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O’Brien wants Penn State to play Hawaii for 13th game

Penn State football coach Bill O'Brien addresses a news conference before his first spring practice as Penn State's head football coach, in Pennsylvania Reuters

As part of the NCAA’s sanctions against Penn State, the Nittany Lions will not be able to play in a bowl game for the next four years.

To counter the missed opportunity, coach Bill O’Brien said on ESPN’s “Mike and Mike” Wednesday morning that the school could play Hawaii to “act as our bowl game at the end of the year.

Normally, teams that play the University of Hawaii on their schedule as a non-conference game are allowed to play 13 games.

But there are some issues. Stefanie Loh of the Patriot-News reports that UH’s schedule is set for the next two seasons. Additionally, NCAA Expert for Athnet John Infante told CFT the following:

“It’s normally a part of the penalties in a major infractions case when a postseason ban is issued. It’s not in the consent decree, so still an open question of whether the NCAA would allow it as a 13th game. My bet is no.”

Keep in mind that is one person’s opinion. Alabama was able to play Hawaii in 2002 and ’03 while serving a bowl ban. So was USC in ’10. So the possibility is still there for Penn State.

(Hat tip: Altoona Mirror) 

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50 Responses to “O’Brien wants Penn State to play Hawaii for 13th game”
  1. canetic says: Jul 26, 2012 8:32 AM

    Two days into their sanctions and they are already trying to find loopholes. Lesson well learned, PSU.

  2. woebegong says: Jul 26, 2012 8:41 AM

    Give a coach a new contract that last until 2020, and suddenly he tries to get creative, and in a small way, circumvent the restrictions imposed on his school, because of some very nasty practices that surfaced and the punishment accompanying them. I would think the last word a coach around PSU, would want to say is bowl game. Coach, spend your time building some character with the young men you have left, and quit worrying about considering a 13th game, in Hawaii, as a PSU bowl game. Save the money, until you are able to compete on a level playing field, and quit filling the kids heads up, with the fantasy. When they originally signed with PSU, I don’t think one of them had in mine, playing an imaginary bowl game in Hawaii.

  3. gmsingh says: Jul 26, 2012 8:46 AM

    Here’s an idea: instead ‘playing a game in Hawaii’, Bill O’Brien can spend a “quality weekend” with Sandusky.

  4. bdawk20 says: Jul 26, 2012 8:49 AM


    Look up the definition of loophole. In order for it to be a loophole, they would have to use a literal interpretation of the rules to play in an actual bowl game (just because O’Brien calls it a bowl game, doesn’t make it one).

    I know piling on PSU is the “thing to do” nowadays, but if you can’t do it accurately, then you shouldn’t do it at all.

  5. bdawk20 says: Jul 26, 2012 8:51 AM


    Your Joke = square peg, round hole.

  6. thegamecocker says: Jul 26, 2012 8:51 AM


    Once again, you are correct and I could agree 100%! He seems to be going down a road that is just fraught with public & NCAA backlash. If he would have done his homework, he would have found Hawaii is already booked for the next two years. Calling it PSU’s “BOWL GAME” was just plain silly. In life, timing is huge and tact is a gift. In this case Coach Obrien exhibited neither.

  7. anonymouslyanonymouscommentor says: Jul 26, 2012 9:23 AM


    Don’t be stupid. They could call the last game of the season a bowl game if they wanted. Would that be a loophole?

    These kids did nothing wrong. I’m not trying to argue against the sanctions, but to try and give them some semblance of a bowl game to close out the season is not a bad thing.

    There will be no extra practices. There will be no gift packages, or whatever the players get. There will be no pep rallies or special events. There will be no chance to play for any kind of championship. For almost everyone but them, it will just be another game on the schedule.

    The guys that will be playing in these games will have chosen to play at Penn State purely out of their commitment/love for their coaches, fellow teammates, and university. Let them have something. They deserve it. They did nothing wrong, but are going to fight through this anyways.

  8. woebegong says: Jul 26, 2012 9:31 AM

    Doesn’t it seem just a little weird though, that the majority of colleges in the NCAA are playing a 12 game or less regular season schedule and PSU wants to play a 13th?

