Which Big 10 Coaches Can Be Called Mr. October?

Which Big 10 Coaches Can Be Called Mr. October?
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

Even with a new quarterback under center, Penn State football is among the top programs in the nation yet again. The Nittany Lions are ranked No. 6 in the Associated Press poll, so it is time to see what’s on the horizon.

For instance, how has Penn State coach James Franklin fared in games in the month of October? PennStakes.com, as part of our Pennsylvania sports betting coverage, gathered information from Sports-Reference.com to compare current Big 10 coaches’ success rates in October. Those with less than three years of experience as head coach were not included, but games from previous coaching stops were counted. Here is the October lowdown: 

Big Ten Football Coaches October Records

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Coach Oct. Record Winning Percentage
Ryan Day, Ohio State 13-0 1.000
Luke Fickell, Wisconsin 18-7 .720
Jim Harbaugh, Michigan 31-13 .705
PJ Fleck, Minnesota 23-15 .605
James Franklin, Penn State 24-18 .571
Bret Bielema, Illinois 30-24 .556
Matt Rhule, Nebraska 15-12 .556
Kirk Ferentz, Iowa 49-40 .551
Greg Schiano, Rutgers 25-28 .472
Tom Allen, Indiana 6-15 .286
Mike Locksley, Maryland 6-18 .250


Closer Look at Franklin in October

Penn State’s Franklin ranks in the top five among all conference coaches with an October record of 24-18 (.571). Ohio State's Ryan Day, who Penn State faces next month, tops the list with an impressive 13-0 (1.000) record. Iowa's Kirk Ferentz has the most wins among all coaches with a 49-40 (.551) record.

Franklin has Penn State off to a 4-0 start. In late August PennStakes.com posed hypothetical odds on what Penn State’s final record would be.

Three Games Ahead in October

After a road trip to Northwestern at noon Saturday (Big Ten Network), the Nittany Lions will enter the month of October with a bye week. Massachusetts visits State College for Homecoming to start the month Oct. 14. This will be only the second meeting between both schools with Penn State taking the first matchup, 48-7, at home in 2014.

The first big showdown of the season occurs the following week with a trip to Ohio State on Oct. 21. A thorn in the Nittany Lions side, Ohio State owns a 24-13 all-time record, including a 44-31 road win on Oct. 29, 2022. A home matchup vs. Indiana  Oct. 28 ends the month. Penn State holds an impressive 24-2 record all-time over the Hoosiers, highlighted by a 45-14 road rout on Nov. 5 last season.

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Future Odds

As of Tuesday morning at BetMGM Sportsbook PA, the over/under regular season wins line for Penn State is at 10.5. The Nittany Lions are listed as the third favorite to win the Big 10 title at +300, behind Michigan (+160) and Ohio State (+210). Penn State is tied for sixth favorite with USC (+1600) to win the national title.

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Lou Monaco had been East Coast Scene columnist for Gaming Today in Las Vegas since June 2019, covering the East Coast sportsbook scene with emphasis on NJ and PA. He also currently is a part-time writer for the high school sports department for NJ Advanced Media (NJ.com) in Iselin, NJ. Lou has over 30 years sports experience with previous stints at ESPN SportsTicker, Daily Racing Form and Oddschecker.

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