Penn State adds Central Florida, drops UVA

Penn State might not be able to go to a bowl game for three more years, but that doesn’t seem to be standing in the way of the Nittany Lions having some fun in the sun.

The Nittany Lions will play a two-year, home-and-home series against Central Florida in 2013 and 2014, a UCF source told the Orlando Sentinel.

Penn State sports information director Jeff Nelson didn’t confirm or deny the report but did say he expected to release a schedule update “early next week.”

According to the report, Penn State will host Central Florida instead of Virginia on Sept. 14 – the Charlottesville Daily Progress also reported on Friday afternoon that the Lions were dropping Virginia.

The Lions then would travel to Orlando in 2014. Penn State had an open date on Sept. 20.

The brief series would make sense from multiple standpoints. Since the NCAA levied its bowl ban against the Lions, Coach Bill O’Brien has talked about picking up game in a warm-weather area. Also, he was an assistant coach at Georgia Tech for current UCF coach George O’Leary.

The game might also help Penn State build on recruiting inroads it made into the Deep South this year – the Nittany Lions’ 12-player Class of 2013 recruiting haul includes prospects from Florida, Alabama and Georgia, hotbeds where Penn State seldom ventured before.

Penn State opens the 2013 slate by taking on Syracuse at the Meadowlands on Aug. 31. That will be followed by a home game against Eastern Michigan before the Lions host UCF before Kent State comes to Beaver Stadium and the Big Ten schedule begins. Michigan, Illinois, Purdue and Nebraska play at Penn State next season, with games at Indiana, Ohio State, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Penn State’s 2014 schedule also includes home games with Temple, Akron, Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio State and Wisconsin, as well as trips to Rutgers, Nebraska, Michigan, Purdue and Illinois.