s Got Talent,” because of two amazing performers, 12-year-old ventriloquist Darci Lynne, and 10-year-old singer Angelica Hale. They were both on Tuesday night’s live finale, hoping to win the $1M prize. Here’s a link to Hale’s fabulous performance, and below is Lynne, who I think should absolutely win.