Tech Adds New WAC Opponent, Football Games

It's been a busy few days for Louisiana Tech fans. First, Seattle was added to the WAC. The Redhawks give the league nine total teams. Also this week, a few teams were added to the Louisiana Tech football schedule. Most notable was a two game series with Louisiana-Lafayette.

Seattle joins Denver as the second non-football member of the WAC. The Redhawks have plenty of potential with a big arena, a big market, and a lot of basketball history. It appears that the WAC's criteria for a non-football school places a lot of importance on being in a big city. this should help with exposure and also travel.

It's also very important to add a team to the football side of things by next summer for WAC Commissioner Karl Benson. Getting to eight football teams would satisfy things with the BCS, ease scheduling a little for WAC schools, and help try to build up numbers after losing four football teams.

Having that eighth football team is important to Louisiana Tech. Having only six conference games makes it difficult to fill the remainder of the schedule.

This point was brought out when Northwestern State and Louisiana-Lafayette were added to the 2014 schedule. With UNLV, Houston, and Southern Mississippi already lined up, Tech now has eleven games. Tech Athletic Director Bruce Van De Velde said yesterday that a road game against a team from the BCS will likely be added to make it twelve games. He said the goal for Tech is to have one or two road games against BCS teams to help balance the budget, with two being the norm. This is actually good news for Tech fans, who had to endure three or four such games in years past.

If the WAC adds that 8th team, something has to give. Maybe the UNLV game or the USM game will get moved around. Since that is three years away, I think we will cross that bridge in a year or two.

What is important is Louisiana Tech is playing a team in ULL that they have played more than anyone. It creates local interest and it provides Louisiana Tech Head Coach Sonny Dykes a chance to showcase his team in a part of the State that he recruits.

Northwestern State was also added to the 2014 schedule. Another long time rival, the Demons are different than most FCS teams that come to Ruston. They have a long history with playing Tech and they are not far away. It should make for a well attended game.

Keeping in line with playing one or two BCS teams a year, Tech added a road game to Kansas in 2013. The Bulldogs play at Illinois and at Virginia in 2012. These games are good to schedule for Tech. They have good payouts, which is important to a smaller budget team like Tech. The key is, they are not perenial top 15 teams like Auburn or LSU, so the Bulldogs will have a better chance to be competitive in a hostile environment.

With Boise State, Nevada, Fresno State, and Hawaii all leaving the conference, Louisiana Tech has a chance to rise to the top of the new-look league. Adding regional home and home games against Houston, Rice, USM, and ULL gives Coach Dykes a chance to play at home more, play inside his recruiting area a little more, and not have to travel out west quite so much.

The schedules for 2012, 2013, and 2014 really are setting up nicely for Bulldog fans. With UTSA and Texas State joing the WAC, Tech fans will now have the opportunity to travel to games in San Antonio and San Marcos, as well as non-conference games in Houston (three times), Hattiesburg, Lafayette, and in future years; Starkville and Fayetteville.

These schedules have games fans can drive to. The players won't have to endure as many long trips out west, especially to Hawaii. Old rivalries will be renewed. The next few years should be really exciting for Bulldog fans.

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