  9. dgbk says: Jul 26, 2012 9:44 AM

    ppl are upset at the CURRENT coach who did nothing. it is a bad thing he refuses to sit in the corner with his head down?? they can call it the “omega mighty mighty awesome bowl” and its still just a 13th regular season game….

    they have accepted their punishments. i am not sure why he shouldnt speak this way. what happen was very horrible and the punishment is just. he has to show not only current players but future players there can be something postive here if u come. The point of these sanctions were to tear things down and build it up right. there is no timeline to start doing that. despite what many believe this will only get better for all parties by movin fwd so why cant he start today?

  10. tommy57 says: Jul 26, 2012 9:48 AM

    I weary at the lynch mob mentality of some on this site.

  11. dutchman1350 says: Jul 26, 2012 9:58 AM

    Well done Bill O’Brien. USC was allowed to play Hawaii as the 13th game. If you hate Penn State, don’t watch!

  12. stoutfiles says: Jul 26, 2012 9:59 AM

    This is assuming that Hawaii even wants to play PSU. I wouldn’t want that drama.

  13. thefiesty1 says: Jul 26, 2012 10:00 AM

    No means NO for the next four years. They just don’t get it.

  14. houndofthebaskervols says: Jul 26, 2012 10:05 AM

    Do yourselves a favor, read the Freeh Report. You will find very little in the way of wrongdoing in there, and absolutely nothing suggesting Paterno was involved in any coverup. Too bad the NCAA didnt bother to read the damn thing.

  15. trojan33sc says: Jul 26, 2012 10:18 AM

    This is an excellent idea ! Neither O’Brien or the present PSU ballplayers had anything to do with the heinous violations/cover-up of the PSU administration. Burn Sandusky, burn the administration, burn Paterno’s legacy but allow the program to at least function in a limited capacity for those players with intent to stay. Their hands are CLEAN !!!

  16. thegamecocker says: Jul 26, 2012 10:26 AM


    I love USC since I was a young kid. But I DETEST what Kiffin is doing regarding the PSU running back, Redd! Jim Mora is no better.

    As far as the 13th game is concerned, NOW is not the time for Obrien to be pitching for it. PSU is radioactive at the moment! He is not showing tact and is just looking for more trouble with the NCAA and public backlash. A year or two from now, if they want to explore a 13th game with Hawaii, they should FIRST consult with the NCAA to gain clearance rather than EMBARRASS themselves further with the NCAA coming down and saying “NO 13th GAME!”

  17. letsgetrealnow says: Jul 26, 2012 10:30 AM

    Now I know that O’Brien isn’t very bright. Who in their right mind would suggest going to Hawaii for a junket while the university is being ridiculed daily. And then you wonder why there are PSU haters out there!

  18. galvezben says: Jul 26, 2012 10:31 AM

    Well, so much for my admiration of the current coach for being in this situation. Seriously? 2 days into your sanctions and your FOCUS is on playing a pretend bowl game in Hawaii? I have a better idea coach: Buy the team a NCAA 13 Video game from EA Sports. You could have PSU play whoever you wanted. Bring in some punch and cookies for the boys and have a blast.
    No one outside of Crappy Valley wants to watch a 2-10 PSU team play a 6-6 Hawaii team at midnight CST.

  19. thegamecocker says: Jul 26, 2012 10:32 AM



  20. geo1113 says: Jul 26, 2012 10:37 AM

    Considering a 4-year death penalty was on the table, O’Brien should be happy that he gets to coach 12 games. Sometimes it is best to keep quiet and this is one of those times.

  21. dannythebisforbeast says: Jul 26, 2012 10:59 AM

    Yea they wanna play football what sickos,enables,apologists, cult members.

    What do you want from the guy he’s not the pedophile he just wants to coach his team and play football.

    All commenters who continue to just call names no matter what the subject. It’s tired and lame at this point.

  22. dannythebisforbeast says: Jul 26, 2012 11:02 AM

    No doesn’t mean No. In fact he probably figured this out do quick because it has been done multiple times by teams with bowl sanctions. he is following the rules it’s not a loophole.

  23. scoops1 says: Jul 26, 2012 11:02 AM

    If you don’t like what’s going on now at penn st, just turn around and pretend nothing is happening. Seem to have worked for some former penn st officials

  24. thegamecocker says: Jul 26, 2012 11:03 AM


    If you Don’t like it, then don’t read it! And don’t comment on it! PSU is radioactive and your new coach doesn’t get it yet! You’ll know when it’s tired and boring to John Q. Public. You don’t get to make that call!

