It looks as though opening the college football season down under may become a new annual event. A year after Cal and Hawaii kicked off the 2016 season in Australia, Stanford and Rice are now locked in to open the 2017 season in the Sydney Cup. The game between the Owls and Cardinal will be played in Sydney on August 26.
“This is a unique opportunity for us, one that I’m not sure we will have again in the near future,” Rice Director of Athletics Joe Karlgaard said in a released statement. “The Pac-12 has been expanding its outreach in the Pacific Rim the last few years, and we are excited to partner with Stanford for the game in Australia this fall. For our football players, many of whom have never been abroad, this trip will be as much about experiencing a new culture as it will be about the game itself.”
Talks about opening the season in Australia have been going on for a while now. Rice will be the home team in the matchup, meaning they will lose a home game on their schedule in the upcoming season. However, a chance to play in Australia is a bit of a rare opportunity and may be worth it for the experience. Cost, on the other hand, is quite a different story. Rice will lose a home game against a quality Pac-12 opponent.
As noted before, this will be the second straight regular season meeting between the two schools after Stanford hosted Rice in the 2016 regular season finale.