Just a few months ago, Central Florida wasn’t even on the Penn State schedule.
And UCF coach George O’Leary? Well, he was the guy brought up in a few conversations about being Bill O’Brien’s coaching mentor for half of a decade at Georgia Tech.
Now, look what a good friendship can do for a couple of football teams .¤.¤.
When the Virginia Cavaliers wanted out of their return date in Beaver Stadium, the Nittany Lions agreed this winter and quickly picked up O’Leary’s Knights as a replacement. They’ll be playing in State College on Sept. 14.
It’s an interesting non-conference matchup for Penn State, especially considering the shaky depth possibilities during NCAA sanctions and Central Florida’s recent flashes of success.
Well, that Sept. 14 game in Beaver Stadium just got bigger. It will be shown in prime time, a 6 p.m. kickoff on the Big Ten Network.
This marks the third time Penn State will play under the lights this fall. They also will do a 5 p.m. start on homecoming Oct. 12 against Michigan before traveling to Ohio State for an 8 p.m. kickoff on Oct. 26.
But let’s get back to Central Florida.
The return trip hasn’t been set yet, though many were hoping for a date in Orlando to be announced for the 2014 or ’15 season. Then again, rumors began circulating late last week that the matchup, instead, may be played in Ireland to start next season.
O’Brien and O’Leary: In prime time the first year and in Ireland the second? For Penn State, that would be getting the most possible from a two-game series against an otherwise forgettable opponent.