LSU finalized its 2012 non-conference football schedule Wednesday when the school announced that Towson will plug the final home in the slate.
That news isn't likely to create much of a ripple in the fan base since the Towson Tigers are a Football Championship Sub-Division opponent.
Towson, which will receive $500,000 to come to Baton Rouge, was 1-10 last season and has won only nine games since 2007. The Tigers' last winning season was 2006 when they were 7-4.
But Towson fit nicely into a schedule that features three other non-conference home games in September, as well as the SEC opener.
LSU Associate Athletic Director Verge Ausberry said he had that SEC game and the one the week after the Towson game in mind when he agreed to contract terms with Maryland-based team from the Colonial Athletic Association.
"That game fit real well with something new that is being proposed with the SEC schedule," Ausberry said. "We moved the Washington game to Sept. 8 because we didn't want that one to fall between two very tough SEC games, which is what it looks like we're going to have."
Ausberry declined to identify which two league teams are tentatively sandwiched around the Towson game because the SEC hasn't released information on the revamped format. Ausberry called the two foes "SEC juggernauts " and said both games will likely be on the road. SEC officials are expected to reveal the new schedule format later this month.
Towson wasn't Ausberry's first choice, but turned out to be the most viable option.
LSU tried to schedule a game with James Madison, a perennial FCS power from the same conference as Towson, but the Dukes' schedule was full. Likewise, Ausberry checked about a matchup with McNeese State – the Tigers beat the Cowboys 32-10 last season – but that didn't work out either.
"Towson had reached out to us and kept checking and when some other things didn't work out, we decided that was the best option for us," Ausberry said.
"We're going to have a new quarterback and a young offensive line next season, so we're going to have some growing pains and we needed a game like this between two very tough SEC games."
The Towson game gives LSU eight home games next season, compared to only six this season, which is the fewest regularly scheduled home games since 1998. The Tigers also played six at home in 2005 when the schedule was shuffled due to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
That wasn't part of Ausberry's thought process, but it won't hurt the program's and athletic department's coffers to have an extra game at Tiger Stadium.
LSU will have seven home games in 2013, with non-league foes TCU, UAB and Furman coming to Baton Rouge and a road game against Tulane in the Superdome.
"We always want to have seven or eight home games," Ausberry said. "This year is a rarity, but, no we didn't look to schedule eight to make up for that."
With the 2012 and '13 slates finalized, Ausberry can turn his attention to the 2014 schedule.
The Tigers currently have a road game set at TCU in early September that season, with home games slated vs. Georgia Southern and New Mexico State. That means LSU will likely bring in a foe for the final spot.
Beyond that, Ausberry said he has continued to set up a game in Houston. Last week, University of Houston coach Kevin Sumlin said he'd welcome the chance to play the Tigers in Reliant Stadium, the 71,500-seat home of the Houston Texans if LSU was willing to play home-and-home instead a two-for-one exchange.
"Eventually we do want to play a game in Houston, but I don't know if the opponent would be the University of Houston," Ausberry said. "It could be a home-and-home with somebody where we played here or in New Orleans or it could be a neutral-site one-game deal."
LSU future non-conference opponents
North Texas, Washington, Idaho, Towson
TCU, UAB, Furman, at Tulane
At TCU, Georgia Southern, New Mexico State
Jacksonville State, Arizona State, Kent State
Southern Miss, at Arizona State, South Alabama, Western Kentucky
Towson completes LSU's 2012 slate
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