HOUSTON — They call it the bubble.
It’s a balloon, actually — a very tall, very long balloon that houses, of all things, a full-length football field.
The Houston Texans are loaning their unique indoor practice facility to LSU this weekend ahead of the Tigers’ game at 8 p.m. Tuesday against Texas Tech in the Texas Bowl.
Just a few months ago, the bubble was the primary shooting site for the hit HBO series “Hard Knocks.” A reporter earlier this week revealed that news to LSU redshirt freshman guard Will Clapp.
“We get to practice in their facility? That’s pretty cool,” Clapp said. “I watched ‘Hard Knocks.’ ”
Clapp and the No. 22 Tigers (8-3) are set to arrive in Houston on Saturday morning to begin bowl festivities — and practices — before their clash with the Red Raiders (7-5) on Tuesday. They’ll arrive to cloudy skies and temperatures in the 70s.
LSU opens its practices in the nation’s fourth-largest city at 1 p.m. Saturday inside that unusual practice space. The $3 million dome-shaped facility, opened in 2002, is completely supported by air.
There are no steel support beams or cement columns. A fan and airlock doors maintain its structural integrity. Ground anchors keep the bubble from floating away.
LSU is scheduled to practice in the bubble Saturday and Sunday, and the Tigers will conduct a walk-through there Monday. A 20-minute portion of Saturday’s practice is open to reporters — the first time any practice this season has been open since the opening week of preseason camp.
Bowl festivities begin Saturday night with the Rodeo Bowl, set an hour southwest of Houston at George Ranch Historical Park. It’s an evening filled with various rodeo-themed shenanigans, barbecue and live Texas country music around campfires.
There’s a scavenger hunt Sunday and a pep rally that night. A news conference with both head coaches — Les Miles and Kliff Kingsbury — ends the social part of the week.
It’s all football from there, with walk-throughs Monday and kickoff Tuesday — the last hurrah for a small group of seniors and maybe a few underclassmen.
LSU has just 14 seniors on the roster, and 12 of them are on the two-deep depth chart — tied with Florida for fewest in the SEC. The Tigers will say goodbye to starters like defensive back Jalen Mills, right tackle Vadal Alexander and linebacker Deion Jones.
Mills’ finale comes in his home state. He’s from DeSoto, Texas, about three hours from NRG Stadium.
“I’m pretty excited about it,” he said.
“Most of the guys going into their last game, they don’t hold anything back,” Clapp said. “That’s the kind of mindset that we’re all trying to go in with: Don’t hold anything back. It’s our last game of the season. We want to all leave there with a victory.”
They’re predicted to do just that. The Tigers are seven-point favorites over Tech, the fifth-place finisher in the Big 12.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” senior center Ethan Pocic said. “They’re a really explosive team. We’re looking forward to it.”
Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter, @RossDellenger.