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James Franklin on College Football Playoff system: 'No, it's not fair'

Tyler Mansfield11/04/21
Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

During his media availability with reporters Wednesday, Penn State head coach James Franklin was asked about the first College Football Playoff ranking of the season and if he thought the system was fair for every team in the country. The Nittany Lions’ head man was quick to answer the question and offer his thoughts.

“No, it’s not fair,” Franklin said. “Life is not fair.”

Franklin was quick to say that he didn’t think every team benefited from the CFP format, with his main reasoning being that not all teams play under the same model – meaning that not all conferences play the same number of games and the same type of opponents.

To Franklin, the system will not be fair for every team until everyone follows the same path.

“I’ve brought up some things in the past that I believe in, and a lot of people that have been here for a while have heard this multiple times, but I think the first thing you have to do – if you’re not going to have a true playoff system – the first thing you have to do is make sure everybody is playing under the same model,” Franklin said.

“How can you have some conferences that play FCS opponents and other conferences that don’t? How can you have some conferences that are playing nine conference games and others playing eight? It’s very, very challenging in terms of if you get a bunch of people in the room – and we all have biases, right? – and they’re trying to decide who are the best players. Some of it is data, but some of it is just your personal preference, right? How can you do that when not everyone is playing the same number of games in a similar situation?”

Franklin’s comments come after Tuesday’s first CFP ranking for the 2021 season had a 9-0 Oklahoma team ranked at No. 8 while the seven teams in front of the Sooners had only played eight total games. The ranking also had three 7-1 teams inside the top-five with No. 2 Alabama, No. 4 Oregon and and No. 5 Ohio State.

“Everybody needs to play eight games, everybody needs to play nine games or everybody needs to play 10 games,” Franklin said. “Whatever it is – just make it consistent across the board. I think that’s one of the first things you have to do. Then, standardize we’re either all playing a I-AA – or FCS – opponent or no one is. But it just needs to be consistent.

“I think that’s the first thing you need to do to allow people to sit in a room and decide who are the best football teams in college football. If not, there’s always going to be a complaint.”

Penn State – which is now 5-3 on the season after starting off 5-0 – was unranked in the first CFP ranking, despite being No. 22 in the latest AP poll.