Franklin, Edsall Add Spice to Otherwise Inconsequential Rivalry

By Kyle Rowland on June 19, 2014 at 8:30a

Jawing, trash talking and good old-fashioned arguments have been part of coaching since the 1800s. In the Big Ten, it usually meant Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler had a civil disagreement. The latest spat involves two coaches who have never coached in the Big Ten and one team that isn’t even officially in the conference: Penn State’s James Franklin and Maryland’s Randy Edsall.

Since leaving Vanderbilt for Penn State in January, Franklin’s made quite a splash. At his introductory press conference, he said the Nittany Lions would dominate the recruiting region. Those comments came with a nod and a wink toward Urban Meyer. But Franklin’s lived up to his declaration by securing commit after commit and placing Penn State in the top five nationally.

He made more headlines in May when, during a speech in Baltimore, he declared Maryland as in-state territory for the Nitttany Lions, and continued by saying other schools in the region “might as well shut them down because they don’t have a chance.”

To the surprise of no one, Edsall rolled his eyes at the slight.

“We’re not going to boast and brag,” he said this week at a charity golf outing in York, Pa., two hours from State College. “We're more about substance at Maryland. We’re going to find guys that fit the profile we’re looking for. We’re going to worry about ourselves and not worry about anything else. Talk is cheap.”

And with that, the Penn State-Maryland rivalry became one to watch in the Big Ten.

Upon closer examination, Franklin’s comments, while brash and reeking of arrogance, do contain slivers of truth. Penn State currently has the nation’s third-ranked recruiting class – and three commits are from Maryland and one is from Washington, D.C.  The Terrapins’ class is ranked more than 30 spots lower and has zero Pennsylvanians.

The schools meet Nov. 1 at Beaver Stadium to renew a one-sided rivalry. In the 37-game history, Penn State’s won 35 times with one tie. Edsall believes it could grow into an attractive rivalry, and he’s right – if Maryland makes it competitive.

So far, the coaches war-of-words has acted as gasoline on an already simmering feud. Teams take on their coach’s personality, meaning a trickle down effect at Penn State and Maryland would lean to on-field differences.

“I think it’s just a natural fit. It’ll be fun to play,” Edsall said. “They’re a good program and good school. Being a border rival is something, to me, that will be exciting for both schools.”

When Edsall left Connecticut, many in the coaching fraternity were not pleased. Not because he left for a better job, but the way he handled it. Now, Franklin’s brash style is likely not endearing himself to colleagues. Bret Bielema and Tim Beckman have experienced similar declines in reputation from Big Ten coaches in recent years.  

Even non-Big Ten coaches have commented on Franklin.

“People can talk all they want, the actions are going to speak loudest,” Pitt head coach Paul Chryst said.

In 2016, Chryst will have the opportunity to make his actions speak with thunder when Pitt and Penn State begin a four-year series. The Nittany Lions begin a yearly meeting with old rival Rutgers this season, another school on Franklin’s scorched earth policy.

Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood has said nary a word relating to Franklin or Penn State. That’s because he refuses to mention them by name, opting instead to call them “the team from Pennsylvania.” There’s been plenty of negativity toward the blue and white in New Jersey.

The new few years could be hard on Penn State, depending on how well suited it is with depth. If that’s the case, Maryland, Rutgers and other Big Ten foes could take it out on Franklin. In a conference that welcomes national attention, adding flavor to otherwise bland rivalries is a welcome development. 


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DannyBeane's picture

This rivalry might be interesting. If it develops some teeth, I rooting for the terps all the way. Franklin makes for a good heel and even though I don't know much about Edsall, the few comments I've seen from him makes him seem like an easy enough guy to root for. The B1G could always use a little more chest thumping if you ask me.

+4 HS
BierStube's picture


"No matter where you go, there you are." B. Banzai

+14 HS
MeyerMattaScarletHeroes's picture

Imaginary upvote Biers, (I'm new and can't UV yet), but that was both random and funny

+1 !

+10 HS
FROMTHE18's picture

Maryland and Penn State would have to be true threats for the B1G title for this 'rivalry' to be interesting. If its like IU/Purdue, it won't mean anything to anyone else. It needs to make a difference for the conference standings, not just two middle tier teams shooting spitballs at each other.

-1 HS
Klytus21's picture

I still think "Fear the Turtle" is the best slogan around. Laugh everytime I see it.

Fear the...what?



