Welcome back to Frog Abroad and the Let's play series. Last week I shared my idea about how TCU ought to fill its non-conference schedule- play the other FBS level teams in Texas as much as possible- and I laid out some of my reasons for believing that it would be the best (and most interesting) way for TCUto set out a schedule. With that established, now comes the hard part- deciding which of Texas' many FBS programs to play and in what capacity to play them. Yes, if we're going to get the recruiting boost I mentioned in the previous article we're going to have to play road games against our fellow Texas schools, but TCU is a member of the Big 12 now and home games are precious, so at the end of each article we'll have a poll set up so you all can vote on what sort of scheduling arrangement we should seek with each of the non-Big 12 Texas schools, if we should schedule them at all. Today we'll look at the first school, who is first up simply because they're the team I'd most like to see back on the schedule on a regular basis- the Rice Owls.
What are they?: They're the Rice University, a small private college with elite academics.
Where are they?: Rice is in Houston, one of the major areas for college recruits in the entire nation.
How good are they usually?: 428-548-32 overall, Rice is a bit below average in most years. Only four coaches in Rice history have finished their careers over .500, with one-year wonder Todd Graham ending a 45 year bowl drought for the owls in 2006.
How have we done against them?: TCU leads the all-time series, 41-35-3 and has the last win in the series, but the Owls won the previous four meetings.
That's a whole lot of games!: Yes indeed it is, as Rice was one of our Southwest conference rivals who was also left high and dry by the Big 12 defections and ended up in the WAC.
Why should we play Rice, though?: The first reason is of course the history, as TCU and Rice have been playing since 1914- that's almost a century of competition with the owls that is really difficult to leave behind. Secondly, they, like us, are a small private school in what is becoming increasingly a "big schools only" game. I see a kindred spirit in Rice, one that isn't ruined by obnoxiousness and proximity like some other private schools (Hi Baylor and SMU!) which makes it all the more fun to get back together with the Owls. Rice is also in Houston, which is prime recruiting ground for the Frogs, and the more often we can play in South Texas the better off the program will be. And of course, there's the Marching Owl Band, which puts on the finest halftime shows you've ever seen- if you haven't seen a TCU/Rice halftime show you've missed a lot as a Frog fan. Finally, I was there for those four consecutive losses to Rice and I'm not content with just the one butt-kicking we inflicted on them before we abandoned the WAC. Beating Rice is a joy for Frog fans, and it's one that we are woefully deprived of at the moment- so Let's Play Rice!