Category: Rice Owls

BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 14:  Dustin Mitchell #43 of the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs is tackled by Jacob Cutrera #54 and Kelvin Sheppard #11 of the LSU Tigers at Tiger Stadium on November 14, 2009 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
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LaTech announces date with LSU as Tigers fill out 2018 slate

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If you’re into the in-state football thing, mark your 2018 calendars accordingly.

Louisiana Tech announced Thursday afternoon that it has scheduled a 2018 game against LSU in Death Valley.  That contest is scheduled for Oct. 20 that year.

This matchup will mark the 20th all-time meeting between the two football programs, with the last coming in 2009.  While the Tigers are 18-1 all-time against the Bulldogs, the school made sure to note in their release that “Tech remains the only public school in Louisiana to have defeated LSU in football.”

“We want to continue to schedule teams from our state when possible, which allows resources to remain in the state and the fans in Louisiana to experience the best venue in the country, Tiger Stadium,” LSU athletic director Joe Alleva said in a statement.

In a separate release, LSU confirmed the addition of 2018 games against Southeastern Louisiana (Sept. 8) and Rice (Nov. 17). Along with the previously announced game against Miami of Florida (Sept. 1 in the Cowboys Classic opener), LSU’s 2018 non-conference schedule is now complete.

Mountain West Conference says no expansion on the horizon

The Associated Press
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The Mountian West Conference had been at the center of various conference realignment or expansion rumors over the past week, ranging from the possible return of BYU to potential additions of Rice and/or UTEP. As conference leaders and administrators gathered this weekend to discuss those options and more for football and other sports, it was decided the Mountain West Conference will not seek any adjustments to the conference’s current membership.

“The entire membership expressed great support for the continued development of the Conference,” said Commissioner Craig Thompson in a released statement Monday.  “There is genuine excitement about the growth which has transpired in the less than three years under the present alignment.”

So, for now, the book is closed on possible expansion or realignment with the Mountain Wets Conference, however the conference did state it will continue to monitor the landscape moving forward, so the door for potential changes is still left open by a crack. Maybe that is good news for fans of programs like BYU, Rice or UTEP.

Thompson sparked the conversation last week by suggesting the conference would be leaving a light on for BYU. The football independent program is entering the crosshairs of some important changes with the program with a head coaching change and still evaluating the pros and cons of life as an independent now five years into the non-conference life and preparing for a sixth. Another report suggested the MWC might be discussing inviting Rice and UTEP to the conference to establish a presence in the state of Texas. UTEP has been in communication with the MWC for a few years according to past reports due to geographical struggles with competing in Conference USA.

At this point, the only thing that might cause the MWC to change its official stance is if BYU comes calling about getting back together in the future as a conference member. Odds are the MWC would find a way to welcome BYU back to the fold, but would that require the conference to add one more member to keep the numbers even? If so, then Idaho, New Mexico State, UTEP and Rice may have to start making some sales pitches to the conference.

Is Mountain West Conference looking for expansion real estate in Texas?

The Associated Press
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While we may not be seeing any seismic shifts on the conference realignment landscape any time soon now that the Big 12 learned it can get a team in the College Football Playoff with just 10 members, the Mountain West Conference is a bit of a different story. After commissioner Craig Thompson addressed the idea of leaving a light on for BYU, the question has shifted to who would join BYU to keep balance in the conference. Whether or not BYU is part of the equation, two schools worth keeping an eye on are Rice and UTEP.

A report published by Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com added a spark to the conversation surrounding Rice and UTEP with the Mountain West Conference scheduled for some meetings this weekend between athletic directors and other leaders. Per Dodd, there is a thought Rice would be the more desirable option base don Rice’s academic standing, but UTEP has been touching base with the MWC for a few years now as they sit isolated from the majority of Conference USA’s membership. UTEP also has some history with a majority of the members of the MWC dating back to the old WAC line-up.

