2012-13 Football Previews – (C-USA) – Rice
Rice won 10 games in 2008 and all seemed to be well in the program’s track back to relevance. Somehow, David Bailiff’s team has managed to win just 10 games since 2008. Basically, Rice was a one-year wonder and they are trying to figure out how to generate that kind of success once again.
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Conference USA 2012-2013 College Football Previews: Rice Owls
Head Coach: David Bailiff
2011 Record: 4-8
Rice Gambling Odds from JustBet to win BCS Championship: (Part of Field) +1,800
Rice Gambling Odds from 5Dimes to win Conference USA: +3,000
Coach Bailiff is in the last year of his contract, and expectations are for improvement in 2012. The team actually did improve some in 2011. The Owls picked up their first win over a team from a BCS Conference in more than a decade when they beat Purdue last season. Now, they must find a way to play good enough defense to stay in the game. Rice ranked 111th out of 120 teams in total defense last season. Let’s take a look at the Owls roster heading into 2012.
Vance McDonald and Luke Wilson are both terrific tight ends. You’d be hard pressed to find a better pair of tight ends anywhere in the country. McDonald was the team’s leading receiver last year, and Wilson is a two-sport standout who has really impressed in offseason workouts. Look for the Owls to be throwing it down the middle a lot this year.
Rice has some real star power on defense. Cameron Nwosu piled up 108 tackles to lead the Owls last year. Nwosu is the hardest worker on the team, and he has a motor that never quits on the football field. Bryce Callahan had a sensational freshman season at cornerback for Rice last year, and he should be one of the best corners in the conference this year.
The defensive line is a big area of concern. Rice was just 74th in the nation in sacks last year, and that was with pass rushing specialist Scott Solomon on the line. Solomon graduated and the Owls don’t have anyone else who looks like a strong pass rusher. In addition, the Owls lack a powerful interior presence to clog the running lanes. Opponents gashed this defense on the ground numerous times last year.
The Owls offensive line must replace five seniors who combined for 150 starts. Rice believes they have some very talented youngsters ready to step in, but this much inexperience on the line is certainly worrisome.
Taylor McHargue is the only player on the roster with any starting experience at quarterback. McHargue started last year under center, before being benched because of poor play. He’ll have to be better this year, because the team really doesn’t have another option this time around.
2012-2013 Rice Owls Football Prediction: 5-7
Rice should be a better team than they were last season, but how much better? The Owls certainly have a chance to get to six wins or more and become bowl eligible, but the defense must get better. Rice allowed more than 30 points in half their games last season. The question marks on the offensive side are a concern as well. Overall, Rice has some star power; but the team lacks depth.
I’ll pick the Owls to finish with five wins in 2012, but it won’t surprise me if they get to .500. Slowly but surely things are improving at Rice.
2012 Rice Schedule
8/30/12 7:30 PM ET UCLA
9/8/12 TBD @KANS
9/15/12 7:00 PM ET @LTECH
9/22/12 TBD MARSH
9/29/12 TBD HOU
10/6/12 TBD @MEM
10/13/12 TBD TXSA
10/20/12 TBD @TULSA
10/27/12 TBD SOMIS
11/3/12 TBD @TULNE
11/17/12 TBD SMU
11/24/12 TBD @UTEP