  25. thraiderskin says: Jul 26, 2012 11:09 AM

    On one hand, he is barking up the wrong tree on this. On the other hand, if this was going to happen in the text four years, he (obrien) needs to put feelers out for it. Its a tough call, he is trying his best to give his guys something to play for, thats his job, he is a football coach. This is a for the players move and nothing more than a for the players move. Remember that the football team and this head coach had nothing to do with what happened.

  26. yeti47 says: Jul 26, 2012 11:10 AM

    So from what i read on the comment board…its is okay that USC and Alabama, who were Sanctioned by the NCAA and banned from bowl games to schedule Hawaii as a 13th game. But its not okay for Penn state to schedule Hawaii to as their 13 game because they are banned by the NCAA for bowl games. I can not comprehend people’s stupidity sometimes.

  27. thegamecocker says: Jul 26, 2012 11:16 AM


    Yes, it’s OK for USC and ‘Bama to go for the 13th game! Their “sin” was not child molestation in a major COVER-UP! The severity of the crime and we are talking about a CRIME, does come into play! Furthermore, if you read what I am preaching, all I’m saying is Obrien’s timing is WAY OFF and him referring to the 13th game as their BOWL GAME just isn’t going to fly with the PUBLIC! In two years or so, maybe THEN it is a good time to bring up a regular season game against Hawaii; NOT NOW! I don’t this position is unreasonable.

  28. youcantmakemepickausername says: Jul 26, 2012 11:17 AM

    I’m a PSU fan and i thought O’Brien was great in the “Mike and Mike” interview.

    That being said, when he made the comment about the possible game in Hawaii i kind of had a “are sure you wanna talk about this NOW” kind of moment.

    Yeah, tell your current players it’s a possibility, tell recruits it’s a possibility, and let the parties involved discuss it. But don’t throw it out there on a national radio show basically 48 hrs after the sanctions were announced.

  29. friarjack61 says: Jul 26, 2012 11:20 AM

    A 13th game in Hawaii, is like a bowl game. Years ago, I traveled with Northwestern to the Island, and had a wonderful time. Bowl Game ?? Going to Hawaii is a BG, in itself. PSU people should take every advantage of this offer, and enjoy the atmosphere, spend their bucks on having fun, and return with souvenirs from a great football, get-a-way weekend…………more fun than traveling to a site in the traditional 48.

  30. yeti47 says: Jul 26, 2012 11:22 AM


    Maybe Emmert should of told Penn State that they could not schedule Hawaii as well and had that in the consent decree, if he did not, fair game. He still could, he is Goddell Jr.

  31. thegamecocker says: Jul 26, 2012 11:52 AM


    You could be correct: maybe he should have put it in the decree. Perhaps it was an oversight, I don’t know. Or maybe it was a “set-up” on his part to determine if PSU Admin truly understands the culture change that needs to take place there. If Obrien is so insensitive to the situation, if he doesn’t see the backlash, even on this blog, than he too just doesn’t get it. Let me re-post what “youcantmakemepickausername” stated above:

    “I’m a PSU fan and i thought O’Brien was great in the “Mike and Mike” interview.

    That being said, when he made the comment about the possible game in Hawaii i kind of had a “are sure you wanna talk about this NOW” kind of moment.

    Yeah, tell your current players it’s a possibility, tell recruits it’s a possibility, and let the parties involved discuss it. But don’t throw it out there on a national radio show basically 48 hrs after the sanctions were announced.”

    He could not have stated it any better!

  32. deadeye says: Jul 26, 2012 12:20 PM

    I don’t blame O’Brien one bit. He’s trying to do the best he can with the hand he’s been dealt.

  33. yeti47 says: Jul 26, 2012 12:22 PM

    @the gamecocker
    No matter what he does this point, There is going to be backlash from 99 percent of the country. Everything is under such scrutiny that anything that he does is either going to be unmoral and not thinking about the kids, etc. I am sure it looks bad, but if it is the confides of the NCAA rule book and they follow it, how can the NCAA say no..its not like the NCAA never did anything outside of the rule….oh wait lol to add, if he starts discussions now maybe he can work it out for that 3rd and 4th year. Its being reported that O brien is going to change the Uniform effective for next year…how much backlash will he get…the same amount. Its a no win situation for him for the next 10 years…if he plays by the rules…why is it such a problem?

