Bowl bids ain't what they used to be. Take last December's Lending Tree Bowl, at the back of the postseason queue and unable to find an eligible participant with the requisite six wins to qualify. Enter Rice, whose Academic Progress Rate was the best among the teams with a 5-7 record, and, presto, deemed worthy of an invite to Mobile to play 6-6 Southern Miss. If you were doing other things that weekend, like perhaps watching the World Cup final between France and Argentina the next day, you might have missed the Golden Eagles' 38-24 triumph in a matchup that would have been a C-USA game the previous year (USM had high-tailed it to the Sun Belt for 2022). No matter the result or the underwhelming 5-8 final record, it represents the best advance for the Owls under head coach Mike Bloomgren, who arrived from David Shaw's Stanford staff in 2019, and endured a greatly-reduced 2020 pandemic season slate, all before the incremental progress continued in 2022.
Incremental, indeed; Bloomgren, who inherited a one-win team when he took over in Houston, has seen the win totals increase to 2, 3, 4, and then 5 on his watch. Any glass-is-half full Rice backers might be thinking that by the end of the decade, maybe the Owls will be up to 12 wins and invited to the expanded college playoff...
Bruce Marshall's full breakdown of Rice's 2023 outlook, which includes how he's playing their win total, can be found below as part of SportsLine's preview of the AAC season.
2023 Rice at a glance
- Last Year: 5-8 SU, 7-6 ATS, 9-4 O/U
- Returning starters: Offense 5; Defense 7
- Win total: 4.5 (Over -115, Under -115)
What do you need to know about Rice before locking in your AAC futures bets? And which side of their win total makes for the best play? ... Join SportsLine right now to see AAC futures betting strategy from a veteran college football expert!
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