For the first time this decade, Rice football is undergoing a head coaching change. With the new regime comes uncertainty, especially from those on the outside looking in.
Rice football is in uncharted territory and the outside world doesn’t know what to do about it. The Owls haven’t hired a new head coach since they brought David Baliff on board in 2007. After a 3-9 season they road with him through the highs (10-win seasons in 2008, 2013) and the lows (below .500 seven times in 11 seasons) until opting for a change following the 2017 season. Rice nabbed Mike Bloomgren away from Stanford and he’ll be tasked with righting the ship.
The first year for most coaches involves a lot of feeling out and scheme installation. Rice won’t be expected to vie for a conference title out of the gate, but the Owls’ new head man bring with him plenty of energy and excitement. If he pushes the right buttons Rice football could surprise the “experts” in 2018.
Various media sources are putting out their projections for the upcoming season and a common theme of gradual improvement is beginning to solidify. Here’s a few notable win-loss projections for the Owls:
- Athlon Sports: 2-11
- College Football News: 2-10* – no prediction vs Wake Forest
- SB Nation S&P+: 4-9
- ESPN FPI: 3-10
Rice bottomed out last season. Before finishing 1-11 in 2017 the Owls had won at least two games every year since 2005. The 11 losses marked only the third time in school history in which the Owls had suffered that many defeats. Although going 0-13 is possible on paper, the vast majority of publications believe the Owls will have enough oomph to defeat, at a minimum, UTEP and Prairie View A&M.
Bloomgren’s claim to fame is his recruiting prowess. He’s locked in one commitment so far, and will be expected to bolster his upcoming recruiting class throughout the season. If he can increase the talent profile at Rice over the next few seasons that projected win total will start to rise.