Penn State to play Central Florida this year and next; nixes Virginia game

First, the rumor was that Penn State would ease up on this year’s football schedule, possibly replacing Virginia with an overmatched opponent from the Football Championship Subdivision. 

It turns out that the Nittany Lions actually may have made things tougher.


Bill O’Brien now will be meeting one of his mentors head-to-head the next two years in Central Florida coach George O’Leary.

The Cavaliers’ return trip to Beaver Stadium for Sept. 14 has reportedly been replaced with a visit from Central Florida, according to a report in the Orlando Sentinel. Penn State sports information director Jeff Nelson said he anticipates a schedule update release early next week. 

The Knights were 10-4 in 2012 and won their bowl game over Ball State. Virginia was 4-8 last season after an early one-point victory over the Nittany Lions.

Now, on to the potential motivating factors for the move .¤.¤. 

Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien is long-time friends with UCF coach George O’Leary. O’Brien coached under O’Leary at Georgia Tech from 1995-2001. 

O’Brien also was set to be O’Leary’s offensive coordinator at Notre Dame before a resume snafu quickly cost O’Leary the head job of the Fighting Irish. 

Another factor for the schedule switch may be to add a “destination” game during the NCAA sanctions, which include a four-year bowl ban for the Lions. 

The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that Penn State would play the Knights in Orlando on Sept. 20, 2014. 

But Florida in September? 

In a sense, it doesn’t seem like much of a reward for players and possibly even fans. Orlando’s average high temperature in September is 90 degrees. And it’s still very humid. 

Plus, during a typical regular-season road trip, players usually do not arrive together at the team hotel until at least 5 p.m. the day before the game. They also typically board a charter flight home an hour or so after the game. 

It’s difficult to imagine O’Brien tweaking his routine and practice schedule much during the middle of the season to make room for amusement park trips or beach days.

However, there could be one potential way to work around the weather obstacle. 

Penn State has two open dates in 2014. They also still have one non-conference game to add. And everyone in the Big Ten must account for the additions of Maryland and Rutgers. 

If the league section of the schedule is blown up to account for the new additions, Penn State officials could possibly try to work a trip to Central Florida in November, switching one of its bye weeks to earlier in the season. 

If not, it appears that Penn State and its fans will be traveling to sticky Orlando in the middle of September next year.

(The Lions, though, will have to move a home game vs. Massachusetts on Sept. 20, 2014 to make the UCF game possible; UCF can’t play on Sept. 13 because of road game at Missouri).

No matter, going to Orlando would provide a different feel to the typical Penn State schedule. 

It’s just that it won’t compare to the potential rumored “destination” games in Ireland to start a season or in Hawaii to end one.


This entry was posted in Big Ten, Bill O'Brien, bowl game, Fans, Football, Penn State, Schedule and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>