LSU’s Joe Alleva: Football game in Houston is a priority

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- LSU fullback J.C. Copeland and guard La'El Collins carry
Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- LSU fullback J.C. Copeland and guard La'El Collins carry "The Boot" to celebrate a 20-13 win at Arkansas on Friday, Nov. 23, 2012, in Fayetteville.

LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva said plans are not yet finalized for a football game in Houston between the Tigers and Wisconsin but did say he considers it a priority for LSU to play in the Bayou City.

“We’re still negotiating to play in Houston and at another neutral site,” Alleva said Thursday after returning from Atlanta for the announcement of the new SEC TV network. Alleva’s comments tempered a report Thursday by a Houston TV station that LSU and Wisconsin are set to play at Reliant Stadium to open the 2014 season in the Texas Kickoff Classic.

“We don’t have any financial details worked out yet,” Alleva said.

He then added: “I think the next neutral site we will try to play at is in Houston.”

LSU is set to open the 2013 football season at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, against TCU. It is the Tigers’ second appearance in the Cowboys Classic in three seasons.

LSU also opened the 2010 season in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game against North Carolina at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

Alleva did express his interest in playing in Houston for several reasons — and in several sports.

“I would like to play at Reliant Stadium,” Alleva said. “We have a huge alumni base there, and it’s a fertile area for recruits. I also think we should play a basketball game there and a baseball game there once in a while. We should have a presence there.”

LSU has not played a football game in Houston since a game at Rice in 1983. The Houston area is home to LSU’s largest alumni base outside Louisiana.

There have been reports that LSU and Wisconsin would play a pair of neutral site games — one in Texas and one at iconic Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers.

Last week, Alleva said he wasn’t enthusiastic about playing Wisconsin at Lambeau, but he said Thursday: “It might be Lambeau Field.”

Senior Associate Athletic Director Verge Ausberry, who handles LSU’s football scheduling, has maintained that LSU is in discussions with a number of schools regarding nonconference games.

LSU and Wisconsin have only played twice, with the Tigers winning 38-28 at Wisconsin in 1971 and 27-7 in Tiger Stadium in 1972.