He looks at Washington's offense and, in certain areas, he notices what made Penn State dominant in recent years.
When Franklin's No. 9 Nittany Lions line up at 4:10 p.m. today to end the 2017 season against the No. 11 Huskies in the 47th Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium, they'll do so against a team that has been where they want to go and has experienced some of the same struggles they have to get there.
Penn State who found itself ranked as high as #3 in the country this year had a disappointing finish including a blown lead to Ohio St and a freaky loss to Michigan St. The Nittany Lions had missed a field goal with less than 40 seconds left, leaving the door open for Washington. So the fact that [the ban] got lifted ... being able to play four straight bowls is not something that I imagined not being able to do. "But a two-loss teams, it's really hard to make it".
With three-fourths of the conference headed to bowl games, there was potential for the Pac-12 to have an impressive showing and prove that despite not having a team qualify for the College Football Playoff, it is still one of the better Power-5 conferences. The first game of the day is the TaxSlayer Bowl, which has Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson. Chris Peterson has built a strong program out west, but he's started his tenure 1-3 in bowl games. If they can control Barkley in the return game and Pettis can break some big returns the Huskies might just have a shot. I think those guys came in with a real big chip on their shoulders that they wanted to be the senior class that really put Penn State back on the map, and I think they accomplished a lot of that. We weren't expecting to have bowl games for a long time.
Penn State enters the Fiesta Bowl with a with an unblemished 6-0 mark all-time.
"They're tough up front, and it's going to be a mentality thing", Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley said.
Penn State helped bring the Fiesta Bowl into national prominence almost 31 years ago. "We're going to have to change our mindset a little bit to have to grind out some tough running yardage". James Franklin has now posted consecutive double-digit win seasons in Happy Valley, and a national bowl win would further hammer the idea that Penn State has returned to national prominence.
The victor today, obviously, will have done that.