The MWC currently has 12 football members, and Conference USA has 13, including Rice and UTEP. If the Mountain West were to add BYU, plucking either Rice or UTEP from Conference USA would keep some form of balance and perhaps keep Conference USA from feeling an urge to take on another member. Conference USA has already managed to keep things rolling by adding some programs with more of a long-term plan for growth. Losing Rice or UTEP would likely result in Conference USA sliding one member from the East Division into thew West Division to balance out the division line-up, perhaps Middle Tennessee or Western Kentucky (or go the Big 12 route and slide Marshall into the Texas-heavy West Division). Keep in mind, Conference USA is slated to welcome back UAB starting in 2017.

Adding Rice or UTEP would help get the MWC into the state of Texas, which is a state ripe of high school football talent. The conference lost its presence in the state when TCU left for the Big East Big 12. From a marketing perspective, if the Mountain West Conference could lure Rice to the conference, it would help gain some viewership in the Houston TV market. Competing head-to-head with the Big 12 and SEC in Houston may still be a mighty uphill challenge, but in a world where Rutgers was a top target for the Big Ten, the MWC taking aim on Rice makes plenty of sense. Either way, just setting foot in Texas is something the MWC should find appealing.

There is no timeline for any possible expansion at this time though. There may not even be any movement on the push to expand this weekend, but it should be expected to be a discussion topic that leads to further evaluation of the landscape for the conference and beyond as it prepares for every possible scenario involving BYU or not. Expansion for the sake of expansion is not a wise move.

WKU QB Brandon Doughty headlines All-Conference USA team

WKU wins 35-19 over FAU
The Associated Press
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League champions Western Kentucky led the All-Conference USA team with six First Team announcements, but runner-up Southern Miss placed the most overall players on the first and second teams with 10.

Louisiana Tech posted nine first- and second-team honorees, followed by WKU with eight.

And new North Texas head coach Seth Littrell, in his second day on the job, got a reminder why he’s in Denton, as the Mean Green were shut out of the first- and second-teams for the first time since 1957.

The first and second teams can be found below:

First Team Offense

QB — Brandon Doughty, Western Kentucky, Sr.
RB — Kenneth Dixon, Louisiana Tech, Sr.
RB — Jalen Richard, Southern Miss, Sr.
OL — Sebastian Johansson, Marshall, Sr.
OL — Jaylen Hunter, Middle Tennessee, Sr.
OL — Andrew Reue, Rice, Sr.
OL — Cameron Tom, Southern Miss, Jr.
OL — Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky, Jr.
TE — Tyler Higbee, Western Kentucky, Sr.
WR — Trent Taylor, Louisiana Tech, Jr.
WR — Richie James, Middle Tennessee, Fr.
WR — Taywan Taylor, Western Kentucky, Jr.

First Team Defense

DL — Michael Wakefield, Florida International, Sr.
DL — Trevon Coley, Florida Atlantic, Sr.
DL — Trey Hendrickson, Florida Atlantic, Jr.
DL — Vernon Butler, Louisiana Tech, Sr.
LB — Evan McKelvey, Marshall, Sr.
LB — T.T. Barber, Middle Tennessee, Sr.
LB — Nick Holt, Western Kentucky, Sr.
DB — Richard Leonard, Florida International, Sr.
DB — Xavier Woods, Louisiana Tech, Jr.
DB — Kevin Byard, Middle Tennessee, Sr.
DB — Kalan Reed, Southern Miss, Sr.

First Team Specialists

K — Garrett Schwettman, Western Kentucky, Sr.
P — Dalton Schomp, Florida Atlantic, Jr.
KR — Deandre Reaves, Marshall, Sr.
PR — Richard Leonard, Florida International, Sr.
LS — Lance Schuffert, Southern Miss, Sr.