+7 HS
DannyBeane's picture
I think I found a worthy mascott that would fit that slogan...


+12 HS
Chief B1G Dump's picture

I think the B1G need to create a rivalry trophy for this game...the Nittany Turtle...or the Delusional Crab Cake.

Open to suggestions:


+3 HS
Codeezy's picture

Did you say crab cakes?


+22 HS
Woodshed's picture
+3 HS
Burnsy's picture

Yea...we skrong

+2 HS
dr green's picture

Now I see where the coach learned his moves.

nfischer's picture

I caught a snapping turtle and almost lost my finger yesterday after I caught one fishing (he didn't actually bite it, but he "jumped" and hit my finger with his head).  Let's just say, I now view all turtles as ferocious.  This slogan has been given new meaning. 

My daughter was laughing the entire time...I think the screaming like an 8 year old girl may have had something to do with it.

+2 HS
YTOWNBUCKI's picture

This is definitely good for the B1G.  Having a rivalry on the east coast like that just helps for national coverage.  I like what's going on over there. 

I personally believe the Franklin hire was a godsend to the B1G.  Now hopefully the bottom dwellers make some hires.  It would have been nice to see Illinois or Purdue go after Chris Petersen.

CJDPHoS Board of Directors

Go get your shine box, Gumar!

+1 HS
DCNick's picture

I would love to see somebody in the B1G hire Lane Kiffin. Can you imagine??? The media would go crazy. I think Rutgers would be the best option because Lane would probably like being in NYC. A coach like that in the country's biggest media market would be a good thing.

+2 HS
Shangheyed's picture

Interesting... B1G needs to make all future hires impact coaches.

SilverBullet-98's picture

Illinois should hire Lane Kifflin and steal some of their in-state players back from Notre Dame and the SEC or atleast keep some future ones..

Then bring in someone who can coach ounce the roster is full. Sorta like USC I guess.

"The Past Builds the Future"

buckeyeboy31's picture

Championships are won by winning recruiting battles in June and July.


fatso from ann arbor

+2 HS
Denny's picture

Also, September locks up Heismans.


+4 HS
MeyerMattaScarletHeroes's picture

I actually love stuff like this, the trash talk (as long as its not too loco) makes the rivalry spicy.

+1 HS
Shangheyed's picture

Indeed good for the new comers to have a rivalry right off the bat... good for the game, competition and league.

Furious George 27's picture

Coaching wise I feel like both Franklin and Edsell are similar. One built UConn the other made Vandy relevant. Franklin can boast about being in the SEC but he also avoided playing the top dogs and benefitted from a soft OOC schedule to get those wins. I am definately interested to see if Franklin can walk the walk.

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

+1 HS
buckeyeradar's picture

Do you think it might be a crab walk or just the pace of a turtle?

I may not be the sharpest crayon in the box but I'm one of the most colorful.

Hovenaut's picture

I think Edsall is at a crossroads in College Park. Slow start, and he's had a slew of injuries affect the program the past couple of years (I think I got a call about walking on at QB at one point).

But he has some talent at the skill spots (Stefon Diggs, anyone?), and should things play out well for the Terps to start the year, they could possibly be undefeated when they welcome Ohio State to Byrd Stadium on October 4th.

In any case, the Maryland-PSU rivalry is real, and also good for the conference. I don't think it will be as one-sided as it was in the past.

Furious George 27's picture

MD also out recruited most B1G schools and got 5* OL Prince to choose them over OSU. IMO if they avoid the injuries 7-8 wins for them is not out of reach.

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

+1 HS
NeilAve's picture

Stephon Diggs also picked MD over OSU. still salty about that one. that kid has skills

+1 HS
I_Run_The_Dave's picture

I like how Franklin is starting a border war with every border state except for the one to his west.  Ah, well, I guess he knows his place in the Big Ten.

+4 HS
mrspray's picture

I think he saw the 63-14 "game" and decided he should hold back on that one...

In case you're curious, it's Mr. Spray

+2 HS
ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

We'll see just how much of a rivalry develops.  I like rivalries.  Maybe PSU can get off our jocks and start hating other schools.  But that's if Maryland can buck their 1-35-1 trend against PSU.  Geographically, the rivalry makes sense, since it's a border battle.  Then again, Ohio shares borders with West Virginia, Kentucky, and Indiana, and I don't see OSU having rivalries with West Virginia, Kentucky, Louisville, or Notre Dame.  Indiana and Purdue are in the same conference and they aren't exactly rivals, either.  We'll see.  Can Maryland step up and beat them some?

