For the second straight year, Penn State’s James Franklin has earned a spot on the preseason watch list for the Dodd Trophy. The award, presented by The Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation and the Peach Bowl, “celebrates the head coach of a team who enjoys success on the gridiron, while also stressing the importance of scholarship, leadership and integrity — the three pillars of legendary coach Bobby Dodd’s coaching philosophy.”

There are 20 coaches on the watch list this year. Franklin is one of four Big Ten coaches honored, joining Paul Chryst of Wisconsin, Jim Harbaugh of Michigan and Urban Meyer of Ohio State.

Franklin coaches the defending Fiesta Bowl champion Nittany Lions, who went 11-2 overall and 7-2 in the Big Ten in 2017, have played in two straight New Year’s Six bowl games and will be shooting for their first appearance in the College Football Playoff this fall.

He came to Penn State from Vanderbilt in 2014, replacing Bill O’Brien. Despite dealing with the remainder of NCAA sanctions stemming from the Sandusky scandal, Franklin led the Lions to back-to-back 7-6 seasons and bowl appearances in his first two seasons. He followed that up with back-to-back 11-win seasons and New Year’s Six showings. The Lions won the Big Ten title in 2016.

Franklin is about to begin his eighth year as a college head coach. He spent three seasons at Vanderbilt (2011-13), going 24-15 and finishing fourth in the SEC East each year.

In four seasons at Penn State, he is 36-17 overall. The Lions have gone a combined 22-5 the last two seasons. Despite losing All-American running back Saquon Barkley, PSU is expected to contend for the Big Ten championship once again in 2018.

Franklin's overall record as a college coach is 60-32. His team have never missed earning bowl bids, and is is 5-3 in postseason games.

Penn State Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno won the Dodd Trophy twice — in 1981 and 2005.

A release on the watch list includes the following information about the Dodd Trophy:

“The Dodd Trophy was established in 1976 to honor the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) head football coach whose program represents the highest ideals on and off the field. The award honors the coach of a team which enjoys a successful football season, while also stressing the importance of academic excellence and character, as did Coach Dodd’s teams during his 22 years as head football coach of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Coach Dodd remains one of college football’s legendary figures, both as a coach and a player.”

The Nittany Lions open the 2018 season against Appalachian State of the Sun Belt Conference at Beaver Stadium Sept. 1. The game kicks off at 3:30 p.m. and will be carried by BTN. It will be the first meeting between Penn State and the Mountaineers.