  34. bauman007 says: Jul 26, 2012 12:24 PM

    What is with some of these posts? Bill O’Brien and these kids did nothing wrong. Let them play a 13th game if they want. I’d accuse these opinions of the people posting of being from other big 10 school but it’s obvious most probably aren’t college educated.

  35. trojan33sc says: Jul 26, 2012 12:32 PM

    thegamecocker says: Jul 26, 2012 10:26 AM


    I love USC since I was a young kid. But I DETEST what Kiffin is doing regarding the PSU running back, Redd! Jim Mora is no better.

    As far as the 13th game is concerned, NOW is not the time for Obrien to be pitching for it. PSU is radioactive at the moment! He is not showing tact and is just looking for more trouble with the NCAA and public backlash. A year or two from now, if they want to explore a 13th game with Hawaii, they should FIRST consult with the NCAA to gain clearance rather than EMBARRASS themselves further with the NCAA coming down and saying “NO 13th GAME!”
    thegamecocker: Your logic here doesn’t make any sense. If the Univ. of Hawaii agrees to play Penn State then let them play. The Penn State football players/coaches should share as much of the blame as the normal non-athlete , academic Penn State student. In other words, NONE of them had anything to do with what the previous Penn State administration, coaches & Sandusky did to bastardize the program. Now IS the time for O’Brien to pitch a 13th game, he’s trying to salvage a situation that was not his creation. He was hired knowing that sanctions were coming and he’s legitimately acting now that the sanctions have been handed down. In other words, “He’s Doing His Job !” As far as Silas Redd, he’s a big boy and i’m happy he has an opportunity to follow USC’s legacy of Heisman trophy winners (If He So Chooses) in Mike Garrett, O.J. Simpson and my old teammate Marcus Allen. Regardless of his decision, his “draft cred” just went up with an inquiry by my Trojans. I wish him the best.

  36. thekatman says: Jul 26, 2012 12:34 PM

    USC was allowed to play Hawaii as its 13th game, becasue the game was already scheduled for the 2010 season.

    Alabama went this route when they were sanctioned and the NCAA disallowed it afterwards, once the loophole was usd by Saban.

    Coach O’Brian has a lot of gut checking to do with himself, his staff, coaches and the remainder fo the players who stick around. They should band together to play as a team for 12 games for the next 5 years and try not to think about how to scam the system. PSU’ reputaion is already in a vary bad place, sort of like 3 Mile Island. The devastation has been done. Now it’s time to clean up the mess.

    I still believe the NCAA should’ve shut the program down. The original penalty was a 4 year shut down of the program and the BOT cried foul and succumbed to Mark Emmertt’s pressure to take what he gae them. They did, now they’re trying to scam the system? Wow! Lessons not learned at the PSU BOT yet.

  37. thekatman says: Jul 26, 2012 12:34 PM

    Just unbelieveable, folks……

  38. psunick says: Jul 26, 2012 12:53 PM


    PSU topic is tired and boring? Not based on this message board, it ain’t!

  39. steeler1nation says: Jul 26, 2012 12:56 PM

    hey, isn’t Hawaii a very pro-gay/gay-friendly state? I think gay marriage is legal in Hawaii.
    Ok…nooooow I see what O’Brien is getting it…makes sense now. Those Ped Staters…always thinking.

  40. barbeaux says: Jul 26, 2012 12:58 PM


  41. steeler1nation says: Jul 26, 2012 12:59 PM

    what a stupid comment by a college coach — maybe you should get a clue, OBrien & check with your AD — that’s pretty simple, before making a moronic statement like that.
    And, NO!, PSU doesn’t deserve some sort of “reward”. They’re lucky to even be playing! They’re fortunate they didn’t get a 14-year death penalty. sheesh!

  42. thegamecocker says: Jul 26, 2012 1:00 PM


    I will job and BRIEFLY state my position:

    1. NOW is not to the time to discuss PSU playing a 13th game. Maybe after a year or so if they want to pursue it, they should bring it up FIRST with the NCAA and then if Hawaii wants to do it. It should not have been stated on a National Radio program.

