Mandel’s got a piece up today on the upcoming LSU-Appalachian State game.
Mandel notes that quite a few D-1 schools have dodged the offer to play ASU, including the North Avenue Trade School.
Over the past few months, Appalachian State associate athletic director Jay Sutton got turned down by one BCS-conference school after another in his quest for a big-conference opponent (the Boone, N.C., school has faced at least one upper-division foe every year since 1982). “We’d come back with, ‘However much you’re paying, we’ll take less,’ ” said Sutton. “That didn’t work either.”
Florida State, North Carolina and Georgia Tech all declined, according to Sutton…
Gee, it’s not like Tech has developed a sudden reluctance to play 1-AA schools – after all, the Jackets have two of ‘em on their ’08 schedule – so what’s the problem here? (Georgia, by the way, has agreed to schedule ASU in an upcoming season.)
There’s also an interesting side story here. ASU was a fallback decision for LSU, according to many, including Mandel. The Tigers’ first choice was Texas Tech.
… Verge Ausberry, LSU’s senior associate athletic director who handles scheduling, originally sought Texas Tech for its 2008 opener in what would have been a clash of two likely preseason top-15 opponents. Tulsa backed out of a two-year deal with the Red Raiders last month. Unfortunately, Texas Tech operates under the old Bill Snyder school of scheduling — it hasn’t scheduled a BCS-conference opponent since 2003 — and opted instead for Eastern Washington.
That story is denied by TT head coach Mike Leach, who had this to say (arghs! deleted, of course):
… ‘I never talked to the guy at LSU,’ said Leach. ‘We needed a home game and I never heard of anything about LSU planning to come here. I never heard anything about that. I never talked to anybody from LSU. We needed a home game, and all I heard was that they wanted it up there.’
I mention this for two reasons. First, lost in all the hoopla (it’s gonna be on ESPN!) over this game is the fact that LSU remains the only team in the SEC that doesn’t play an OOC game against a school from a BCS conference. Which, when you think about it, is kind of embarrassing for a school that considers itself a national title contender. So this “Texas Tech turned us down” stuff is a nice defense to a charge that LSU plays a weak schedule. But only if it’s true.
Second, I really wanted to post this picture.
The dread pirate Leach. And friend.