The Ohio State football schedule that has been roundly criticized this week after the Buckeyes moved into position to play for a BCS National Championship found an unlikely ally on the NFL.com College Football 24/7 Podcast Wednesday in the form a title-contending SEC quarterback.
Missouri senior James Franklin spoke with NFL.com draft analyst Bucky Brooks, and said he doesn't believe a one-loss SEC team should jump ahead of the Buckeyes -- presuming they remain unbeaten through Saturday's Big Ten title game -- in the BCS standings.
"I personally think if a team is undefeated, like Ohio State, people talk about a weak conference and everything, I still they would deserve to play in it," Franklin said. "Because undefeated, tough teams or not, it's hard to win consistently and it's hard to go undefeated."
For now, Franklin can only concern himself with knocking off Auburn in the SEC title game Saturday to remain in contention for a title shot, and hope Michigan State paves the way with an upset of the Buckeyes.
"I feel really good," Franklin said. "I'm just thankful I got to come back, because I wasn't sure exactly how long I was going to be out. I know they had an estimate, but recovery times don't always go according to plan. I just worked as hard as I could to come back, and thankfully I was able to, and I'm just excited to be back and help the team get some wins."
Although Franklin missed about a month of action with a midseason shoulder injury, he has been infinitely more effective this season than he was a year ago, completing 67 percent of his passes with a 16-4 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He credited improved mental toughness and offseason work with quarterback guru George Whitfield and at the Manning Passing Academy for his improvements.
He also said throwing to a trio of receivers who measure 6-foot-6 (Dorial Green-Beckham), 6-5 (Marcus Lucas) and 6-4 (L'Damian Washington) makes things easier, as well.
"It gives you a lot more confidence when you throw the ball. Obviously, you don't always want to throw a jump ball. But when you do, it gives you a lot of confidence that 'My guy is going to go up there and he is going to get it,'" Franklin said. " ... It gives you more confidence to just throw the ball pretty accurately. No matter where it is, if it's around them, they're going to come up with the ball. They always go up for the ball, go down the for ball, stretch out for the ball."
Franklin (6-2, 235 pounds) has thrown for 1,952 yards this season, and rushed for 412, in just nine games.