Wait: James Franklin vs. James Franklin?
The Missouri Tigers will face the Vanderbilt Commodores this weekend in hopes of winning their first SEC game since joining the conference. The team just came off of a somewhat shaky victory against Central Florida and really needs to string a few wins together to gain momentum in this new conference. However, one interesting matchup will definitely decide the game, and that matchup is between James Franklin and James Franklin.
No it is not the same person, rather both men are huge proponents of each other’s team’s prospective chances in Saturday’s game. Missouri quarterback James Franklin will try and defeat the defensive assignments Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin has cooked up.
First, let’s get some background on each Franklin, starting with the Missouri quarterback. Franklin has not started off his second year as planned, struggling in almost every single game against any team not named Southeastern Louisiana. Against Georgia, he did a fantastic Lebron James impression by playing only three good quarters before folding in the fourth. It was then that he threw a backbreaking interception that was returned for a touchdown, as well as fumbling in his own red zone.
Most of Franklin’s good games occurred last season, such as his performances against Iowa State and Texas A&M. Against A&M and Ryan Tannehill, Franklin led a furious comeback and got the game into overtime, where Mizzou was able to defeat the Aggies 38-31. Franklin needs this win against Vanderbilt for added confidence and to hold off back up quarterback, sophomore Corbin Berkstresser.
Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin also would have wanted to start his second year at the helm of Vanderbilt better. Vanderbilt comes to Columbia with a 1-3 record after a close opening loss against South Carolina. The Commodores were not even competitive in their past defeat at the hands of Georgia, 48-3.
Last year, Coach Franklin led his team to a bowl game, becoming the only first year head coach in school history to conquer such a feat. He is also the first African-American head coach hired at Vanderbilt in its entire football program’s history.
Coach Franklin needs this win to get his team back on track and to show fans and the press that his first season was not a fluke, but a sign of good things to come.
Both teams coming into the game have controversies. For the Tigers, it’s about top recruit Dorial Green-Beckham being arrested late Wednesday night for possession of under 35 grams of marijuana. He will be suspended this game.
For Vanderbilt, it will be which quarterback is under center for the majority of the game. Either the nod will be given to Jordan Rodgers, younger brother of Packers star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, or Wyoming transfer Austyn Carta-Samuels. Rodgers has started off the season slow, which has fueled much of the talk to start Carta-Samuels.
The way each team answers these problems will shape the outcome of this football game and maybe the season. The Tiger’s could win, reinstate Green-Beckham, and go undefeated the rest of the way with “DGB” rededicating himself to being a productive football player. For the Commodores, Carta-Samuels could get the start, have a fantastic game, and force Coach Franklin to start him, producing a better season for Vanderbilt than Rodgers would provide.
Either way, this Saturday has huge bowl game implications for both teams. The winner will be sitting much safer than the loser and will have also picked up its first SEC victory of the season. Whichever way the game goes, look for James Franklin and James Franklin to both be right in the thick of things.