LSU To Play UCLA, Arizona State In Future
LSU announced a pair of exciting non-conference home-and-home series Monday.
The Tigers will face UCLA for the first time ever at the Rose Bowl on Sept. 4, 2021, with the Bruins scheduled to make a return trip in 2024. UCLA hasn't played an SEC school since 2009.
"In LSU, a perennial SEC power, we are pleased to add yet another marquee opponent to our future schedule," UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero said in a statement. "With such upcoming non-conference games taking us around the country to places like Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma and Michigan, we're able to nationally showcase UCLA football while strengthening our resume come playoff season."
LSU and Arizona State were supposed to play in 2005 and 2006, but Hurricane Katrina disrupted those plans, forcing the initial game from Baton Rouge, La., to Tempe, Ariz., where the Tigers won, 35-31, on a late JaMarcus Russell touchdown pass. The game raised more than $1 million in relief funds, but the teams didn't play in 2006.
The Tigers and Sun Devils instead will try again in 2022 and 2023, with LSU traveling West on Sept. 10, 2022.
These kinds of matchups are significant, assuming the College Football Playoff still exists in its current iteration into the next decade. Even though LSU plays in the SEC West, guaranteeing games against Alabama, Auburn and Texas A&M each year, the selection committee has given some strong hints that strength of schedule will play a major role in the process. The difference between facing a UCLA or Arizona State in a non-conference game as opposed to an FCS team could be important.