Second Team Offense

QB — Nick Mullens, Southern Miss, Jr.
RB — Kalif Phillips, Charlotte, Jr.
RB — Ray Lawry, Old Dominion, So.
RB — Ito Smith, Southern Miss, So.
RB — Anthony Wales, Western Kentucky, Jr.
OL — Michael Montero, Florida International, Jr.
OL — Reggie Bain, Florida Atlantic, So.
OL — Darrell Brown, Louisiana Tech, Jr.
OL — Jens Danielsen, Louisiana Tech, Sr.
OL — Michael Selby, Marshall, Jr.
OL — Rashod Hill, Southern Miss, Sr.
TE — David Morgan II, UTSA, Sr.
WR — Ed Batties, Middle Tennessee, Sr.
WR — Zach Pascal, Old Dominion, Jr.
WR — Mike Thomas, Southern Miss, Sr.

Second Team Defense

DL — Larry Ogunjobi, Charlotte, Jr.
DL — Jarquez Samuel, Marshall, Sr.
DL — Michael Smith, Southern Miss, Sr.
DL — Jason Neill, UTSA, Sr.
LB — Anthony Wint, Florida International, So.
LB — Nick Thomason, Louisiana Tech, Sr.
LB — T.J. Ricks, Old Dominion, Jr.
LB — Brian Anderson, Southern Miss, Sr.
DB — Cre’von LeBlanc, Florida Atlantic, Sr.
DB — Bryson Abraham, Louisiana Tech, Sr.
DB — Jeremy Cutrer, Middle Tennessee, Jr.
DB — Bennett Okotcha, UTSA, Sr.

Second Team Specialists

K — Jonathan Barnes, Louisiana Tech, So.
P — Tyler Williams, Marshall, Sr.
KR — Kylen Towner, Western Kentucky, So.
PR — Deandre Reaves, Marshall, Sr.
LS — Matt Cincotta, Marshall, Sr.

Win or lose vs. WVU Sat., 5-6 K-State going bowling

SAN ANTONIO, TX - JANUARY 02:  Head coach Bill Snyder of the Kansas State Wildcats before a game against the UCLA Bruins during the Valero Alamo Bowl at Alamodome on January 2, 2015 in San Antonio, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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As you no doubt know by now, at least two and as many as five 5-7 FBS teams will “earn” bids in the 2015-16 bowl cycle.  Now we know exactly which teams are in the hunt for some sub-.500 postseason play.

According to Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com, 5-6 Kansas State will receive a bowl bid regardless of whether they win or lose this weekend.  If K-State can beat West Virginia Saturday in Little Manhattan, they would hit the necessary six wins for bowl eligibility.  If they lose, their Academic Progress rate (APR) numbers, which will be used to determine which 5-7 teams are eligible, are second among the five-win schools and would give them a bowl berth regardless.

The 5-7 teams with the highest APR scores include Nebraska (985), Missouri and Kansas State (976), Minnesota and San Jose State (975), Illinois and Rice (973). To their credit, Mizzou has already publicly declared that they will not accept a bowl bid. The other 5-7 teams, including the Cornhuskers, have reportedly said they would jump at the opportunity.

In addition to K-State, Georgia State and South Alabama could both reach six wins with a victory Saturday over Georgia Southern and Appalachian State, respectively. As laid out by McMurphy, below are all of the possible scenarios involving the remaining teams with bowl eligibility hopes:

— KSU, Georgia State and South Alabama all win: KSU bowl-eligible with six wins; Nebraska is in and either Minnesota or San Jose State would be selected.

— KSU wins, Georgia State and South Alabama go 1-1: KSU bowl-eligible; Nebraska, Minnesota and San Jose State go to a bowl.

— KSU wins, Georgia State and South Alabama go 0-2: KSU bowl-eligible; Nebraska, Minnesota and San Jose State go to a bowl, and either Illinois or Rice would be selected.

— KSU loses, Georgia State and South Alabama go 2-0: Nebraska and Kansas State go to a bowl, and either Minnesota or San Jose State would be selected.

— KSU loses, Georgia State and South Alabama go 1-1: Nebraska, Kansas State, Minnesota and San Jose State go to a bowl.

— KSU, Georgia State and South Alabama all lose: Nebraska, Kansas State, Minnesota and San Jose State go to a bowl, and either Illinois or Rice would be selected.