The Rice Owls will host their most extensive home football schedule since 2010 as the school and Conference USA released details of the 2015 schedule on Monday.
The Owls will host non-conference games against Wagner (September 5) and Army (October 24) in addition to C-USA matchups with Western Kentucky (October 3), Louisiana Tech (October 31), Southern Miss (November 14) and Charlotte (November 28).
"We are excited to announce our home schedule for this fall," said Joe Karlgaard, Rice's Director of Athletics, Recreation & Lifetime Fitness. "We've moved back to a balanced slate for the first time since 2010 and will host six home games at historic Rice Stadium. We can't wait for our fans to enjoy Owl football this fall in one of the great settings for college sports."
"It's always a great day when you have the actual schedule in your hands and the real work of preparing for the 2015 season can begin," head coach David Bailiff said. "I really like the fact we have six home games this year as well as the fact that 11 of the 12 games will be played in the state, which will make it easier for our families and fans to see us play in person."
The Owls have hosted five games at Rice Stadium in each of the last four years and have opened away from their home stadium in five of the last six seasons. They hosted UCLA to open the 2012 season, while they faced Texas at Reliant Stadium to kick off the 2010 campaign.
Only one of the Owls' 12 regular season contests will take them outside the state of Texas, a trip to Boca Raton, Florida on October 10 to meet FAU.
Rice's road slate opens with a September 12 date in Austin to face the University of Texas and continues following two weeks with games at North Texas on September 19 and Baylor on September 26. After the trip to Florida, the Owls' final road trips are in-state swings to UTEP (November 7) and UTSA (November 21).
This year's schedule features five 2014 bowl teams (Texas, Baylor, WKU, UTEP and Louisiana Tech) and three first-time opponents for the Owls in Wagner, WKU and Charlotte. It also renews two of their longtime series with their former Southwest Conference partners in Texas (93 meetings) and Baylor (79 games).
Rice is coming off a 30-6 win in the Hawai'i bowl over Fresno State which allowed the Owls to finish with an 8-5 record. The will carry the longest active bowl streak in Conference USA (three) into the 2015 campaign and will be looking to reach a fourth-consecutive postseason assignment for the first time in school history. Head coach David Bailiff has led the Owls to their best records over two (18-9) and three (25-15) in school history.
With the release of the 2015 schedule, the Owls will begin the renewal campaign for football season tickets on Wednesday, February 4. All season ticket holders will be contacted about several exciting new offerings for the 2015 season.
The 2015 Conference USA alignment will feature seven teams in the East Division and six teams in the West Division. Charlotte, FIU, Florida Atlantic, Marshall, Middle Tennessee, Old Dominion and WKU comprise the East Division, while Louisiana Tech, North Texas, Rice, Southern Miss, UTEP and UTSA make up the West Division.
Each school in the West Division will play every team in its division once for five games, while playing three cross-over opponents from the opposite division. Three schools in the East Division will play every team in its division once for six games, while playing two cross-over opponents from the opposite division. Four schools in the East Division will play five opponents in its division once for five games, while playing three cross-over opponents from the opposite division. East Division schools playing five division games were randomly selected by a computer scheduling application and two intra-division matchups in the East will not take place this season (Charlotte-WKU and Middle Tennessee-Old Dominion).
The 2015 schedule has 13 playing weeks, which provides for one open date for each team. The last two seasons were 14-week schedules, providing two bye weeks per school. The 2015 schedule is again a one-year model, with Charlotte replacing UAB in the East Division.
A schedule of televised games will be released at a later date. Conference USA's national television partners are Fox Sports Media Group, CBS Sports Network and American Sports Network for regular season games. The league's 11th annual Championship Game, pitting the champions of the East and West Divisions, is scheduled for Saturday, December 5 and will be televised by ESPN or ESPN 2.
Please note that all games are subject to date changes.
|Sept. 5||Wagner||Rice Stadium||TBA|
|Sept. 12||@Texas||Austin, TX||TBA|
|Sept. 19||@North Texas#||Denton, TX||TBA|
|Sept. 26||@Baylor||Waco, TX||TBA|
|Oct. 3||Western Kentucky#||Rice Stadium||TBA|
|Oct. 10||@Florida Atlantic#||Boca Raton, FL||TBA|
|Oct. 24||Army||Rice Stadium||TBA|
|Oct. 31||Louisiana Tech#||Rice Stadium||TBA|
|Nov. 7||@UTEP#||El Paso, TX||TBA|
|Nov. 14||Southern Miss#||Rice Stadium||TBA|
|Nov. 21||@UTSA#||San Antonio, TX||TBA|
|Nov. 28||Charlotte#||Rice Stadium||TBA|
|# C-USA Game|