Last night, The Times-Picayune reported that LSU was searching for a suitable BCS conference opponent to play at Tiger Stadium on September 12, 2015. The problem with that? Arizona State is already scheduled to play them in Baton Rouge that day, and in Tempe in 2016.
Now, all of that is in danger of being postponed for a few years.
[Senior associate athletic director Verge] Ausberry said he doesn't want to play Arizona State and Wisconsin in 2016. So, LSU is pushing back the Arizona State home-and-home to later years and bringing in another 2015 foe.
ASU is no stranger to these maneuvers, with scheduled games against BYU, Notre Dame and San Jose State all falling off the docket in recent (and in future) years. The state of college football is partially to blame for this, as schedule strength is more important than ever -- the College Football Playoff puts a premium on a tough schedule that yields the highest possible win total.
No matter the reason for pushing back the Arizona State series, one thing's for certain: LSU and ASU have a positive history and we should remain optimistic that these games will indeed take place, just further out into the future than we'd like.
More on that positive history:
Eight years ago, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in New Orleans, just 12 days before ASU was scheduled to play LSU in Baton Rouge. With the Louisiana State campus serving as a triage center and a refuge site for victims of the catastrophic storm, it was impossible for a football game to take place as scheduled.
In order to make the game a reality, Arizona State stepped up to the plate and agreed to host the game at Sun Devil Stadium. They made numerous concessions, including an SEC officiating crew and allowing ESPN the right to broadcast the game despite the lack of a Pac-10 television deal.
So the deal was struck: the LSU Tigers would have a ceremonial home game in Tempe that would serve as a powerful fundraiser in a time of need.
Over 63,000 people attended the event, despite the fact that there was a very limited timeframe to promote and sell tickets. All loge tickets were $50, while every other seat in the house was priced at $30. The Arizona State community came together as one to support their fellow Americans during a horrible tragedy.
According to The State Press article from 2005, donations from the game went to the Bush-Clinton Hurricane Relief Fund and the Hurricane Student Relief Fund. In the end, ASU and LSU raised and donated over a million dollars to these causes.
The goodwill left an impression on LSU, who agreed to reschedule their home-and-home to 2015 and 2016.
"We are glad we were able to work out acceptable dates for both schools to meet in the future," said Dan Radakovich, LSU associate athletics director, who is responsible for football scheduling. "The people at Arizona State were great friends and wonderful hosts during a difficult time for LSU [in 2005], and we wanted to keep this relationship intact."
Nowadays, Radakovich is the athletic director at Clemson, and the relationship between LSU and ASU is potentially being put on hold.
The reasons for the decision make sense in a vacuum, but fans of Arizona State deserve the opportunity to visit Baton Rouge and watch their Sun Devils play the Tigers as soon as possible. The ASU athletic department's efforts eight years ago were admirable and we should still expect LSU to fulfill the promise of a home-and-home to the Sun Devil Nation in the coming years.