Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin, fresh off an 8-4 regular season and preparing his team for Saturday's BBVA Compass Bowl against the Houston Cougars, may be ascending to the NFL shortly after his season ends today.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported just hours before the kickoff of the BBVA Compass Bowl that Franklin had received multiple requests for interviews with NFL franchises:
You just hope this won't be a distraction from the pomp and pageantry of the BBVA Compass Bowl.
The Vandy coach is also reportedly being sought by Penn State and is considered by some to be Texas' backup, if Charlie Strong doesn't take the Longhorns job. The Browns are apparently interested in college coaches in general, with Auburn's Gus Malzahn also being mentioned as another candidate and Chip Kelly, formerly of Oregon, drawing interest last year.
Franklin's allure for the NFL makes sense, being that he's had a fairly strong level of success at Vandy, which doesn't enjoy a recruiting advantage like many top schools. It's one thing to load your program then go out and win every game; that's a very particular skill, and the best college football coaches have it. But to succeed in the NFL you need to maximize production from a talent base that is crafted by salary cap restrictions to be as equal as possible. That's where Xs and Os acumen takes over, and Franklin's skills on that front are basically unimpeachable.
No word yet on whether Franklin plans to accept these interview requests or what his future plans are. Other than the BBVA Compass Bowl, of course.