A report this morning from college football’s best sources, the still unemployed Brett McMurphy:
Sources: LSU, Florida State agree to 2-game neutral site series. LSU & FSU agree to open 2022 season in New Orleans & 2023 in Orlando— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) August 9, 2018
It is hard to put together the words to properly describe just how disappointing this news is. The scourge of the neutral site home-and-home continues to destroy the very fabric of college football as programs go for the easy money grab and move the sport’s biggest games away from it’s biggest stages. It is disgusting how Labor Day weekend has now become a mass of pseudo-bowl games in lifeless NFL stadiums, a practice so bloated and unstoppable that this year Atlanta will host 3 of them in the same weekend. LSU is certainly no stranger to this process, as the Tigers once again fly off to Jerrah’s Walmart parking lot to face Miami this year.
More infuriating than this shame, however, is the contradictory nature of LSU’s athletic department, where at this point it seems the left hand (scheduling) doesn’t know the struggles of the right hand (ticket sales). Long gone are the days when LSU could just turn on the lights and sell out Death Valley, and season tickets in particular have taken enough of a decline that the ticket office has had to create a myriad of “Flex-Plans” and other ticket packages to find any way to move the stock sitting on their shelves. Just yesterday, there was reporting in the Advocate about all of these problems, and signs that those in charge of ticketing are taking as many steps as they can to address them.
While I commend their efforts, their methods continue to shine a light on just what a bad deal owning season tickets has become for LSU fans. How can someone, such as myself, justify the expense of a season ticket and the required “donation” that must be made to TAF just for the right to make that purchase, when someone sitting next to me can buy the same 7 home game ticket for hundreds less? All so I can enjoy the same seat for the lifeless out-of-conference home slate of Southeastern and Rice? You feel so scammed and unappreciated as a season ticket holder that I’ve become convinced LSU would move SEC conference games to Houston or Dallas if it were possible. Our basketball writer Marques describes the problem in painful detail.
If Texas, our next scheduled OOC Power 5, actually does visit Tiger Stadium in 2020, here will be the list of Power 5 teams to play in Tiger Stadium between the ten season span of 2011-2020:— with a q (@marq113) August 9, 2018
...yet LSU is PERPLEXED at all of the non-renewals pic.twitter.com/loXRT0M3wJ
It would be wrong of me not to mention that LSU does have an actual, genuine home-and-home series with Texas starting next season, and somehow the long scheduled trip to UCLA is still on the books (as long as it doesn’t get canceled or moved off to the far future. Remember that home-and-home with Oklahoma in 2020 that was scheduled for nearly a decade, then pushed off to, currently, 2027?) But something like this proposed series with FSU is an even bigger insult. New Orleans? Are you kidding me? The Superdome is better than most NFL venues, I’ll grant you, but to voluntarily move an LSU home game 90 minutes down the road for no other reason than a cash payout is just another slap in the face for season ticket holders, who currently have the grand home slate of Mountain West powerhouse New Mexico to look forward to in 2022 as reward for their hundreds of dollars in TAF “donations.”
(And don’t anyone from LSU dare stand in front of a dais and spout off how it would be “good for recruiting to play a game in New Orleans” while at the same time refusing to play Tulane for the past decade)
2022 is far off enough that it’s foolish to speculate what either of these programs will look like by the time this game kicks off, but you could easily envision what the pageantry of an actual home-and-home between these two programs would produce. Two games in front of crowds known nationwide for their abilities to affect the games in front of them, two storied programs in the Southeast who have a history of great games against each other.
But there will be no grand showdown in Death Valley, no battle against the unconquered in Doak Campbell. Instead we get tourist packages for Bourbon Street and Disney World.