American Football Database
Rice Owls football
File:Rice University Athletic Mark.svg
First season 1912
Athletic director Rick Greenspan
Head coach David Bailiff
Home stadium Rice Stadium
Year built 1950
Stadium capacity 47,000
Stadium surface FieldTurf
Location Houston, Texas, USA
League NCAA Division I FBS
Conference Conference USA
Division West
Past conferences Southwest
All-time record 428–548–32
Postseason bowl record 4–4
Conference titles 7
Consensus All-Americans 6
Colors Blue and Gray            
Fight song Rice Fight
Mascot Sammy the Owl
Marching band Marching Owl Band

The Rice Owls football team represents Rice University in NCAA Division I college football. The Owls have competed in Conference USA's Western Division since 2005. Rice Stadium, built in 1950, hosts the Owls' home football games.


File:Rice University Stadium.jpg

Rice Stadium

Rice Stadium was built in 1950, and has been the home of Owls football ever since. It hosted the NFL Super Bowl on January 1974. It replaced the old Rice Field (now Rice Track/Soccer Stadium) to increase seating. Total seating capacity in the current stadium was reduced from 70,000 to 47,000 before the 2006 season. The endzone seating benches were removed and covered with tarps, and all of the wooden bleachers were replaced with new, metal seating benches in 2006, as well.


1954 Cotton Bowl Classic

The Owls played in the eighteenth Cotton Bowl Classic against the Crimson Tide of Alabama. The game featured one of the most famous plays in college football history[1] when Rice's Dickey Moegle (later Maegle) burst free on a sweep play, and on his way down the sideline, was tackled by Tommy Lewis, who had come off the Alabama sideline without his helmet to tackle Moegle. Referee Cliff Shaw saw Lewis come off the bench and gave the Owls the 95 yard touchdown. Rice would win the game 28-6, with the only Crimson Tide score coming from Lewis. The yardage added to Moegle's 265 yards rushing, a Cotton Bowl Classic record that would stand until Tony Temple's effort in 2008. This would be the Owls' last bowl win until the 2008 Texas Bowl, a win which also secured the Owls their first 10-win season since 1949.[2]

Kennedy Speech

File:Kennedy at Rice University - GPN-2000-001618.jpg

Kennedy at Rice University - GPN-2000-001618

Rice Stadium also hosted a speech by John F. Kennedy on September 12, 1962. In it, he used the Rice football team to challenge America to send a man to the moon.

But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas? We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

Coaching history

Name Seasons Overall Overall % Bowls Bowls %
David Bailiff 2007–present 17–30 36.2% 1–0 100%
Todd Graham 2006 7–6 53.8% 0–1 0.0%
Ken Hatfield 1994–2005 55–78–1 41.0% -- --
Fred Goldsmith 1989-93 23–31–1 42.7% -- --
Jerry Berndt 1986-88 6–27–0 18.2% -- --
Watson Brown 1984-85 4–18–0 18.2% -- --
Ray Alborn 1978-83 13–53–0 19.7% -- --
Homer Rice 1976-77 4–18–0 18.2% -- --
Al Conover 1972-75 14–28–2 34.1% -- --
Bill Peterson 1971 3–7–1 31.8% -- --
Bo Hagan 1967-70 12–27–1 31.3% -- --
Jess Neely 1940-66 144–124–10 53.6% 3–3–0 50.0%
Jimmy Kitts 1934-39 33–29–4 53.0% 1–0–0 100.0%
Jack Meagher 1929-33 26–26–0 50.0% -- --
Claude Rothgeb 1928 2–7–0 22.2% -- --
John Heisman 1924-27 14–18–3 44.3% -- --
John Anderson 1918 1–5–1 21.4% -- --
Phillip Arbuckle 1912-17,'19-23 51–25–8 65.5% -- --

Conference Championships

Southwest Conference: 1934, 1937, 1946*, 1949, 1953*, 1957, 1994*

  • shared

Rice Bowl Game History

Bowl Game History Result
1938 Cotton Bowl Classic Rice 28 Colorado 14
1947 Orange Bowl Rice 8 Tennessee 0
1950 Cotton Bowl Classic Rice 27 North Carolina 13
1954 Cotton Bowl Classic Rice 28 Alabama 6
1958 Cotton Bowl Classic Rice 7 Navy 20
1961 Sugar Bowl Rice 6 Ole Miss 14
1961 Bluebonnet Bowl Rice 7 Kansas 33
2006 New Orleans Bowl Rice 17 Troy 41
2008 Texas Bowl Rice 38 Western Michigan 14
2012 Armed Forces Bowl Bowl Rice vs Air Force on 12/29/12



Rice and SMU have been in the same conference with each other since the 1910s and have played each other 88 times as of 2010 with SMU leading the series 47-40-1. The rivalry is due to the fact that Rice and SMU were two of four private schools in the old Southwest Conference (Baylor and TCU were the others). Rice and SMU were the two smallest schools in the conference, were located in the two largest cities of any teams in the conference and have historically been considered the two best private universities in Texas.

