RICE IN HISTORY
Despite its location in the football hotbed of Texas, Rice doesn’t have much of a history to flaunt. Of the Lone Star State’s ten long-standing college football programs, Rice is truly the nerdy, younger brother (it takes pride instead in being the best academically).
Indeed, the most relevant moment in the school’s football history was an epic burn, from a US president no less. In 1962, John Kennedy had come to Houston to double down on his proposal of putting a man on the moon. The city would be the site of NASA’s headquarters, and Rice was involved in the land deal. Speaking before a crowd of 35,000 in the school stadium, Kennedy delivered a famous speech in a presidency filled with them, the “We choose to go to the moon” speech.
Before he delivered those stirring words, Kennedy laid out a disarming rationale: “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?”
The joke, inserted into the text of the speech by Kennedy himself, has aged well. Since that time, Rice, which has only 4000 undergrad students, has only beaten leviathan Texas (about 40,000 students) twice in 45 games. Last season, the Owls had a win-loss record of 3-9, and alas, did not play Texas (they will meet in 2019).
But as JFK said, there’s nobility in the attempt. Rice comes to Sydney hoping to turn around its game against Stanford last season, a 41-17 loss.