Inside Texas Rice Game Picks

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By IT Staff
Posted Sep 3, 2010
Copyright © 2018

IT's Bill Frisbie, Ross Lucksinger, Mike Blackwell, Will Gallagher and Clendon Ross give you their picks, and their reasoning for the picks, for Saturday's match-up between Texas and Rice at Reliant Stadium in Houston.

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Bill Frisbie, Lead Writer – Football starved Texas fans will slake their eight-month famine with a heapin’ helpin’ of Rice Saturday; it promises to be a lopsided affair serving only to whet the appetite of those salivating over the four-game, season-defining stretch that begins in Lubbock and concludes in Lincoln.

First things first: the de facto home-opener at Horn-friendly Reliant Stadium in Houston. On paper, it marks the first time in 15 years that Texas opens the season on the road. Longhorn coaches have privately said their team actually performs better away from the friendly confines of DKR, but it shouldn’t matter against a Rice team that at least has the personnel to improve on last season’s 2-10 mark.

Rice should field just enough of a run defense to allow for a fair assessment of whether Cody Johnson can be the bell cow for the stable of Longhorn RBs. It‘s hard to imagine Rice sustaining a drive against Will Muschamp’s blue collar (and fastest-ever) defense, but the Owls have not been shut out in 10 years (110 games).  Texas will play a slew of freshmen who are likely to surrender a cheap score (or two) long after the outcome has been decided.

Texas has hung 50 on the Owls in each of the past four meetings.  There’s little reason to think, even with QB Garrett Gilbert making his first collegiate start, that Saturday’s outcome will be different. Texas 52, Rice 13.

Ross Lucksinger, Editor -- In the past four games between Rice and Texas, the Horns have won by an average of 43 points.  Even with the game taking place in Houston, there's no reason to believe this one will turn out any different.

Yes, there are a few factors that would appear to be mitigating.  For example, after the departure of four-year starter Colt McCoy Texas is breaking in a new starting quarterback.  Along with that, this quarterback will be running an entirely different scheme.

But it's that new scheme and new quarterback that will lead to a 40-plus point blowout.  With the first Big 12 game, Texas Tech, coming just three games into the season this “new” offense needs to become old hat right away.  That means leaving the starters in for work even when Rice has already been run out of the building.  Texas 52, Rice 10

Mike Blackwell, Inside Texas Magazine Editor – I’m not sure who the Rice quarterback is this year. Neither does Owls’ coach David Bailiff. And that means bad things for Rice as the Owls prepare for Saturday’s game against Texas in Houston. Very bad things.

I didn’t do much research in order to “analyze” this first pick of the season. Texas’ schedule is pretty brutal, though not nearly as brutal as that steaming pile of stuff that is the Boise State schedule, but this is one of a handful of games for Texas this year that need no analyzing. Texas will win huge, and more than likely you’ll be able to use this pick next week against Wyoming as well.

Texas has a new quarterback, but this will obviously not matter in the least. The Texas defense may be even better than last year, when Will Muschamp’s group was one of the best in the country. Rice – still wondering who the quarterback will be – has no chance. The Owls won’t be able to move the football against the Longhorns at all.

Offensively, the Longhorns are looking for a more run-oriented identity, and that’s what they’ll get against the Owls. Cody Johnson has won the running back job, and you can assume that he is licking his chops at a chance to pound through the Rice defense.

Special teams? Please.

If the Owls beat Texas, I’ll run around Reliant Stadium buck naked. Texas, 50-10.

Will Gallagher, Inside Texas Photographer – Finally, we have football and this game will be like a home game for Texas.  I think the Longhorns will probably get off to a slow start with a new QB, RB and receiving corps, but the defense will thump Rice early, force a turnover or two and build momentum for the rest of the team.  I think the offense will find a rhythm at some point and after getting pounded by Cody Johnson for a few quarters the Rice defense will wear down and the Longhorns will get on a roll.  I also think there will be at least one big return from the special teams.  Texas 45, Rice 10.

Clendon Ross, Co-Publisher – There’s a litany of exciting things to look out for Saturday at Reliant: Garrett Gilbert’s first start as a Longhorn, the revamped running game with Cody Johnson as the No. 1 back, Will Muschamp’s defense (every bit of it), and the kick return duo of Marquise Goodwin and D.J. Monroe (although I hope to only see them get one return opportunity thanks to a shutdown defensive performance from Muschamp’s guys), among many others.

The last time Texas played Rice with a new quarterback (2006, with Colt McCoy as a redshirt freshman), Texas passed the ball just 11 times and rushed the ball 43 times for 330 yards. I expect to see Gilbert with 20 passing attempts but it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see Texas match those 2006 rushing totals vs. the Owls here in 2010. If the rushing number is down in the low 200s, as it was against Rice in 2007, look out.

Perhaps the most fun is going to be watching the defense. I’ve said during the off-season that this Texas team is capable of winning every game because, despite personnel losses, I expect the defense to at worst be at last year’s level, but perhaps better than last year’s unit. That may be enough to chalk up a W every week of the season. Against the Owls, I expect a dominant performance

It also wouldn’t surprise me to see 15 true freshman strip the ‘shirt in the opener. I think the number will end up being 12, but to put that in perspective, only 14 seniors and 13 juniors are likely to play. Add in the five redshirt freshmen who are likely to see action and this is a team stocked with young talent ready to contribute.

Of course, I don’t expect Rice to be much of a challenge for Texas, but that doesn’t limit the intrigue of finally getting a live action look at this team and at all of the things above. Let’s play some football! Texas 52, Rice 6.

Average of IT Members Picks: Texas 47, Rice 9.

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