Class of 2010.

+1 HS
BED's picture

I was hoping someone else would point this out.  I'd be so happy if this results in Penn State no longer thinking they are our rival.

The Ohio State University, College of Arts & Sciences, Class of 2006
The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, Class of 2009

Nutinpa's picture

Guess again. With the death of the Pitt-Penn St rivalry, Penn Staters have nobody else to "hate" than Ohio State. 

You hate those who keep you from achieving your goals....or more bluntly, you hate those you haven't beaten.  Yes, the Nitts have gotten the best of us a few times in the past decade, but all in all, there is no visceral rival on their schedule beyond Ohio State. 

Why should they hate on Maryland?  They've made Maryland their bitch in recruiting.  The two schools are not really even comparable in terms of football panache (although I predict this will be a tough year for the Nitts...they are one or two years away from being really competitive game in an game out). 

So again.....why would PSU hate on Maryland?  Makes no sense.  There is nobody for Penn State to truly loathe than tOSU.  Better get used to it, cuz it isn't going away. 

buckeyebfd's picture

I had a PSU alum friend who told me once,  you guys are our rivals,  but damn I hate that we aren't yours.

+1 HS
ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

Double post

Class of 2010.

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

Oh shit, the extra rare triple post.

Class of 2010.

+2 HS
HilltopHustle's picture

Edsall better get his lashings in now, because his seat is as warm as anybody elses in the conference. And Maryland, despite its Under Armour marketing push, will need to keep the state and D.C. recruiting market locked up from the PSU's, OSU's and VT's if it EVER expects to compete long-term.

BierStube's picture

Basically sums up the situation ...


"No matter where you go, there you are." B. Banzai

+11 HS
tennbuckeye19's picture

The funny part is that just a few years back, prior to taking the Vanderbilt job Franklin was Ralph Friedgen's Offensive Coordinator and Coach-In-Waiting @ Maryland. Had things worked out a little differently, Franklin would have Edsall's job. 

Also, did you guys know Ralph Friedgen is the new Offensive Coordinator @ Rutgers?

BeijingBucks's picture

Friedgen... cause we needed someone who could cast a shadow bigger than Hoke?

I'm frankly just happy we have some doucheness back in our coaching ranks.  We gonna miss Bert's foibles and the visceral satisfaction from making him cry in post game pressers

None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license. ~ John Milton

otrain2416's picture

Talk is cheap until you beat a team with more than 8 wins bro. 

We were born to love Ohio State and hate that team up north.

TobyMagic's picture

If I was a Penn State fan I'd be thrilled with JF's start and as a Buck/B1G fan I hope Penn State is a budding MSU ready to win big out of conference games with the new playoff format.

CC's picture

Finally a rivalry in the B1G that doesn't involve osu.

Wisconsin, um, msu, PSU all want to have rivalries with osu.

+1 HS
AngelHeartsBuckeyes's picture

Aww, how sweet. Little lion finally got a rivalry.

Buckeye born and bred. Buckeye til I'm dead.

+1 HS
Max Power's picture

James Franklin is coming off as an attention whore IMO. Sine Bert left I guess someone had to take on that role. He talks alot for a guy whos yet to coach a game in the B1G and doesnt have any bragging rights on his coaching resumé (aside from making Vandy somewhat relevant).
I dont know much about Randy Edsall but I like his "talk on the field" attitude. That might be a little tough for Maryland. Kind of weak on Franklin's part for starting a feud with Maryland. Thats like calling out the towel boy in the circle drill.

BeijingBucks's picture

Or tackling Brutus

None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license. ~ John Milton

lax20's picture

A little history about Franklin and the Terps.  Franklin was an assistant head coach at Maryland under Ralph Friedgen and a coach in waiting when Friedgen left.  A new clown in town became the AD at Maryland from West Point ( still trying to figure that hire out) and waited to fire Friedgen because he did not want to give Franklin the head coaching job.  Franklin left to become head coach at Vanderbilt and Friedgen was immediately fired after going 9-4 and named the coach of the year in the ACC with an improbable successful season.  i am sure there is still a little animosity about the way this went down by Franklin.  If Edsall does not have a successful season and that means going at 6-6 or maybe 7-5 it could be the end of the line.  This team returns 18 starters and two of the best receivers in the country in Long and Diggs.