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Penn State, James Franklin look to 'finish the job' in quest for College Football Playoff

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- No program has come closer to breaking through to the College Football Playoff without actually crashing into the field than Penn State, which managed to win the Big Ten and still get shut out back in 2016.

The Nittany Lions have emerged as a curious dichotomy in recent seasons, as they managed to contrast three 11-win seasons in the past six years with an 11-11 two-year dip in 2020 and 2021. With coach James Franklin entering his ninth season, the program has both teased the sport's highest levels and tumbled to mediocrity, showing the potential in State College and highlighting the flaws.