What-If Wednesday: Colorado Football Expectations, Plus Group of 5 vs. Power 4 and James Franklin Allegations

NCAA Football: Colorado Spring Game

Welcome to our newest feature, which we’re calling “What-If Wednesday.” In this column, I’ll propose a handful of questions that, at this point, have not come to fruition. But IF they do, what will come out of it? What’s the end game?

Join us for this one, and let’s have some fun.


What If… Colorado Football has the largest spread between their floor and ceiling?

Then the expectations for Colorado can be anywhere from 4-8 to 9-3, which is probably the largest gap between a worst-case and best-case scenario in the Big 12 Conference heading into the 2024 college football season.

We talked about this on our Heartland College Sports forums, which you can sign up, join and read for free. Bryan Clinton predicted 4-8 for the Buffaloes. It’s not unreasonable to look at their schedule and find 4-8, but is it unreasonable to think 8-4, or 9-3, if the health is perfect, and the team improves in the trenches, is out of the question? I don’t think so.

And that’s what will make this team so hard to pinpoint. As Pete Thamel noted though this week, Deion Sanders’ coaching likely cost CU at least two games last season. If he’s learned from some of his coaching mistakes at a higher level, that will also mean the Buffaloes take a step in the right direciton.


What If… the Group of 5 is the farm system for the Power 4?

Then Sonny Dykes was right to point out that the two groups may need to break off from each other. He’s right to point out that the gap continues to grow between the major Power 4 programs and any regular Group of 4 program. Alabama and Ohio are not operating in the same universe. And that gap is only likely to grow.

Here’s another example this week of the struggles for Group of 5 programs.

So now what? The programs will continue to exist, and at least one will get into the College Football Playoff, but the ideas of cinderellas seem more and more unlikely with each passing season as the gap continues to grow.


What If… the James Franklin allegations are true?

Then James Franklin‘s future at Penn State should be in serious doubt.

On Tuesday, a former Penn State football team doctor testified in court that Franklin had a history of interfering with the decisions of the PSU football medical staff. This testimony, which belongs to Dr. Pete Seidenberg, is part of an ongoing wrongful termination lawsuit filed by Dr. Scott Lynch, who claims he was fired from his role with Penn State athletics because he refused to “allow a coach to interfere with his medical treatment and return to play decisions.”

According to a report from John Luciew of Penn Live, Seidenberg claims that Franklin (and former athletic director Sandy Barbour) pressured him and Dr. Lynch to medically disqualify a Penn State football player who was receiving short-term psychiatric treatment after he attempted suicide by jumping out of a window.

If Franklin is culpable and these allegations are true, can he continue to be the face of the program as a leader of young men? Especially given society’s focus on mental health in recent years?

Winning can cure a lot, and Franklin has done that, but he’s still losing consistently to Ohio State and Michigan. So how bulletproof is he really?

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