Skip to content

Bill O’Brien wants to take Penn State overseas

Ohio State v Penn State Getty Images

Since Penn State will not be playing in the postseason in the next four years thanks to NCAA sanctions, Nittany Lions coach Bill O’Brien has been trying to come up with creative ways to give his team something to look forward to during bowl season. In July, and shortly after NCAA president Mark Emmert levied the sanctions against PSU, O’Brien suggested that perhaps Penn State could play a 13th game against Hawaii. However, that idea probably would have a difficult time coming to fruition.

“It’s normally a part of the penalties in a major infractions case when a postseason ban is issued,” John Infante of the Bylaw Blog told CFT on whether the NCAA would allow that game to occur. “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.”

On his Thursday radio show, O’Brien came forward with another idea: playing a regular season game overseas. “Hopefully we can do something in the near future,” O’Brien said.

Like the Hawaii game, this is nothing more than a conversation starter right now. There are two basic hurdles Penn State would have to overcome for this to happen. First is scheduling. Here are the teams the Nittany Lions have on future nonconference slates:

08/31 – Syracuse (already a neutral site game in East Rutherford, NJ)
09/07 – Eastern Michigan
09/14 – Virginia
09/21 – Kent State

08/30 – Temple
09/06 – Akron
09/13 – at Rutgers
09/20 – UMass

09/05 – at Temple
09/12 – Buffalo
09/19 – Rutgers

The 2013 nonconference schedule is included simply because it falls under the four-year postseason ban, but realistically, there’s little to no chance of anything happening as soon as next year. That currently leaves two road games, at Rutgers in 2014 and at Temple in 2015, as possible target games. As Kevin McGuire of The Examiner points out, Penn State would be reluctant to give up a home game for a trip overseas. Convincing Rutgers or Temple to do the same might be a tough sell as well. The common denominator is that the payout needs to be worth the trip, wherever it is.

And then there’s the whole NCAA issue. Infante explains on his blog that going overseas to play a game by itself is fine, but taking a foreign tour, which would in essence act as a bowl trip and include additional practice time, could be more complicated. “Penn State would need clarification on whether the fact that is has no postseason opportunities through 2015 prevents it forfeiting those postseason opportunities to go on a foreign tour,” Infante writes.

O’Brien is being creative. He inherited a tough situation and he’s trying to make the best of it. Everything is a selling point for a coach. If there’s no bowl game, looking at an alternative gives him a talking point when he’s on recruiting trips. Make no mistake, an overseas game will be difficult to pull off, but there’s nothing in Penn State’s consent decree that says the program can’t at least look into it.

Permalink 19 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Big Ten Conference, Penn State Nittany Lions, Rumor Mill, Top Posts
19 Responses to “Bill O’Brien wants to take Penn State overseas”
  1. zemaniak says: Nov 2, 2012 2:03 PM

    Overseas? Really?
    I could make a easy cheap joke, but seriously, after alll that’s happened, this guy really thinks this is the ideal time to take his brand and promote it outside the US?
    Come on, man…

  2. jarvisredwine12 says: Nov 2, 2012 2:18 PM

    Pretty sure the penalties that are in place are to punish past behavior of Penn State and their program. It’s true that those behaviors have nothing to do with the current coach and players, but the penalties are there regardless. If you stay, then you have to be prepared to deal with the situation, not find ways around it. BOB seems to be a good coach, but that’s just the situation he’s been dealt, right or wrong.

  3. onceuponatimeinsports says: Nov 2, 2012 2:22 PM

    I’m all for him taking the team overseas, but does he have to bring them back!?

  4. tommy57 says: Nov 2, 2012 2:25 PM

    I understand Bill’s thinking and I support his initiative to move forward, but I’m not sure playing a college game overseas is part of a constructive rebuilding plan.

    Notre Dame games are big in Ireland, for obvious reasons, but PSU has no real attachment to any European or Asian country.

    It wouldn’t be like an NFL game in London. It wouldn’t be a sell-out (unless they play Notre Dame in Dublin).

