Legendary sportswriter Wendell Barnhouse recently left the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and is now a correspondent for Big 12 Sports.com. With 30 years experience of observing the college scene, his expertise is unmatched. In the spirit of Steve Harvey's Bottom Ten, Wendell will provide us a capsule look at college football's less fortunate, counting down the Bottom 25 teams in Division I-A football.
No. 12 Rice
Conference: Conference USA, West Division.
Coach: David Bailiff, 3-9, second season; 24-24 overall in four seasons.
Division I-A history: 416-535-32 in 96 seasons, .439 winning percentage.
Last bowl season: 2006.
Best record last five years: 7-6 in 2006.
Rank(ed) because: Like other academic-oriented Division I-A schools, Rice is always pushing a big rock up a steep hill. For the Owls, though, the rock is bigger and the hill is steeper because they play in a non-BCS conference. That means the revenue sharing stream is much shallower. Rice is the smallest I-A school in terms of enrollment and its football history is faded.
Negative number: 4-2-5. That's the alignment used by defensive coordinator Chuck Driesbach. Last season it yielded nearly 511 yards per game. Rice won a 56-48 shootout and lost a game by the same score.
Possible victory: Southern Methodist, Aug. 29. The season opener on a Friday night ... in Houston ... in late summer. The Owls have to hope that the Mustangs will melt but at the least struggle in June Jones' coaching debut.
Biggest blowout: At Texas, Sept. 20. A rematch of two former Southwest Conference teams; last year's result was a 58-14 Longhorn victory.
Is there hope?: Todd Graham got the Owls to a bowl game in 2006 then slipped out the back door and took the job at C-USA rival Tulsa. That kinda sums up what an up-and-coming coach thought about Rice. The Owls have a record-setting senior quarterback in Chase Clement but they play four of their first six games on the road.
Thanks to the Helmet Project.