Rice is coming off a 10-win season and appearance in the Liberty Bowl. The Owls return 12 starters and are expected to be in the thick of the race for the Conference USA West Division title. Rice has won 15 of its last 19 games.
"It's nice to know that even at an elite educational institution, you can still act like you're in junior high," writes reader Mike, who caught this ESPN sign among Rice fans at Saturday's Conference USA title game.
You can win a bar bet with this one: Which team has won more games in a row, Alabama or Rice? The answer, of course, is Rice, with five wins. The Crimson Tide won their last four, including the Bowl Championship Series title game.
Granted, the Owls didn't play the caliber of opponents Alabama did down the stretch, but Rice will take victories where it can get them. Usually that is in November and December. The Owls are 20-9 in those months since 2006.
It's August and September that are troublesome. Rice is 7-23 in those months since 2006.
Rice was the only team in Division I-A to play four teams from BCS conferences in nonconference play in 2011. Unfortunately, the Owls went 1-3, paving the way for a disappointing 4-8 season. Rice is going to have to toughen up on defense if it expects to make strides in 2012. For the past three seasons, the team has ranked 111th, 107th and 117th in total defense. During that span, the Owls are 10-26.
Wiz correspondent Greg Laughlin recently took a trip to Houston and paid a visit to the home of the Rice Owls. Rice Stadium, now 62 years old, doesn't have the trappings of modern facilities, but Greg writes that "it holds a special charm that few places possess."
A forgotten fact is that Rice Stadium played host to the 1974 Super Bowl. How many college stadiums can make that claim?
There are more photos after the jump, and you can view Greg's full gallery by clicking here.
Rice celebrates 100 years of football with three bruising games to open the season. The Owls play at Texas, play host to Purdue and travel to Baylor to kick things off. On Nov. 12, Rice plays at Northwestern. Not many teams can make the claim of playing four BCS teams in nonconference play.