Rice may have leaned on Mother Nature two weekends ago in a win versus Florida Atlantic.
Nonetheless, a substantial victory and a bye week full of rest perhaps catapults the Owls on a positive passage as the season lunges into the logjam of conference play.
Head coach David Bailiff can meticulously eyeball that trio of postseason berths he’s strung together since 2012. He’s built the program from the ground up, polishing the infrastructure with a rapid turnaround once the proper talent convened. A fourth bowl bid is feasible given the Owls refrain from succumbing to bottom-rung competition. The Owls wallow in that so-called a “sandwich spot” once they host the Army Black Knights on Saturday afternoon, though.
Can you dub Rice as a hot team? Perhaps it’s practical. Nothing boosts a bed of roses quite like overcoming a 12-point deficit on the road—rescuing the regular season amidst the barrage of rain in Boca Raton.
Bye weeks typically serve as a lounging area for clubs to congregate. I perceive the Owls more fortunate heading into a rest period, say, if a loss had been suffered in the prior week. Bailiff should be more worried about the disruption of momentum, the positive impulse coming to a screeching halt.
Because of its tentative cachet, the Army Black Knights infiltrate Houston with a cryptic archetype. The opaque identity compared to a traditional, modest program ushers in the chance for pulling an upset.
Last season’s melee concluded with the Owls routing the Black Knights, 41-21, in West Point. A 20-point win appears strikingly convincing at initial glance; however, final scores convey vanilla details.
The Owls struggled mightily versus Army’s potent triple-option attack.
Outgaining the service academy by a meager 50 yards, Rice also profited from a couplet of fumbles that translated to seven points the other way. As absent-minded as they’ve been protecting the pigskin this season, the Black Knights rank higher than Rice in turnover margin this season (Owls -8, Army -7).
The comfort and composure of home-away splits can differ on an unparalleled spectrum. For Army, it has yet to drop its guard away from West Point in 2015.
A bleak 1-2 record as visitors, yet the contests have been played rather tight. The Black Knights trounced Eastern Michigan in passage to 56 points. The losses have come by 11 total points, including a six-point nailbiter versus Penn State in the thick of 107,000-plus in Happy Valley.
Rice retains home-field advantage but Army’s been thick-skinned away from its east coast stomping grounds.
As for the tailpiece, letdown spots frequently require a successive episode for college football teams.
Lingering in the wing for Rice will be the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs in Week 9. With losses to Western Kentucky, Mississippi State and Kansas State, the Bulldogs could be the best three-loss team spanning the nation.
We as fans observe this glitch for programs week in and week out. Teams anxious for tussling with the high society tend to lollygag knowing that the upper echelon is skipping up the doorstep. For Rice, it goes further than pocketing a victory in Week 8.
It’s a stepping stone in transit to four consecutive postseason bids. The Owls, however, need to punch the clock and take the gridiron with a chip on their shoulder as a stealthy opponent strolls into Houston on Saturday.