Rice Football Madness is in full swing. With half the field eliminated, it’s time to cut it down again. Here are the teams that made the Elite 8.
There have been many great Rice football teams throughout the years, but there can only be one champion. We’ve seeded the top 16 in a head-to-head bracket. Cast your votes on the form below. Voting closes daily at noon. We’ll be conducting one round of votes each day this week and crowning our champion on Friday. May the best team win!
Sweet 16 Results
1) 1949 def. 16) 2001 with 89% of the vote
2) 1953 def. 15) 2006 with 82% of the vote
3) 2013 def. 14) 1996 with 67% of the vote
4) 2008 def. 13) 1961 with 90% of the vote
5) 1946 def. 12) 2014 with 74% of the vote
11) 1957 def. 6) 1937 with 87% of the vote — UPSET
7) 1934 def. 10) 1917 with 92% of the vote
9) 1942 def. 8) 1919 with 51% of the vote — UPSET
1) 1949 vs 9) 1942
Led by Jess Neely, the 1949 team (10-1, 6-0 SWC) finished its season as Cotton Bowl Champions, beating No. 19 North Carolina to cap off the first 10-win season in program history. The Owls were voted No. 5 in the nation in the AP Poll, the highest finish in program history. Notable victories included: No. 10 SMU, No. 10 Texas and No. 9 Baylor.
Led by Jess Neely, the 1942 team (7-2-1, 4-1-1 SWC) finished second in the SWC, their highest conference finish since 1919. That season, the Owls celebrated victories over LSU, Arkansas, No. 18 TCU, Baylor and SMU. Their only loss to a Texas-based school came at home against No. 15 Texas in a close one, falling 12-7.
2) 1953 vs 7) 1934
Led by Jess Neely, the 1953 team (9-2, 5-1 SWC) went on to finish No. 6 in the nation, routing Alabama in the Cotton Bowl 28-6. Dicky Meagle set a single-season school record, averaging 7.31 yards per attempt rushing. The Owls lone losses came by a combined 11 points. Their wins were louder. Rice beat No. 15 Florida, No. 17 Baylor, Texas and TCU.
Led by Jimmy Kitts in his first season at the helm of the Owls, the 1934 team (9-1-1, 5-1 SWC) won the SWC for the first time in program history. Their seven-game winning streak is still tied for the third-best winning run in school history. Notable victories included: Purdue, SMU, Texas and Texas A&M.
3) 2013 vs 11) 1957
Led by David Bailiff, the 2013 team (10-4, 7-1 C-USA) won the Owls’ only Conference USA Championship, defeating Marshall in the title game. Taylor McHargue and Charles Ross paced the offense while Christian Covington patrolled the defensive side of the ball.
Led by Jess Neely, the 1957 team (7-4, 5-1 SWC) won the SWC, riding All-American quarterback King Hill to one of the most exciting season finishes the home crowds at Rice Stadium have ever seen. Rice beat No. 12 Arkansas, No. 1 Texas A&M and Baylor in November to set up another trip to the Cotton Bowl.
4) 2008 vs 5) 1946
Led by David Bailiff, the 2008 team (10-3, 7-1 C-USA) made a dramatic jump from Bailiff’s first Rice team in 2007. The 2008 Owls won seven more games, finishing tied for first place in the C-USA West and beating Western Michigan in the Texas Bowl. With Chase Clement at quarterback, the duo Jarett Dillard and James Casey was arguable among the best receiving combos in the nation.
Led by Jess Neely, the 1946 team (9-2, 5-1 SWC) won the conference and finished the season No. 10 in the AP Poll. The Owls lost a 7-6 nailbiter to LSU on opening day before reeling off 9 victories in their final 10 games including an Orange Bowl win. Notable victories included: No. 3 Texas, No. 8 Tennessee.
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