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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Texas Football: The Rice Game 

Week Three: No. 8 Texas (1-1) v. Rice (0-2)
Last Week: Ohio State 24, Texas 7; UCLA 26, Rice 16
Last Meeting: 2005 -- Texas 51, Rice 10
All-Time Series: Texas leads, 66-21-1

Well, last week was a downer. But as someone once said, "you can't win'em all." I want to kick that guy in the nuts.

Ohio State was the better team, but Texas didn't exactly play like the defending National Champs. Still, there are plenty of games to be played, and with a big weekend of college football action looming, the Horns might even jump up a few spots in the rankings.

Speaking of, exactly why did Texas deserve to drop to No. 8? Yeah, they lost by 17, but look at everything but the final score and they at least held their own with the top-ranked team in the country. And since when is losing to the best team in the country such a terrible thing? It's by no means a good thing, of course, but there's a reason OSU is ranked above everyone else.

I don't think it matters, and I'm not losing sleep over it, but it's just something I'm throwing out there.

This week sees Texas travel to Reliant Stadium to face their old SWC nemesis, Rice. The Owls are actually the only former SWC school not in the Big XII to give Texas a game since the old conference disbanded. It took five TDs from Ricky Williams to squeak the Horns past Rice, 35-28, in 1997. Yeah, that's the season we don't want to admit ever happened, save for the fact it led Mack Brown to Austin.

Motivating words from TWTWB that will pump you up for this week's game

This is such a lackluster game that Matt is still working on TWTWB as I write this. Of course his business trip to Muncie, IN, or wherever the hell it was, contributed, too. But I think I hear him in the other room, interviewing the great Roxy Roxborough.

This Week's Game in a Nutshell

Texas is going to be pissed. And Rice still sucks, even though they may have made a positive coaching move in the offseason (if nothing else new head coach Todd Graham -- who shares a surname with Rice baseball coach Wayne Graham, the only Owl coach to win a national title in any sport -- has the name thing going for him).

Of course that won't mean squat when Rice takes the field Saturday night (neither will the fact that Rice has former Texas QB Major Applewhite calling the plays). The Owls, who honestly have played well in both of their 2006 losses, will face the wrath of a team that's looking to put their first loss in 22 games behind them. And unless Texas more resembles a paper tiger than a sleeping lion, that doesn't bode well for Rice.

The Greg Brown Memorial Pregame Premonition

Watch newly reinstated CB Tarrell Brown intercept a pass and take it all the way back for a TD. Then watch 65,000 Texas fans groan, and think what might have been.

Personal Anecdote Involving This Week's Opponent

I have two:

1. My first Texas-Rice game came in 1993. Even the Texas radio guys expected a tight game (one or two of them thought the Owls might pull the upset). The Texas came out and mauled them, 55-38. It was actually a boring game. The true highlight of the night came during halftime, when the MOB (Marching Owl Band) featured a kick-ass halftime show parodying the Beavis and Butt-head phenomenom, with their "Bevo and Burr-head" perfromance. I'll gve it up to Rice -- for a school that hasn't beatedn Texas A&M in, well, maybe my entire lifetime, they have a knack for making fun of the Aggies.

2. In 1994 Texas found a way to lose to Rice, 19-17, on national television. But it wasn't until a few months ago, when a former player from that team came to work for me, that I really understood how such a travesty could occur. You may remember that John Mackovic suspended several players for that game -- most notably WRs Mike Adams and Lovell Pinkney. So when the Horns conducted their pre-trip walkthrough the remaining players were significantly un-motivated for the Owls. This led to Mackovic telling them, "anyone who doesn't want to go to Houston just get off of the bus right now." The majority of the team got up to file off, leading Mackovic, a noted non-swearer, to yell, "Get your ISSES back on the bus." Mackovic's flat team embarressed their ISSES that night on ESPN2 in a monsoon. Thanks, John.

Semi-Relevant Quote from the Big Lebowski

"And dude, the preferred nomenclature is Asian-American."

I mention this one only because back in the days before PC, Texas A&M used to chant, "what comes out of a Chinaman's ass? RICE!" I thought it somewhat apropriate.

The Facts

- Major Applewhite would have to suit up for this one in order for Rice to even keep it close.
- He's not, and this game is not going to be close.
- There are plenty of good games on this Saturday, so I'm not going to fault you if you just check the Texas-Rice score on occasion.
- Reliant Stadium is a beautiful place, if you like football stadiums that more resemble shopping malls than football stadiums.

Random Texas-Rice highlight that has little to do with this game, but was sweet nonetheless

Prediction: Texas 52, Rice 12



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