Rice Owls 2023 College Football Preview
June 24, 2023
Record – 5-8
ATS – 7-6
The Owls booked the most wins since 2015 when they went 5-7 and played in their first bowl game since 2014. Rice also proved that they could pull some UPSET SPECIALS by taking down Louisiana and UAB. There’s still some work to do, however, as Rice finished with a mark of 5-8 after losing to Southern Miss in the LendingTree Bowl (L 38-24).
Rice Owls 2023 Outlook
The Owls moved the ball pretty well thru the air on occasion LY (233 YPG, #65 FBS) but they threw way too many INTs (20, 2nd worst FBS). Enter JT FREAKING DANIELS who’s thrown for 6,947 yards and 45 TDs during his stops at USC, Georgia, and West Virginia. Daniels has been a bit loose with the football at times (25 career INT) but he provides a yuuuge upgrade at QB. The story gets better when you consider the THROW GAME targets he’ll be working with this season. Bradley Rozner and Luke McCaffrey are one of the most productive returning WR duos in the nation (combined 102, 1,599, 16 TD) and don’t forget that Cedric Patterson had almost 600 receiving yards in 2021 (injured LY). TE Jack Bradley caught 28 balls LY (2 TD) and must be accounted for on 3rd downs and in the red zone. They’ve got a collection of serviceable RBs and four starters returning on the offensive line so they should be able to improve a little bit in terms of the ground game (#81 LY).
The defense struggled again LY and finished the year ranked #104 in rushing defense (182 YPG) and #118 in pass efficiency D (29-8 TD to INT). There’s potential for improvement this season with the return of seven starters including their top-three tacklers, not to mention that DE/LB Josh Pearcy can be extremely disruptive (10 TFL LY). The secondary might actually be able to stop somebody this year too (3 returning starters). The biggest concern is up front where they need to replace star DL Ikenna Enechukwu who was 2nd on the team in sacks and TFL in 2022.
It doesn’t look like a complete lost cause as they have continuity at punter in Conor Hunt (41.0, 37.0) and at KR and PR. Kickoff specialist Tim Horn will take over the FG duties and we’ll see how that goes.
Overall – It’s not gonna be easy. They start with a pair of nasty tests (at Texas, Houston) and draw SMU (H), UTSA (A), and Tulane (H) in AAC action. On the plus side, they only have five road games.
Potential ATS Trouble Spot – Connecticut (Oct 7)
This game pops up between dates with conference foes East Carolina and Tulsa. The FIGHTING JIM MORAS bring it on every occasion so it could be a tough cover for the home team.
Season Win Total
Market consensus June 24
Over 4.5 -125
Under 4.5 +105
This looks like a bowl-quality team but we’re not saying it’s gonna be easy.
The good people at Lindy’s Sports let us know that Rice has started more QBs (13) than any other FBS program since 2017. Barring an unforeseen turn of events it appears as tho Rice has solved the QB problem. <crosses fingers>
This is the first time in a while that we’ve been excited for Rice football. Daniels gives them a shot in almost every game and it’ll be up to the defense to make some improvement if the Owls are gonna make noise in the conference. They just might sneak into a bowl game given the talent on the roster and they always have the possibility of getting an invite based on academics like they did last year. HOOT HOOT!