Rhode Island rumor: Penn State could dump Virginia for winless Rams

Rumors of this scheduling change were floating around more than a month ago. 
Now it appears even more likely: Penn State could well replace this year’s home game against Virginia with Rhode Island, a winless Football Championship Subdivision team last year (formerly Division I-AA). 
Rhode Island players were tweeting about the game change on New Year’s Day, according to Southern Rhode Island newspapers at ricentral.com. 
For the Rams, the game would be a huge pay day, probably at least a guaranteed $300,000, maybe more.

Penn State opens the season on Aug. 31 against Syracuse at MetLife Stadium before returning home to play Eastern Michigan.

The Virginia game is scheduled for Sept. 14. 
“It’s not final now, but there’s a strong possibility,” URI coach Joe Trainer told ricentral.com. 
For Penn State, the rationale could be part of a plan to lessen the non-conference part of its schedule during the NCAA sanctions, which include scholarship losses and potential significant depth problems.

Bill O’Brien may add a lesser Rhode Island team to this year’s schedule to help winning and recruiting during NCAA sanctions.

The Virginia home game could be rescheduled in Beaver Stadium a few years down the road, much like how Alabama requested to move its series with Penn State when it was under sanctions. 
Rhode Island, by the way, finished 0-11 last year and only twice scored more than 10 points in a game.

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16 Responses to Rhode Island rumor: Penn State could dump Virginia for winless Rams

  1. Char V says:

    Caption says “O’Brien may add a lesser Rhode Island team…to help winning and…” Doubt that “winning” is part of the reason. From the PSU standpoint, it seems more likely that much weaker competition means much less chance of injury to starters. Given the lack of depth during sanctions, this seems a reasonable concern.

    • Frank Bodani says:

      Hi Char V…. Actually, that’s an interesting point. Didn’t really think of it that way, but maybe you’re on to something. I think it’s also about not only winning but winning in decisive fashion while looking good (scoring a lot of points) doing it. A way to impress recruits who won’t care much WHO Penn State beats during the sanctions.

    • jim says:

      yea right, they’re looking for an easy win. Never thought anyone would be afraid to play virginia

      • Frank Bodani says:

        Well, Jim, looks like Penn State will have to play Virginia, after all. Schedule stays the same. And I agree. This year, PSU should be able to handle Virginia at home.

  2. Stretch says:

    What a bunch of bums. Nothing like extorting money out of fans to see a winless FCS school…for what? Does it really matter what PSU’s record is in the next few years? We’re not winning any championships, at least play some decent teams to give everyone a better show.

    • Frank Bodani says:

      Understand that if this, indeed, goes through, there should be plenty of backlash from fans. Who wants to pay decent money to watch Rhode Island?
      However, I’m hearing O’Brien has a plan in place to win as many games as possible and score a lot of points doing it to help with recruiting during the sanctions.

      The idea is that high school kids won’t care who Penn State beats the next few years. They will care about the number of victories and this offense.

      • Joonya says:

        High school kids also care about bowls, bowl trips, bowl freebies, championships, and especially recently, being on TV. High school kids aren’t stupid – beating up a bunch of winless FCS schools is not going to impress them. And if it’s a match-up that won’t be on TV, there won’t be any coverage of Beaver Stadium, PSU, or anything else.

        • Frank Bodani says:

          I agree about the listless matchup. And I think they could/should be able to beat Virginia at home this season anyway. However, a national recruiting analyst agreed with O’Brien’s (possible) plan about dumbing-down the non-conference schedule for JUST the next few years in order to GUARANTEE victories, especially high-scoring ones. Said that H.S. kids will be more impressed with victories during sanctions than losses and 5-win seasons during sanctions.

  3. Gardner says:

    It won’t impress recruits if Penn State wins big infron of 50-60K fans week after week.

    • Frank Bodani says:

      Sure, attendance definitely was down. But I think they believe that one bad FCS opponent is not going to send attendance to the 50K level for most of the season.

  4. Joonya says:

    Maybe while the governor is suing everyone, he can sue the NCAA to allow PSU to play in FCS next year. After all, if it’s only the # of wins that count, let’s go all-in.

    • Frank Bodani says:

      Again, I expect fans to be upset by watching a bad FCS team. But this is a “temporary” plan because of the sanctions. I fully anticipate O’Brien to actually load up on the top-tier non-conference opponents once the sanctions are over.

  5. CalvinYoung says:

    We are NOT ducking UVA. That’s just silly. Everyone knows Penn State only ducks federal investigations, the Freedom of Information Act, and accountability. We do NOT duck football teams.

    We are! FCS?

    • Frank Bodani says:

      Tough response, Calvin. But I understand the saracasm. If I was a Penn State fan paying for seats I would not be approving of playing a really bad FCS team at home.

    • Tom says:

      Ducks Federal Investigations? Really? They paid a former fed $26 million to investigate something that everyone knew about. It produced two emails that proved nothing.

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