2016-17 Football Previews – (C-USA) – Owls
Looking for 2016 Rice Owls predictions? Rice looks to get themselves back into postseason play here in 2016 as they failed to make a bowl game for the first time after 3 straight seasons. Rice dropped 4 of their last 5 games of the season, putting them out of bowl contention as their defense consistently put up bad numbers.
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2016-17 College Football Preview – Rice Owls
Head Coach: David Bailiff
Rice Owls Odds to win 2017 FBS Championship: OFF
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Rice will look to start a new streak this season, but will see a much different offense this year. Known for their slower paced, rushing attack, the Owls will shift the focus to a little faster tempo.
2016 Rice Owls Predictions: Team Strengths
Change of Pace, Literally
Rice has used their rushing attack to become known for a slow paced team.
The Owls will use the entire playclock and typically find themselves running the ball right up the gut. This has always been a north to south kind of team, as they never really had the speed to go east to west and hit the outsides.
However, this season, things will be different. Senior QB Tyler Stehling gets his chance at calling the shots. Stehling is very mobile and has the ability to use breakaway speed.
He’ll still also have the 4 different Rice running backs from last season that return. Rice had the 2nd best rushing attack in C-USA with 177.6 yards per game. While it’ll take some getting used too, these backs and Stehling can turn it up a notch and get more plays in for the runners.
2016 Rice Owls Predictions: Team Weaknesses
Rice wishes they could probably rethink their non conference agreements. Rice will start the season off with some very tough and quality opponents, that could end up burying this team in a whole.
Away games against Western Kentucky and Army start things off, before they welcome in the Baylor Bears out of the Big 12.
The first two games won’t be easy, but they at least get WKU on somewhat of an off year with them breaking in a new QB. Still, Baylor is basically an assured loss, which puts the pressure on them to win 1, if not both of those first two road games if they hope to capture a bowl berth.
Then, to make matters worse, their final game of the season is at Stanford. Yikes.
Is There Help on the Way?
Rice’s defensive numbers are a nightmare to look at from last season.
They have a bit of an excuse as a majority of their team was banged up, especially on the defensive side, but still. This team allowed many 35 plus performances and even gave up north of 60 points on a couple occasions.
They were 111th in the nation with 16 sacks and just 2 interceptions. The good news? They can’t get any worse can they? Bad news? They’re still the same bunch that returns some unproven players.
2016 Rice Owls Prediction: 5-7
Rice will have chances to steal a couple games here in 2016.
However, they could just as easily lose all 4 games against WKU, Army, Baylor, and Stanford, which puts the pressure on them to almost have to compete for the conference to have any chance at the postseason.
Their first two games will tell a lot. Tough, road contests against winnable opponents will show how tough this team is with the early test.
Still, Rice has a poor defense and a very unproven offense. How will they adapt to a faster paced offense? Who knows. This team is still built to run and chew clock and keep their defense off the field.
There will be some growing pains, as this team will likely miss out on another postseason berth.
2016 Rice Owls Schedule
09/01/16 at Western Kentucky * TV Bowling Green, Kentucky 7:00 p.m. CT
09/10/16 at Army West Point TV West Point, New York 11:00 a.m. CT
09/16/16 vs. Baylor TV Rice Stadium 7:00 p.m. CT
09/24/16 vs. North Texas * Rice Stadium 5:00 p.m. CT
10/01/16 at Southern Miss * TV Hattiesburg, Mississippi 6:00 p.m. CT
10/15/16 vs. UTSA * TV Rice Stadium 6:00 p.m. CT
10/22/16 vs. Prairie View A&M Rice Stadium 2:30 p.m. CT
10/29/16 at Louisiana Tech * TV Ruston, Louisiana 6:00 p.m. CT
11/05/16 vs. Florida Atlantic * Rice Stadium 2:30 p.m. CT
11/12/16 at Charlotte * TV Charlotte, North Carolina 1:00 p.m. CT
11/19/16 vs. UTEP * Rice Stadium 11:00 a.m. CT
11/26/16 at Stanford Stanford, California TBA
What do you think about our 2016 Rice Owls predictions? Please leave us a comment below telling us how you think they’ll do in 2016!
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