    2. Positioning it as PSU’s BOWL GAME is just looking for trouble with the NCAA.

    3. When USC played Hawaii as a 13th game, their probation was based on Reggis Bush situation. NOT a COVERUP of CHILD MOLESTATION for 13 or 14 years. This is a felony situation; a major crime where some high-profile, previously respected admin professionals will most likely do time.

    Like I said, I love USC west. I hope I’ve made my point with you. And I hope you earned your degree and were able to see some playing time as Marcus Allen was great! But to conclude, Kiffin has a lot of growing up to do and the Trojans do not need Silas Redd. Y’all doing just fine even with the limited scholly’s. My goodness, nobody has more 4 and 5 star players than USC. Don’t be greedy.

  43. thegamecocker says: Jul 26, 2012 1:02 PM

    I meant I will “try” and BRIEFLY state my position….
    sorry about that. the Gamecocker

  44. dannythebisforbeast says: Jul 26, 2012 1:38 PM

    Theres no need to address it with the NCAA. If Hawaii chooses to play them
    It’s 100% legal.

    “their” sin was not child molestation. That was Sandusky. According to the public that administration is being punished for
    Their role in covering up molestation

    The current coach and team is well within the structure of the NCAA system to play Hawaii. End Of Story

    The punishment has been handed out. Coach 0 Brien looking to the future not the past.

  45. granadafan says: Jul 26, 2012 3:47 PM

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Penn St created a trophy and rings for players after their “bowl game”.

  46. cowboy88 says: Jul 26, 2012 4:24 PM

    The criticism of O’Brien is unwarranted. O’brien has been nothing but a class act since he came to PSU. He is simply trying to make lemonade with the lemons the NCAA and the former PSU administration left them with.

  47. ajarkoski says: Jul 26, 2012 6:43 PM

    Well said cowboy88. This is also about the players staying with the team and the new coaching staff and the fans. It is not a loophole, but a nice bone to throw to all of the innocent people left behind. This doesn’t affect the wins lost, Joepa’s reputation, lost scholarships, etc. And it is not a revenue generator as thers are no monies given out to the team for playing Hawaii.
    It will cost them money and it seems that this should be something acceptable to the NCAA.
    Of course, Hawaii has to be available and willing to play them.

  48. gfj7000 says: Jul 29, 2012 9:43 PM

    I commend Coach O’Brien to check-out some favorable options for this team – fret with mire, frustration, name-calling, image down-the-toilet – but look at it this way:
    USC was permitted to go to Hawaii – with an active (on-the-field) player being paid along with his parents and other under-the-table payments made to Reggie Bush.
    PSU – is being pulverized from being bowl admitted (among many other judgments) due to something OFF-THE-FIELD by NONE of the team members (only an extremely perverted ex-coach – using PSU showers) Why shouldn’t O’Brien check with the NCAA to see if it’s approved?
    Even now one of the Freeh report staffers have reported that the NCAA went too far – instead of using their own investigative system governing ‘ON-THE-FIELD’ type of violations, they chose ‘carte-blanche’ to use the Freeh report ONLY to make their ‘day-of-doom’ known to the public without any of their own research (for OFF-THE-FIELD non-player) on violations.

  49. hawaiiwarriors says: Oct 20, 2012 12:20 AM

    I say we welcome penn state to the islands, and let these kids play, these kids are not at fault for a monsters actions and this coach is trying to do everything in his power to keep his teams spirits high. I praise penn state’s coach for his actions and trying to bring a once proud program back from the brink of destruction fron the sanction apposed on them, as a Hawaii Warrior Fan I say Aloha and i look forward to the results of both UH and PSU can work out with eachother…Aloha.

  50. TD McGann says: Nov 7, 2012 8:06 AM

    Perhaps O’Brien was an altar boy. Perhaps Joyner was an altar boy. Perhaps Kenneth Frazier was/is a warlock and Karen was/is a witch. Perhaps, Jerry Sandusky is the only fag/pedophile in Happy Valley. Perhaps Gov. Rendell was not really a bosom pal of notorious “alleged” pedophile Ed Savitz. Perhaps Gov. Tom Corbett and Attorney Gen. Linda Kelly have nothing to hide. Perhaps Obama never had an affair Reggie Love or Larry Sinclair.

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