Any thought that scheduling outside of the conference is becoming less critical for SEC teams was put to rest Monday during an interview TSD publisher Ben Love conducted with Verge Ausberry, LSU Senior Associate Athletic Director.
"It's more important (now)," Ausberry told Love on "Bumper to Bumper Sports" on 103.7 FM (KLWB) in Lafayette.
"You see what happened this year with the teams who made it to the final four. You have to play somebody. Our friends to the west of us, Baylor, got caught with not scheduling up. You have to schedule. You have to play a quality opponent every year from the big five conferences if you're going to get to that level."
Ausberry, a former Tiger defender now in charge of putting together the program's football schedules, also theorized a day will soon come when teams like LSU will regularly have two Power Five conference opponents a season on its non-conference slate.
"I can see that coming. Let me tell you why. I see it coming because of the costs of these games," continued Ausberry. "I think all the mid-majors and the teams that aren't part of the big five right now, it's becoming a budget issue, especially with the cost of attendance and how much you have to do for the young men and women you bring on your campus now. It's the cost of doing business."
The Bayou Bengals' football scheduling czar explained the decision to enter a home-and-home with Syracuse, too. LSU will travel to the Carrier Dome for the first leg this fall, and recruiting was part of the thought process, as Ausberry detailed.
"Just the right time and the right package. It's about getting in different areas in the country," said Ausberry. "This weekend we had the No. 1 defensive lineman in the country in Baton Rouge, Louisiana (for a recruiting camp). He's from New Jersey. That gives us another area where we hadn't been much. We have a defensive lineman (Tashawn Bower) on our team right now from that area.
"So we'll do a little recruiting in New Jersey. But it's just something new for our fan base, too. I like to do that. I like to shake it up a little bit, find places where our fans hadn't been in a long time or ever."
Click on the link below for the full audio interview, which also includes Ausberry's take on future LSU opponents such as Texas, UCLA, Arizona State, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, BYU and Miami.
Ausberry: Scheduling up paramount post-BCS
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