Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde discuss Penn State’s upcoming trip to Auburn, and debate which team can afford the loss less in terms of securing their coaches future.
DAN WETZEL: Penn State Auburn. Now, Auburn is a soap opera train wreck. The Boosters tried to get rid of Bryan Harsin last year. It did not work. He is still there. However, recruiting is not good. The team, we don't know. But we will see what they can pull off. This is certainly the game to do it. But they are dying to, again, pounce and make this awful for Auburn. It is a team at war with its fan base, even though the fan base will show up in force wearing orange on Saturday. An orange out. We have an orange out coming.
PAT FORDE: All right.
DAN WETZEL: But there's sort of an expectation that they will lose. And I think some of the fans will actually be happy if they lose. If not, they'll just be-- but if you can survive this, look out, Bryan Harsin, right? Who knows. He ain't fired yet.
PAT FORDE: Yeah, that's right.
DAN WETZEL: Penn State is 2-0. There are plenty of people who aren't that excited about James Franklin. They almost tried to run him out. That gave him a $100 million deal or $90 million deal. But they want to see that expectation is to win. And with Auburn being what Auburn is, I don't think Penn State can spin this as well. We went down in the SEC and lost on the road. The expectation is Penn State will win.
Penn State, you have a potential quarterback controversy. Sean Clifford started his 35th game against Ohio, a long time starter. I think he's a sixth year, he's sixth year guy. But freshman Drew Allar is the five star stud. And this will certainly why Franklin's got bright future. He comes in and looks tremendous both against Purdue. Certainly, just shows a lot of talent against Purdue. And they look very good against Ohio, as everybody did. If Sean Clifford struggles, how quick could you go to Allar. Can you put Allar in there on the road in what will be an incredible environment? So much going on there. So, I guess I will posit this question. Who needs to lose less or more? Or who needs to lose less?
PAT FORDE: Who needs to lose less. I think Penn State can afford the loss more than Auburn and certainly more than Bryan Harsin can. First of all, they are at home. Secondly, as you said, the buzzards are circling. They forced out Alan Green, the athletic director who hired Harsin and had probably been his buffer, his protection between the insane Boosters and Harsin.
You know, you've won two games. But you haven't beaten anybody. They were not impressive against San Jose State. You've got 5 straight home games to open the year. You win this and get to 3-0. You start looking at those next two. Hey, let's get the 5-0. And all of a sudden, you're pulling a Tommy Tuberville and saving your job a year after they tried to submarine you for Bobby Petrino. You know, Auburn's been down this road before. So, I wouldn't say it's impossible for Bryan Harsin to keep his job. If he loses this one, it gets a lot harder.
So, Penn State is favored by 3 points. And you know what? I mean, this is not a good Auburn team. James Franklin has been there at Penn State certainly well long enough to establish this program. You know James Franklin doesn't want to play Drew Allar down there. He wants to play Sean Clifford. He wants to play his sixth year senior and just hope everything goes smoothly. But it could be one of those situations. If you're not moving and you're doing nothing, you might have to at least throw him in for a series and see what he can do.
DAN WETZEL: I agree. Look, he wants to play Shawn Clifford no matter what, anywhere. He wanted to play Shawn Clifford at home against Ohio. He certainly doesn't want to play a freshman in that environment. So, I don't know. It's a big game. It's going to be a very good game. I liked when they set this thing up. Good home and home. It was a good game when Auburn visited College Station. And I like, they're doing the orange out. Kind of a shoot back at you kind of thing with the white out.
PAT FORDE: It's a bragging rights game. Both schools think they have great fans. And they're both right. But they want to say our fans are better than your fans. So, they will be as jacked up for any game that's not the Iron Bowl you'll probably see down there.