Saturday, September 19, 2009

LSU vs. Tulane

I agree with John DeShazier:

The guess here is that LSU's athletic quality of life wouldn't noticeably diminish if it played a regular-season game in New Orleans once every three or four years. Its schedule strength isn't going to skyrocket by filling up on in-state opponents who aren't any more likely to pose a threat than Tulane.

And to claim it will enhance the LSU brand by playing North Carolina, or anyone else, at a neutral site or home-and-home is stretching for an excuse.


But more than 100 years and almost 100 games shouldn't go away so quietly. That kind of tie shouldn't be severed, not if the main reason is that one team never, ever wants to go on the road in the series.
As a Tulane employee, alum, and fan, I guess I'm a bit biased; but I'll add one more reason. Almost all of the LSU fans that I know from the New Orleans area (and MOST LSU fans live and work in the New Orleans Area) actually like the Tulane/LSU rivalry, as mismatched as it is these days. For one, even when LSU plays Tulane "on the road" in the Superdome, it gives LSU fans essentially another home game to attend. Most LSU fans in the New Orleans area are also fond of Tulane and like to see Tulane do well (except when Tulane plays LSU!); and playing against LSU is always a boon to Tulane's program, as much as it might seem like a throw-away for LSU. Finally, there are other things, such as tradition and support for Louisiana college athletics and simple rivalry fun for the fans that might mitigate against the purely financial argument that is driving LSU's decision to end the series. LSU might not make as much money keeping Tulane on the schedule, but I doubt it's losing money on the venture either. And it is impoverishing LSU fans, Tulane fans, and Louisiana college athletics in other non-material ways. It should take these other considerations into account. Otherwise, it just makes LSU seem mercenary and will drive Tulane fans like me, who appreciated LSU because it made room for Tulane, to think less of LSU all the way around. And for LSU to risk losing that portion of its fan base, no matter how tiny it might be, can't be good for the school in the long run and in other ways that have little to do with football.

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