Rice football is 50 days from the kickoff of the 2018 season against Prairie View A&M. The Owls have lost 50 games over the last seven seasons.
Rice football is not where they want to be, at least, not right now. The Owls lost 50 games over the last seven seasons, an average of just more than seven losses per season. In that period the Owls won 34 games, 43.5 percent of their contests. That’s not awful, but it’s a notch below where the administration wants the Owls to be.
A .500 winning percentage should be the floor of any successful program. That necessitates a decent showing in conference play and a few more wins on the way to a postseason appearance. Although they’ve had their years, the erratic nature of the last seven finishes has been concerning, particularly the negative trend since winning 10 games in 2013:
The administration had a choice. They could have made the easy, comfortable decision to retain head coach David Bailiff after falling to 1-11 in 2017. They didn’t. Coach Bailiff did a lot of good for the Owls, taking Rice to four bowl games, winning three of them. He produced two of the Owls three 10-win seasons in program history. But it was time for a change.
Under Bailiff, the Owls were a somewhat average Group of 5 program. In the good year’s they’d challenge for a conference title. In the bad year’s the product on the field was hard to watch. The Owls have been a lower-tier program because of that, but things are finally changing for the better.
Athletic Director Joe Karlgaard has pioneered a new vision and a new hope for Rice football. If this works, the Owls aren’t going to be a 7-loss team every season. Rice football is capable of producing bowl-quality teams every year and keeping themselves in the conference championship conversation through October. At a minimum that means reversing the 34-50 record of the last seven seasons to at least 50-34.
That’s why head coach Mike Bloomgren was hired. To flip the script.