Penn State Head Coach Bill O'Brien Eyes Game In Ireland

Barry Cronin

How about it, BC?

As a result of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, the NCAA has banned Penn State football from participating in college football's postseason for the next three seasons. That's not stopping Nittany Lions head coach Bill O'Brien from scheduling attractive games and matchups as a reward for current and prospective players. O'Brien told the Patriot-News' Bob Flounders that he's looking into becoming the next college football team to play on the Emerald Isle.

"We are definitely looking into playing in Ireland, no question about it,'' O'Brien said.

"We're working on an opponent and we're working with the Big Ten on that. So that's something that's definitely in the works.''

In 2012, Notre Dame and Navy kicked off the season at Aviva Stadium in the Emerald Isle Classic. This wasn't the first college football game played in Ireland. No, it was Boston College and Army that played in the first ever college football game in Ireland during the 1988 season, with the 2-7 Eagles pulling the "home" 38-24 upset over the 8-1 Black Knights.

The strangest part of the story? The Boston College faithful actually traveled well for that game.

"An estimated 7,000 fans came from the Boston area, thanks to enterprising package-tour agents. The Irish-American presence was highlighted by Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who met with Prime Minister Charles Haughey and was generally treated like royalty, right down to newspaper accounts detailing what he ate at a ceremonial dinner on Thursday."

[snip]

The Irish Government has estimated that the game brought nearly $30 million in spending to the local economy. Hotel rooms in Dublin and other major cities were booked solid weeks in advance. In Dublin, restaurant tables were scarce and stores remained open a couple of hours later than usual to accommodate the American shoppers."

I can think of an actual Irish Catholic school that could oblige the Nittany Lions if they want a game in Ireland over the next three seasons. I'd even be willing to temporary cease banging the "we need 7 home football game" drum if a game like this were to be worked out. Think about it, Brad?

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