- Last Updated: 1:38 PM, September 22, 2012
- Posted: 1:13 AM, September 22, 2012
It’s comforting to know there are more important things in Johnathan Franklin’s life besides football or he might be one bitter man.
Oh, wait, just remembered you might not know who Franklin is. He’s the nation’s leading rusher. No, he doesn’t play at an FCS school. No, his team hasn’t played Florida State’s schedule. No, he doesn’t play in a small media market.
The nation’s leading rusher plays for UCLA, smack dab in the heart of the nation’s second-largest media market. The Bruins (3-0) have a better record than that cross-town program, but we understand USC-UCLA is sort of like a Yankees-Mets dynamic. If Franklin was a Trojan, the world would know who he is.
UCLA has played a representative schedule, beating Rice, Nebraska and Houston. Franklin busted up the Cornhuskers defense for 217 yards on 26 carries — not 36 or 46, but 26, which means he averaged 8.3 yards per carry against Nebraska.
Yet according to the latest Heisman Pundit poll, Franklin, who has rushed for 541 yards, is tied for seventh with South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore, who is not even ranked among the nation’s top 50 runners, Stanford’s Stepfan Taylor (338 yards rushing) and Oregon’s De’Anthony Thomas (228).
The Bruins play their Pac-12 opener today against Oregon State, which is coming off a 10-7 upset of Wisconsin in which the Beavers held the vaunted Badgers ground game to a grand total of 35 yards.
So the table is set, Mr. Franklin — run those Beavers back to their dam and you can become the Heisman Trophy candidate you deserve to be. How does that sound?
“Thank you, sir, but I’m not concerned about that,” Franklin said. “I just want to do whatever I can to help my team win.’’
When Franklin was asked: “Is there a member of the media relations staff standing right next you?”
“No sir [again with the sir!],” he said. “I am not the least bit concerned with my individual accomplishments.”
“Johnathan,” I said, “You do understand I can’t help you with this Heisman campaign if you don’t give me something to work with.”
“I have more important things in my life,’’ he said.
When asked to name one, Franklin names two. He’s a Christian, which is far and away his No. 1 and, if he’s fortunate enough to have an NFL career, he would like to go into politics and become the mayor of Los Angeles.
“There are a lot of issues, a lot of people that need help,’’ Franklin said. “I can’t turn my back on them.’’
“Thank you, sir,’’ I say as I hang up the phone. “Thank you.”
RAISE THE CANES?
We will find out a lot about the toughness and resiliency of the Hurricanes today when they play at Georgia Tech. Miami is coming off a 52-13 loss at Kansas State (their last FBS opponent), in which the Wildcats rushed for 288 yards.
“We failed to play at a high level,’’ Miami safety Vaughn Telemaque said. “We just failed all around.”
Tech is third in the nation in rushing (374 yards per game), but the Yellow Jackets have lost three straight in the series by a combined score of 92-34.
“We have to see if we can’t put our big-boy pants on and play a little better against them,’’ coach Paul Johnson said.
Miami has to see if they have any big-boy pants, period.Follow @NYPostsports