Sports

With Badgers on deck in Penn State finale, Nittany Lions, O'Brien focus on future

  • Penn State NCAA college football coach Bill O'Brien speaks during a press conference in State College, Pa., Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013. Penn State plays at No. 14 Wisconsin on Saturday.  (AP Photo/Centre Daily Times, Nabil k. Mark ) MANDATORY CREDIT; MAGS OUT

    Penn State NCAA college football coach Bill O'Brien speaks during a press conference in State College, Pa., Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013. Penn State plays at No. 14 Wisconsin on Saturday. (AP Photo/Centre Daily Times, Nabil k. Mark ) MANDATORY CREDIT; MAGS OUT  (The Associated Press)

  • Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg (14) stands on the sidelines next to Penn State head coach Bill O' Brien during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game against Nebraska  in State College, Pa., Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

    Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg (14) stands on the sidelines next to Penn State head coach Bill O' Brien during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game against Nebraska in State College, Pa., Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)  (The Associated Press)

  • Penn State tight end Jesse James (18) celebrates with teammate Eugene Lewis (7) after taking a pass from Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg (14) for a touchdown during fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa., Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

    Penn State tight end Jesse James (18) celebrates with teammate Eugene Lewis (7) after taking a pass from Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg (14) for a touchdown during fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa., Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)  (The Associated Press)

Penn State's game at Wisconsin on Saturday will end one season and begin another.

Coach Bill O'Brien's focus is usually squarely on the upcoming game, but his overall outlook about the Nittany Lions' trip to Madison to face the 14th-ranked Badgers (9-2, 6-1 Big Ten) has widened.

"The reason why we're focused on Wisconsin has a little bit to do with the future," O'Brien said. "We have another chance to send these seniors out on a winning note, and that's really important, but it's also a chance for our younger players who are coming back next year to go out there against a very good football team and play well.

"It's an important football game and we're focused on that, but I feel really good about where the program's at."

Penn State (6-5, 3-4) cannot go to a bowl game, but that will again give time for O'Brien to focus on recruiting, like last offseason.