247Sports and CBS Sports' Barton Simmons released his annual list of the top 25 coaches in college football. Nittany Lion head man James Franklin checks in at No. 6 nationally, good for tops in the Big Ten as well.
Simmons had this to say about Franklin:
With USC and Florida State reportedly tapping the phone last season to gauge interest in Franklin, Penn State made it a point to lock him up long-term to ensure the program's leader stays put in Happy Valley. There aren't many coaches who have posted three 11-win seasons over the past four years with an average poll placement of 10th in the final rankings over that stretch. And he's doing this in the Big Ten, arguably the nation's most competitive league from top to bottom, with more than a handful of tough games annually. Franklin won the Big Ten in 2016 and is on the short list to do so again should the Nittany Lions upend Ohio State at home this fall.
In his nine seasons as a head coach between Vanderbilt and Penn State, Franklin has an 80-38 record with six finishes inside of the final AP Top 25. He's gone 56-23 in his six seasons at Penn State, including a 42-11 record over the past four years. His Nittany Lion teams have finished No. 17 or higher in each of the last four AP Polls, with a top-10 finish in three of the last four seasons.
Nick Saban, Dabo Swinney, Ed Orgeron, Kirby Smart, and Lincoln Riley make up the top five. Ryan Day (No. 7), Paul Chryst (No. 11), PJ Fleck (No. 16), Jim Harbaugh (No. 18), Kirk Ferentz (No. 19), and Pat Fitzgerald (No. 22) make up the other Big Ten coaches on the list.