Penn State, UCF Reportedly Reach Deal To Open '14 Football Season In Dublin
The Univ. of Central Florida has "finalized an agreement to play Penn State in Ireland" next year, and organizers of the football game "will make an official announcement ... on Sunday," according to a source cited by Paul Tenorio of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. The game will be played at Dublin's Croke Park, which "has a capacity of 82,300 and is home of the Gaelic Games." UCF officials traveled to Dublin in May "to meet with organizers and finalize the deal." They believe the game will "create buzz both inside the UCF community and nationally" (ORLANDOSENTINEL.com, 7/9). In Pittsburgh, Mark Dent noted the game is "seen as an alternative to a bowl for Penn State," which is not eligible for postseason games the next three years. The possibility of PSU playing in Ireland "was one of the foremost topics on the Penn State coaches caravan in May." Both coaches, UCF's George O'Leary and PSU's Bill O'Brien, "have Irish heritage" (POST-GAZETTE.com, 7/9).
MORE TO COME? In Ireland, Kelly & Blake cited sources as saying that a "'five-year deal' was being put in place" to host other college football games. Those games would be held in '16 and '18 with Notre Dame and Alabama "thought to be amongst those interested in playing here." Notre Dame played Navy in Dublin's Aviva Stadium last year. Croke Park has been mentioned as a possible site for a new bowl game, but it is believed the venue is "more likely to attract regular season games than end-of-season showcases" (THESCORE.ie, 7/9).