2011 Record: (4-8, 3-5 in C-USA)
Head Coach: David Bailiff (23-38 at Rice, 44-53 All-Time)
Last Bowl Game: 2008 Texas Bowl: beat Western Michigan 38-14
Four Year Coaching Trend: 5 wins, 7.25 losses per year; avg of 3.75 wins and 4.25 losses in C-USA play
Must Win: 10/6 at Memphis, 10/13 vs UTSA
Out of Conference: 8/30 vs UCLA, 9/8 at Kansas
Rivalries: 9/29 vs Houston, 11/17 vs SMU
Stat to Cheer: 88.89% conversion rate in the red zone (scored on 32 of 36 attempts which was 15th in Nation)
Stat to Fear: allowed 87 tackles for loss (104th in Nation)
Phil Steele’s Returning Starters (Offense: 5; Defense: 5; Specialists: 1)
Key Defensive Returnees: CB Bryce Callahan (34 tackles, 6 INTs), LB Cameron Nwosu (108 tackles)
Key Offensive Returnees: RB/WR Sam McGuffie, TE Luke Willson (29 rec, 3 TD), WR Vance McDonald (44 rec, 5 TD)
David Baliff has been the head coach for the Rice Owls for five years. Four of those years the Owls have failed to win more than four games. The one year that the Owls had great success (2008) it was because of an offense that averaged 41.3 points per game. The very next season the Owls dropped from 41.3 points per game to 18.3 points per game. Last year they averaged just 23.3 and were outscored by an average of 10 points per game. The one consistent thing for the Owls over the last several years is that their defense yields points. Over the past five years the least amount of points the Owls have allowed has been 33.3. If Rice plans to win some football games this year, it needs to do so by having an offensive explosion.
So does Rice have the personnel to take off offensively? The man who ran the offense when Rice scored 41.3 points per game, Tom Herman, left after the 2008 season (Urban Meyer hired him this year to run the Ohio State offense) and the Owls haven’t been the same offensively since. John Reagan returns as offensive coordinator this year and it will be the first time that Rice has had an OC for more than one year since Herman left.
A name to keep an eye on is Sam McGuffie. In 2008, he played for Michigan and as a freshman gained 486 yards on the ground and 175 through the air. He can play running back or receiver and practiced at receiver this spring. After putting up over 1000 yards of total offense in 2010, he was hampered by injuries last season.
Rice has some interesting talent on their team and they did make a switch at defensive coordinator this year but I think with Rice you should probably hope for the best but expect the mediocre.
2012 Prediction: 4-8
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