Louisiana Tech series continues Baylor's non-conference scheduling philosophy

Baylor coach Art Briles has defended the Bears' nonconference scheduling in the playoff era. Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports

Baylor and Louisiana Tech have scheduled a three-game series for 2020-2022, according to a contract obtained in a public records request by ESPN.

The Bears will host the Bulldogs on Sept. 12, 2020 and Sept. 10, 2022, and Baylor will visit Louisiana Tech on Sept. 11, 2021. Baylor will pay Louisiana Tech $500,000 for the 2020 game in Waco, Texas.

The Bears also are scheduled to play FCS member Abilene Christian in 2018, sources said.

Baylor’s visit to Ruston, Louisiana, will mark a rare home game for Louisiana Tech against a Power 5 conference opponent. The Bulldogs, who played host to Mississippi State in 2008, have another home game against Mississippi State in 2017 as part of a future three-game series with MSU.

Baylor and Louisiana Tech last met in 1996, a 24-16 Baylor victory. The Bears lead the all-time series 5-1.

Baylor’s addition of Louisiana Tech and Abilene Christian continues the Bears’ non-conference scheduling philosophy of playing almost exclusively non-Power 5 opponents.

Last season, Baylor played SMU, Buffalo and Northwestern (La.) State out of conference. This season, the Bears play SMU, Lamar, and Rice.

Baylor’s future non-conference schedule includes only one Power 5 conference opponent: a home-and-home series with Duke in 2017-18. Other future non-league opponents for Baylor include SMU, Rice, and Texas-San Antonio and FCS opponents Northwestern State, Liberty, Abilene Christian, and Incarnate Word.

The Baylor and Louisiana Tech series contract was completed last October.

Over the past several months Baylor coach Art Briles has repeatedly defended the Bears’ non-conference schedule.

"The way I've looked at it is, you want to get in the final four and win the Big 12 and go unscathed," Briles said last July. "You do that, you go 9-0 in the Big 12, you're going to be in the final four, because you're going to beat probably two top-10 teams, probably two others in the top 20, and maybe another top 25, which is what we faced (in 2013). That's a résumé that's good enough to match any other conference."

Ironically, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said last summer that he told conference members "if you’re sitting on a No. 5 ranking and you had a weak non-conference schedule, you’ll be in real jeopardy of not making the playoffs. They’ve all heard us talk about that."

Baylor did indeed finish fifth in the College Football Playoff rankings, just missing the four-team playoff. The Bears then lost to Michigan State in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl and finished seventh in the final AP rankings.