Nickname: The Owls
Kickoff: September 21st, 6:00 PM CT
Location: Rice Stadium
Conference: Conference USA
Head coach: Mike Bloomgren
Last year’s record: 2-11
Notable outcomes: Lost to UTSA 20-3; lost to Houston 45-27; beat Old Dominion 27-13
Key losses: Austin Walter, RB; Zach Abercrumbia, DT; Parker Hanusa, DT; Roe Wilkins, DT; Graysen Schantz, DE
Strength: Quarterbacks. Rice has a crowded quarterback room with four strong contenders, including Harvard transfer Tom Stewart.
Weakness: Defensive line. Rice has to replace four of their top defensive linemen. No matter how good the players are behind those starters, that will be a tough adjustment.
Prediction: This game feels both very similar and very different from the UTSA match-up. It is similar in the sense that Rice is another Texas-based Conference USA team that had a terrible season last year. The difference comes with where the weakness was. UTSA had a terrible offense. Rice had a terrible defense. Unless that defense markedly improves, Charlie Brewer and company should be able to post some nice numbers and get a clean win heading into conference (with the added benefit of a first road game to get the feel for that). Barring catastrophe, Baylor should enter conference with a 3-0 record.