Rice-SMU: All-Time Records
Games played First meeting Last meeting RICE win RICE loss Ties Win %
88 November 17, 1916 (Won 146–3) November 17, 2012 (Won 36–14) [1] 41 48 1 45.5%


Rice participates in a crosstown rivalry with Houston. UH and Rice play annually for the Bayou Bucket, a weathered bucket found by former Rice guard Fred Curry at an antique shop. Curry had it designed into a trophy for $310. The two universities are separated by five miles in Houston. The Cougars lead the series 24-10, with Rice snapping a 3 game losing streak in 2008.

Houston-Rice: All-Time Records
Games played First meeting Last meeting RICE win RICE loss Ties Win %
34 September 11, 1971 (lost 21–23) September 29, 2012 (lost 14–35) [2] 10 27 0 29.4%
File:College football - Rice Owls vs Texas Longhorns.jpg

Rice and Texas play in 2006.


Rice and Texas have maintained a one-sided rivalry beginning in the early days of the Southwest Conference. Texas' 28 consecutive victories from 1966–1993 represents the sixth longest single-opponent winning streak in college football history. In 1994, in a nationally televised ESPN game, Rice scored a major upset win over Texas, but since then Texas has resumed series dominance. Despite the dissolution of the Southwest Conference, Texas and Rice still play on a "near annual" basis. Texas is a public university that enrolls 50,201 total students (5th largest in the US as of 2007) and over 37,000 undergraduates. Rice is a private university and enrolls 3,051 undergraduates.

Texas-Rice: All-Time Records
Games played First meeting Last meeting Rice win Rice loss Ties Win %
103 October 17, 1914 (lost 0–41) September 3, 2011 (lost 34–9) 21 71 1 18.8%

College Football Hall of Fame

Name Position Years Inducted Notes
Buddy Dial End 1956-1958 1993 was his team’s co-captain, Most Valuable Player, and was consensus All-America
John Heisman Coach 1892-1927 1954 Inducted for his career as a coach at Oberlin, Akron, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Pennsylvania, Washington & Jefferson, Rice
Weldon Humble Guard 1941-1943, 1946 1961 He was a consensus All- America choice. Like most athletes of his time, Weldon was required to suspend his career for military service during World War II.
Dick Maegle Halfback 1952-1954 1979 He was consensus All-America and academic All-America in 1954
Jess Neely Coach 1924-1966 1971 Inducted for his career as a coach at Rhodes, Clemson, Rice
Bill Wallace Halfback 1932, 1934-1935 1978 Wallace was Rice's initial first team All-America selection
James "Froggy" Williams End 1946-1949 1965 a consensus All-American and was also selected to the Cotton Bowl’s All-Decade team for the 1950’s

Rice All-Americans

Name Position All-America
Bill Wallace B 1934
H.J. Nichols G 1944
Weldon Humble G 1946
Froggy Williams E 1949
Joe Watson C 1949
Bill Howto E 1951
John Hudson T 1953
Kosse Johnson B 1953
Dicky Maegle HB 1954
King Hill QB 1957
Buddy Dial E 1958
Malcom Walker C 1964
Tommy Kramer QB 1976
Steve Kidd P 1985
Trevor Cobb HB 1991;1992
Charles Torello OG 1997
Jarett Dillard WR 2006;2008
Kyle Martens P 2010

Future non-conference opponents

2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
1 at Texas A&M at Notre Dame at Texas Baylor Northwestern** Northwestern** Baylor
2 Kansas at Army at Baylor Stanford** Stanford** Louisiana Tech
3 vs Houston Army

**Site to be determined[3]


  1. Dickey Moegle in the 1954 Cotton Bowl Classic. Article. Retrieved on December 29, 2008.
  2. Associated Press (2008-12-30). "Rice rolls Western Michigan for first bowl win since '54". Retrieved 2008-12-31.
  3. "Rice Owls Football Schedules and Future Schedules". Retrieved 2012-02-22.

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