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By George! Why a Central Florida Series with Penn State Football Makes Sense

by on January 26, 2013 10:17 AM

It's not what you know, it's who you know.

And for Bill O'Brien, he's known for six months since the NCAA sanctions were handed down that a nice substitute for a January bowl game is a regular season nonconference matchup in a warm-weather climate.

He kicked tires on the idea of scheduling a game at Hawaii last summer. He's openly expressed a desire to travel overseas, and that venture may not be a lost cause just yet as Penn State has a schedule opening in 2015 — the last for the bowl ban — with Rutgers moving to the Big Ten.

But O'Brien has an ally in Central Florida's George O'Leary — the two coached together at Georgia Tech starting in 1995 and were set to team up at Notre Dame in 2001 until O'Leary was promptly dismissed for lying on his resume. And that note helps stir the pot regarding an Orlando Sentinel report stating UCF will travel to Beaver Stadium in 2013 with the Nittany Lions returning to central Florida in 2014.

Penn State, for its part, expects a scheduling update early next week. So stay tuned.

According to the Sentinel, citing a UCF source, the Knights would visit Penn State on Sept. 14, when the Lions are scheduled to play Virginia. And, The Daily Press in Virginia, citing ACC sources, reported Friday night Virginia's 2013 schedule was under construction.

The 2014 schedule shakeup may have to include one other team. The Orlando Sentinel report has Penn State-UCF pegged on Sept. 20, replacing Jacksonville State. Penn State is currently scheduled to host Massachusetts then, but UMass has an opening Sept. 13, and Penn State's matchup with Rutgers would likely be moved as it joins the Big Ten. Bumping UMass up a week rather than out keeps a third nonconference home game, and that's big money a financially strapped athletic department won't want to jeopardize.

Nate Mink covers Penn State football and news for He's on Twitter as @MinkNate.
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