LSU to play Syracuse in Carrier Dome in 2015

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Joe Aleva, Les Miles and LSU have finalized their deal with Syracuse. Show caption
Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Joe Aleva, Les Miles and LSU have finalized their deal with Syracuse.

LSU and Syracuse on Wednesday announced the dates for a home-and-home series with Syracuse: LSU will visit the Carrier Dome on Sept. 26, 2015, and the Orange will travel to Tiger Stadium on Sept. 9, 2017.

The series, first reported by The Advocate in March, will be the first meeting between the programs since 1989, when the Orange defeated the Tigers 23-10 in the Hall of Fame Bowl.

“This is another attractive nonconference series that our fans will enjoy and our football program will benefit from,” LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva said in a statement. “To be able to bring LSU football to the northeast part of the country for a football game will be a unique experience, and then to have Syracuse return the trip to Tiger Stadium in 2017 will be a nice addition to our home schedule.

“There were some other teams we talked to, but we couldn’t make the schedule work,” Verge Ausberry, LSU’s senior associate athletic director, told WNXX-FM, 104.5, on Wednesday. “We wanted to make sure we got some home-and-homes back on the schedule, and Syracuse was a formidable opponent.”

LSU’s 2015 nonconference schedule includes Eastern Michigan and Western Kentucky. The Tigers also announced they will open the 2015 season at home against in-state foe and Football Championship Subdvision member McNeese State.

Ausberry said in-state schools tend to sell out their ticket allotment, and some “SEC teams don’t do that coming into Tiger Stadium.” A tweak in the Southeastern Conference schedule, moving up some games into September and as early as Week 2, also factored into the logic.

“There’s a possibility,” Ausberry said of the changes taking place.

LSU had three nonconference opponents scheduled for 2017, a number that now stands at four with the announcement of the Syracuse series. The other three matchups are Georgia Southern, Troy and North Carolina State, a game that is likely to be moved.

“Not right now at this time,” Ausberry said. “We’re trying to negotiate with them right now. Either we’re going to to keep that series or move that back to a later date. We’re trying to make that determination.”

The SEC could switch from an eight to a nine-game conference schedule by that time, limiting a team’s nonconference games to three per season.

Ausberry, speaking on the Matt Moscona Show, said the Tigers took the second game at home in order to ensure the Tigers get at least seven games in Tiger Stadium in the event the conference slate does expand.

“I have a feeling, and we have a hope, that it stays at eight SEC games,” Ausberry said. “But you never know. I’m planning for the future as if we don’t know.”

The games with Syracuse continue a string of high-profile, early season, nonconference games for the Tigers. The games are expected to be televised.

LSU opened the 2013 season against TCU in the Cowboys Classic and will open the 2014 season in Houston’s NRG Stadium against Wisconsin. The Tigers and Badgers will open the 2016 season at the Green Bay Packers’ legendary Lambeau Field.

Kickoff set for Wisconsin

The Tigers and Badgers will open the 2014 season at 8 p.m. Aug. 30 on ESPN from NRG Stadium in Houston, the school and network announced Wednesday afternoon.

The Advocare Texas Kickoff Classic is the third meeting between the programs, with LSU winning the two previous meetings in 1971 and 1972.