Franklin Reminds All That Penn State Not Yet Bowl Eligible
September 09, 2014 3:45 PM
by Ben Jones
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It has been an exciting 24 hours for the Penn State football program. 

The scholarships are back next year, the chance to play in a bowl game and win a Big Ten title is in the mix for this season.

But as James Franklin liked to remind everyone on Tuesday, the chance to play in a bowl game is not the same thing as getting to play in a bowl game.

You still have to earn it.

"We're very very appreciative of the opportunity we have that the NCAA and Big Ten and Penn State administration worked so hard to make happen," Franklin said. "It's amazing how many people texted me and emailed me and said how it's awesome that we're bowl-eligible. Were not bowl-eligible. We have an opportunity to go to a bowl game."

That kind of focused thinking is really the only option that Penn State has right now. It is certainly a great moment for the Nittany Lions to enjoy. Their games suddenly have more meaning. They're no longer playing for pride. On the flip side, wins and losses now really mean something. A defeat will leave more of a bitter taste.

As a result, even though everything changes, nothing really does. Taking care of business one day at a time is still the status quo.

"[The message was] received extremely well and guys are excited. This is great and now there's nothing being held back from them, in terms of opportunities. They have the ability to chase their dreams now, but we're going back to our same approach, which is one game at a time, one play at a time, one class at a time."

There was a moment on Monday, when the team first received the news, to thank those players who helped keep the program standing. Franklin called up all 49 players from that fateful season who are still on the squad to thank them for their dedication in front of the team.

"We did bring the 49 guys who stayed to the front, and the rest of the guys gave them a standing ovation," Franklin said. "They were here for our program when we needed them most.

"You could even mention some of the recruits. Hackenberg and Breneman are two guys who kind of held the recruiting class together. I don't think there's any doubt that those 49 guys will forever be remembered. They didn't take a shortcut. Those guys are a perfect example of that. It's also an example that if you just work hard and keep a positive attitude and persevere, good things happen.

"I'm happy those 49 guys can be rewarded for the commitment they showed to this program."

All of this should lead up to an emotion-filled contest this weekend against Rutgers in the first Big Ten game of the season. Franklin and his players won't admit that this game means something more now, but the new sense of purpose is a very real and tangible thing. 

And it's hard to imagine that it won't be visible come Saturday night.

And with a favorable schedule and a weak Big Ten, it's hard to imagine Penn State won't wind up being officially bowl eligible when it's all said and done.

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