With one glance at LSU’s 2010 football schedule, the date of October 30 stands out. For now, the opponent is to be determined.
Yet, in a few weeks time, the game should be filled – with the possibility of shaking up the Tigers’ opener in the process.
There has been rampant speculation that LSU will travel to Atlanta for the 2010 Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game, which would pit them against North Carolina.
Yet, with the pen not having hit the paper, Ausberry said that the possibilities are not restricted to the Peach State.
“We are looking down the road at games in Dallas, Houston and Atlanta,” he said. “We want to get involved in non-traditional games that are played at neutral sites, and those three cities are both big recruiting and fan bases for LSU.”
Keeping the LSU name in the forefront of homes across the country, Ausberry said, is priority number one.
“The games at Washington (Sep. 5, 2009) and West Virginia (Sep. 25, 2010) are chances to expand our brand,” he said. “We want to be a national brand, and that is what it takes. When you look at schools that sell their licensing rights the most, you see Ohio State, Michigan, Texas, Florida and North Carolina. We want to be in that top five.”
The mission headed forward is evident.
“We would like to have a game like Washington every year, and I think our schedule is headed in that direction,” he added. “LSU needs that premier market game outside the conference. We have won the two national championships, but we can’t rest on those laurels. That is not how you become a national power.”
With the current state of the economy, however, money issues loom like a dark cloud.
“The budget cuts have affected us in a big way, and it is very serious,” Ausberry said. “We are going to have to play a I-AA school every year, because that helps us cover costs. Other schools won’t buy games for a million-plus, because they have budget cuts as well and simply can’t pay that.
“We also have to support the University in different areas by giving them more money,” he added. “When they go up on fees and dorm costs, it hurts us. We have over 500 student athletes, and when we now pay in the seven million dollar range for costs, that number will jump to above eight million.”
Without a Football Championship Subdivision team on the schedule for 2010, Ausberry confirmed that one will likely drop into the Oct. 30 slot.
With plans of having seven home games on the schedule, the Tigers would have to shuffle a non-conference game already in place in order to fit in a neutral site contest.
LSU is currently set for three non-conference bouts: Tulane on Sept. 4 in New Orleans, West Virginia on Sept. 25 in Baton Rouge and Southern Miss on Nov. 13 in Baton Rouge.
Of the three, the most likely to be moved would be Tulane – the lone game away from Tiger Stadium. Currently, the Tigers are set to travel to New Orleans to face the Green Wave in both 2010 and 2011.
While the answer to the shake up is unknown, the coming weeks should provide the answer.
“I think we are headed in the right direction,” Ausberry said. “At the end of the day, we want what is best for LSU. When we look at scheduling, we feel that if we can win the SEC and play in the championship game, we should compete for a national title. That is the approach.”