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I was excited to hear LSU will open the 2010 football season against North Carolina in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta.
Nick Saban has made it clear the past couple of years that he loves playing against a solid opponent in Atlanta and that it does help recruiting.
The game will mark the seventh meeting between the two schools, but it's been nearly 25 years since the Tigers and Tar Heels have played in football. The teams last met in 1986 when LSU posted a 30-3 win over North Carolina in Tiger Stadium. LSU leads the overall series with North Carolina, 5-1.
I know my buddy Jim Brown, a former star athlete at UNC, has to love this matchup. I imagine ol' Jim will have front row seats for this one.
If not, I don't think he will have travel finding a seat for a couple of other games.
In addition to the North Carolina contest, LSU rounded out its 2010 schedule by adding McNeese State to the slate. The Tigers will face the Cowboys in Tiger Stadium on Oct. 16 of next year.
LSU also filled a void in its 2011 schedule by adding Northwestern State. The Tigers will host the Demons in Tiger Stadium on Sept. 10, 2011. The Demons are coached by former LSU assistant Bradley Dale Peveto.
Talk about popping the ol' balloon in a hurry.
You can forget national exposure for television those weeks. That's become a big part of LSU's important recruiting across the nation.
I have the utmost respect for McNeese State and Northwestern, but I don't see LSU gaining anything from scheduling these two teams.
It's more or less an exhibition game. Unless, heaven forbid, the Tigers lose to one of those two and then it's fold the tents time. Actually, if they don't win by more than three touchdowns it was a horrible outing.
The thing that worries me the most is that LSU could lose a key player from a cheap shot from a kid who thought he should have been recruited by LSU. Or another kid just trying to make an impression or a youngster who is so hyped up of the game he cannot control his emotions and just think what it would be like if I put an LSU player out of the game.
Sure, you expect the starters to play a quarter and make room for reserves. But if your starters come out looking as bad as Steven Seagal in a movie without fighting, you're going to find yourself in a longer-than-should-be, embarrassing situation.
I have no problem playing Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Lafayette or Louisiana-Monroe, but I just don't see anything positive coming from running all over McNeese or Northwestern.
Obviously, LSU had trouble getting fired-up for ULL Saturday night. So what makes you think they will really be focused for McNeese or Northwestern?
And if I was a fan of those teams and not too caught up in the money part of it, I would worry about the health of my time following this game.
I loved it when McNeese beat Appalachian State in their house earlier this season. I take just as much pride in that as LSU beating an SEC opponent.
And, no, I don't think LSU should load up against good teams each and every week. You do need a breather when you have to take on the likes of Florida, Ole Miss, Arkansas, Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee year in and year out.
But you don't have to schedule a McNeese or Northwestern. Stick with the three bigger schools in the state and throw in someone like Arkansas State, Middle Tennessee or North Texas.
But at least next year's schedule is better than this year's.
After North Carolina, LSU goes to Vanderbilt, hosts Mississippi State and then welcomes West Virginia to Baton Rouge.
Tennessee and Florida is followed by McNeese and then Auburn, Alabama, Southern Miss (applause for that one), Ole Miss and Arkansas.
Scheduling is a tricky business nowadays and money has certainly become a bigger equation.
I'm all for supporting the smaller schools in the state. LSU is not doing that by making a sacrificial lamb out of them.
McNeese and Northwestern will have nice paydays out of these contests. Let's just hope it doesn't cost LSU in the long run.