We all know that Penn State can't play in a postseason game until after the 2016 season, unless by some miracle Mark Emmert and the NCAA reduce their sanctions, of course. However, apparently that isn't stopping them from looking into making a game special for the players and fans of the Nittany Lions.
According to Adam Rittenberg of ESPN.com, Penn State is seriously looking into playing a game in Ireland. Yes, you are seeing that correctly, the Nittany Lions are looking seriously at trying to find a game to play on the Emerald Isle.
If they can find an opponent and get it set up for either 2014 or 2015 then this could be an ingenious way to help market the program further and reward those players who are on the team, knowing they most likely won't play in a bowl game for the majority of their careers at PSU.
The strong interest was confirmed by O'Brien following a Maxwell Club function, where he said they were being "aggressive" about approaching a game in Ireland.
However, it's far from a done deal at this point thanks to a few hangups.
"“I always get in trouble with my bosses on this, I think it's fun to talk about,” O'Brien said. “What's difficult about that is the Big Ten is deciding whether to go to a nine or 10-game schedule in the future so we kind of have to wait to see what they do. We kind of have to wait there.
“Then you have to find an opponent that's willing to make that trip. That's where it's at right now but we're definitely exploring it and trying to be aggressive about it.”
There is also the waiting game of finding out when the Big Ten is going to move to a nine or ten game (nine has been the likely outcome sounded off by most B1G AD's). If that move happens in 2016 like expected then this is no big deal for this game moving forward.
So, who could be the opponent? Well, the 2014 schedule already has Temple, UMass, and Akron on the bill. Call me skeptical, but none of those are marquee enough to move the game to Ireland so they'll need to find a much, MUCH bigger name to fill that spot.
Sure, Temple would be a good story - being an instate "rival" and all that jazz, but they don't carry the cache that will sell tickets in Dublin, that's simply the truth.
No matter what, if this game goes off then Bill O'Brien and Penn State will have done a service to the players who stuck with the program despite it's hardships and that's a smart move. Now, if only O'Brien sticks around long enough to see it happen, eh?