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LSU lands Texas Bowl bid

JONATHAN BACHMAN/ASSOCIATED PRESS 
 LSU running back Leonard Fournette (7) will lead the Tigers into the Texas Bowl against Texas Tech on Dec. 29.
JONATHAN BACHMAN/ASSOCIATED PRESS LSU running back Leonard Fournette (7) will lead the Tigers into the Texas Bowl against Texas Tech on Dec. 29. AP

Let's not make LSU's trip to the Texas Bowl something it's not.

It's not part of the College Football Playoff or even one of the CFP's big six bowls, a game the Tigers had a real shot at before their three-game November skid.

It's a bowl game that exists because people can't get enough college football and ESPN has programming to fill. These days, if you have six wins -- or sometimes not -- you are guaranteed a postseason reservation.

LSU is so giddy about its 8-3 season that it came within about $17 million in buyouts from firing its coach. Texas Tech is so thrilled where the program is after going 7-5 (4-5 in the Big 12), movie-star-handsome coach Kliff Kingsbury gave the boot to three defensive assistants.

Careers and fortunes aren't going to be made or wrecked by what happens in Houston the night of Dec. 29.

Both teams and their coaches are either past that point, or whatever was going to happen to them (LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron being retained or let go, for example) isn't going to change significantly because of this contest.

It's a bowl game that will be played for the reason so many bowls will be played, something we forget about in the context of steaming mad, deep-pocketed boosters and coaches who are paid like real movie stars:

It's supposed to be fun.

In that sense, this Texas Bowl fits the bill.

It's a game that offers a compelling contrast of styles. The Red Raiders are No. 2 in the nation in total, scoring and passing offense. Their defense is the kind of defense that gets three of its coaches fired, 125th nationally against the run and 126th in yards allowed -- and we all know what LSU does best.

Alley Broussard, your 250-yard single-game rushing record may indeed finally fall into Leonard Fournette's talented clutches.

It's a great destination for both teams' fans. Houston is the biggest LSU alumni base outside of Louisiana, and it has to be huge for Texas Tech grads as well. It's a day's drive from both campuses. As such, a sellout of 71,054-seat NRG Stadium seems likely. LSU recruits metro Houston like it's a Louisiana parish, and certainly Tech hits the Bayou City hard, too. The days of free advertising both programs will get in Texas A&M's backyard can only help the Tigers' and Red Raiders' causes.

So what if this is the off-Broadway of bowl destinations? People will watch and people will come, to see Texas Tech throw and Fournette run.

A year from now, both programs will be disappointed if they're not somewhere better, and should be. But for today, you are where you are. And for LSU and Texas Tech, it could be somewhere much less desirable.

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