According to the Daily Hampshire Gazette there is a new opponent on Louisiana Tech's 2016 football schedule. The Bulldogs will travel north to take on UMASS and that move is likely to be part of more reshuffling of future opponents for LA Tech Athletic Director Tommy McClelland.
McClelland inherited a 2016 schedule that included games against Arkansas (in Little Rock), at Texas A&M, and at home versus Mississippi State. Unless LA Tech is joining the SEC West, that's a pretty unfavorable schedule.
With the Minutemen leaving the MAC, there became a sudden need for UMASS to get home games. McClelland took advantage of the situation and agreed to send the Bulldogs with a return game likely coming in future years.
Looking at Tech's other opponents, it seems the Aggies already have four home games scheduled. According to FBSchedules.com, the Aggies have UCLA, LA Tech, UTSA, and NMSU all scheduled to visit College Station. It's likely that LA Tech and Texas A&M could push their 2016 game back a couple of years in order for both teams to schedule a home game against a FCS opponent instead.
The UMASS agreement also pays dividends down the road. LA Tech could use a home game in 2019 or 2020, so look for UMASS to come to Ruston in one of those years.
The Bulldogs will be a young team in 2016, so a lighter schedule was especially important. UMASS is a long trip, but that's a game that they should be favored to win. Tech has had success against P5 teams in recent years, beating Ole Miss, Virginia, and Illinois twice as well as having near misses against Texas A&M, Mississippi State, and Rice. Tech has Kansas State and Mississippi State on the schedule in 2015.
Gone are the days when the Bulldogs had to play three or four P5 road games to fund the program. In 2004, Tech played at Miami, Tennessee, and Auburn while in 2002 they went to Texas A&M, Clemson, and Penn State while hosting Oklahoma State.
Tech's more recent strategy of playing just two P5 teams, and occasionally scheduling Mississippi State or Baylor in Ruston, is a much friendlier gauntlet to run through compared to the early-WAC and pre-WAC years.
Skip Holtz will surely approve.