  5. brutusbuckeye2011 says: Nov 2, 2012 2:28 PM

    Temple might be the best bet. Their home games don’t draw many fans so it isn’t like they would lose money. If they played the game in Tel Aviv the locals might assume Temple is a Jewish school (it’s not) and come out and root for them.

  6. zemaniak says: Nov 2, 2012 2:34 PM

    Onceuponatime: that was the joke i was talking about

  7. dhlions says: Nov 2, 2012 2:52 PM

    This, to me, is in a way reflective of BOB’s play calling on the field. There isn’t a whole lot to lose here so he might as well get a little creative.

  8. dutchman1350 says: Nov 2, 2012 2:53 PM

    Maybe they can play a SEC team in Amsterdam, since weed and prostitution are legal.

  9. lbijake says: Nov 2, 2012 5:24 PM

    @dutchman, great idea. I’ll sponsor a plane charter.

  10. trojanwarrior007 says: Nov 2, 2012 9:36 PM

    I hear Thailand’s pedophilia laws are pretty lax.

  11. dietrich43 says: Nov 2, 2012 10:11 PM

    Sandusky is now wishing JoePa thought of taking the team to Thighland.

  12. dannythebisforbeast says: Nov 3, 2012 6:08 AM

    Trojanwarrior you heard that, or distinctly remember from past discreet trips there?

  13. norcalirish says: Nov 3, 2012 8:20 AM

    Open note to psu: you’re not Notre Dame. We are.

  14. omniusprime says: Nov 3, 2012 8:56 AM

    Bill O’Brien is a dirtbag of the first order, just another jerk who wants to skirt the well deserved penalties levied by the NCAA. The NCAA should have given this corrupt football program the death penalty and Billo the Jerk proves they deserved such a drastic action.

    I’d say let Pedophile State go play games in Timbuktu, or better yet Mogadishu. They had better be ready to sacrifice one of their home games, not expect some other school to sacrifice one of their own.

    Pedophile State proves yet again that it is the scum of humanity!

  15. stateofhonor says: Nov 3, 2012 11:47 AM

    Note to the world:
    Penn State is not one thing. We are…not JUST football, not just a scandal, not just 4-5 men who, at this point, seem to have singlehandedly tarnished the otherwise good name of a University.
    We are…many things, for better and sometimes for worse. But we take them together because like our Coach is trying to exemplify, we will never stop fighting to be better. We will rebuild our name. And that process can only be done through maintaining a collective indomitable spirit of perseverance and attaining success with Honor in all that we do.
    Yes, that means in football and our other great sports but much more importantly in finding a cure for cancer and in helping the children and their families who are affected by the disease, by playing a larger role in creating awareness for and putting an end to child abuse of all kinds, and by showing the world that we have always meant it when we say in our alma mater, “May no act of ours bring shame”.
    I am a Penn Stater and I know and believe, that we will learn from our Universities mistakes, because they will help to make us stronger and thus we will help make this world a better place. We will rise up from these trying times to be a better Penn State. We Are…

  16. gripless says: Nov 3, 2012 11:50 AM


    We’ll ride the storm out and be Penn State. Glad to see your program is finally playing up to the typical overhype.

    What Penn State lost in players they are gaining in coaching. Obrien has made his fair share of first year mistakes but Penn State will come back strong, as early as next year despite the haters and NCAA

  17. tommy57 says: Nov 3, 2012 11:53 AM


    …PENN STATE!!!

  18. normtide says: Nov 3, 2012 12:41 PM

    I said before, I like this coach to do the job Penn state needs done. This idea may not pan out, but this coach will do any and everything to make the long trip back for PSU.

  19. dmvtransplant says: Nov 4, 2012 1:48 AM

    Simple play a non-conference game in Canada or Mexico. Despite what some people think Canadians do like football, hell have you seen the crowds when the NFL goes up north? Playing Arizona or New Mexico south of the border in Mexico City would be fun.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!